Minion to Change College Brand Identity

Minion to change college brand identity

By: Chase Purdy, Hillsdale Collegian
Posted: 1/24/08

After years of slapdash college publication design, official letters riddled with unprofessional fonts and publication department headaches, Hillsdale College is working to create a cohesive brand identity.

The change is part of unprecedented internal re-organization, including shifting design authority to the office of external affairs and installing the Minion typeface on all campus computers as the new standard for college publications.

“I basically said that we need to focus on our image and verbal efforts in a more coherent way,” said Chris Bachelder, associate vice president for strategic marketing. “The font works better with the architecture of the college and the long standing college principles.”

The previous typeface in the college logo was Keeple, a strong serif font without clarity the college desired, Bachelder said. The letters also lacked the symmetry found in Central Hall, the school’s main symbol, he said.

With help from Leo Burnett and Company, an ad agency, outgoing publications, the school’s logo and the office for external affairs received facelifts.

“You never see a blue Coke can,” he said. “Color matters to people, so there has to be certain restraints to how we present our brand and logo. I’m trying to empower the graphic artists so we can have some brand recognition.”

More authority in the hands of college graphic designers for outgoing literature is good news, said Art Director Angela Lashaway. External affairs will have increased say in what goes out to the public, she said, hinting about past acceptance letters written with the unprofessional Comic Sans font.

“Those are the types of things that we hope to control,” she said. “The transition right now is a nightmare because we have to convert all sorts of [existing] graphics.”

One new item for administrators and faculty will be a style guide outlining the perimeter of outgoing college material design, Lashaway said. One section of the style guide includes the fonts used on college documentation, including Minion.

“That is the font that the Smithsonian uses,” she said. “It’s a pretty face. It’s clean and easy to read.”

The college spent $538 to purchase a five-user Minion license for testing in external affairs, Information Technology Services and the college postal center, she said. The only snag encountered so far is that, because Minion is wider than previous fonts used, less text will fill college documents, Lashaway said.

“[Implementing Minion] is not going to be that bad at all,” said Greg Harms, systems administrator for ITS. “We just have to put the files in the right location.”
The college hopes to complete its move toward a cohesive brand identity by spring 2009. © Copyright 2008 The Collegian

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