York’s new brand, consistency is key to providing clarity

new brand featured image

new brand featured imageIn President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton’s Sept.  27 message to the community, she launched York University’s first-ever brand strategy, highlighting its importance and why it is essential for supporting York University’s bold vision that is captured in the new University Academic Plan for 2020-2025, the Strategic Research Plan and other pan-University documents.

York University’s Chief Communication & Marketing Officer Susan Webb, the lead for the development and implementation of the new brand strategy, explains how the brand captures York’s distinctive identity. “It offers an authentic expression of what York University stands for and how we are different from other universities,” she says.

Centred on positive change, a new narrative has been developed that brings meaning to York’s strategic positioning.

The new narrative:

“York is a leading international teaching and research university and a driving force for positive change. Empowered by a welcoming and diverse community with a uniquely global perspective, we are preparing our students for their long-term career and personal success. Together we are making things right for our communities, our planet, and our future.”

In support of the strategy, over the past six months, Robin Edmison, director, University Brand & Marketing, and her colleagues in Communications & Public Affairs, have been working with Faculties and Divisions across the University to bring the brand and an associated web optimization plan to life in communications and marketing. A collaborative process, Edmison has consulted and worked with multiple units across the University, including members of the Integrated Communications & Marketing Council. This multi-faceted work is now complete and is available now to the broader community.

Highlights of the work include:

  • New accessible font for use in all written communication.
  • New templates including PowerPoint, word, excel, email signatures and more.
  • New visual design system featuring a new colour palette with accent colours for each Faculty that, based on the psychology of colour, speak to their unique positive identities and purpose.
  • And, a streamlined, refreshed web presence.

As part of this work, the team created new communication aids and developed a comprehensive suite of supports to help faculty and staff understand and apply the messaging and visuals in their day-to-day work. All of the information, assets and supports are available in a new Brand website.

“It is not uncommon to view a brand as a communications and marketing exercise that involves logos, taglines and advertising, but those are tactics and represent only a small portion of the brand. It is the supportive structure that delivers on a brand that is important – how we embrace and deliver on positive change across touchpoints, systems and capabilities – as well as how we communicate it,” explains Edmison.

“It also involves all faculty and staff because they play an integral and important role in bringing the brand to life,” says Edmison. “We want people to feel inspired, welcomed, confident, proud, cared about and empowered when they interact with us.” To achieve that goal, Edmison urges faculty and staff to take the time to explore and understand the information about the brand, apply it, and use assets that have been developed for them.

Next steps:

She encourages members of the University community to visit the Brand website. There, they can learn about the brand and make use of a comprehensive suite of supports, including templates for PowerPoint, Word and Excel documents, new email signatures with land acknowledgement, and key brand personality and language assets, and there are new images in the brand website image bank for use in documents, reports, presentations and on individual websites.

Over time, says Edmison, the consistent and authentic expression of the brand will bring clarity to who we are and our unique value to the world. “I am proud to play a role in this work and excited to see how it is embraced by our community.”

For additional information, contact cpabrandmar@yorku.ca.