For the first time in the College of William and Mary’s history, members of the community will now have explicit guidelines for using the College’s logos and graphics.
The College’s website revealed the school’s new online style guide Nov. 19. The guide includes specific parameters for use of its new logo and graphics in order to increase brand recognition for the College.
It also answers in detail any unspoken questions, including the acceptable shades of the official university colors and suggestions for placement of decorative graphics on envelopes.
The new official logo contains the cypher, a College wordmark and the College’s charter year, 1693.
Student organizations, graduate schools and departments have their own guidelines in the visual identity guide for creating their logos. Recognized student organizations can continue to use previous logos.
The process for creating the visual identity guidelines, including the design of a new logo for the College, took place over several years. The visual identity committee researched dozens of schools, including Virginia Commonwealth University, Vanderbilt University and Yale University.
Justin Schoonmaker, Associate Director of Design for Creative Services, said that in the end, the committee’s model was Cornell University because of its identifiable brand and thorough visual identity guidelines.
Although Schoonmaker said they were already leaning toward the cypher as the official logo because of reactions from focus groups, the design committee wanted to ensure the support of the entire College community.
“The cypher seems to be the mark that people want to affiliate themselves with,” Schoonmaker said.
The committee sent out a survey in January, focusing on participants’ preference of the cypher or the seal containing the College’s coat of arms. The survey went out to more than 80,000 faculty, staff, students and alumni.
“About 70 percent of all respondents preferred the cypher to the seal,” Vice President for Strategic Initiatives Henry Broaddus said. “An overwhelming 88 percent of students preferred the cypher.”
The seal will now be used for official purposes only, such as placement on diplomas. The Griffin and the Tribe script, two other familiar graphics used to represent the College, will continue to be used by the athletics program.
Student Assembly President Colin Danly ’15 said that the style guide is important because it will help the College raise its brand recognition to the level of its peer institutions. He added that student compliance with the guide is key.
“Often, people outside the College interact with our logo and branding through different student organizations,” Danly said in an email. “It is important that all student organizations attempt to increase the consistency of branding across campus.”
The administration echoed Danly’s sentiments.
“Students carry the brand of the school,” Director of Creative Services and chair of the Visual Identity Committee Tina Coleman said.