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Background and objectives

Since its founding in 2002, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology has quickly established itself as one of Canada’s newest publicly-funded research universities; it has enjoyed many successes and is well-positioned for the future. We have a great story to tell. Unfortunately, the university has also struggled with developing a definitive identity: 

 

2002 2006 2012 2014

The core brand challenges come down to:

  • Long and confusing name
    The name has six words (including the word ‘of’ twice), includes relatively bland and undifferentiated terms, and creates confusion about whether we are a ‘university’ or an ‘institute.’ Many people shorten our long name according to their own preference (such as ‘the University of Ontario,’ ‘Ontario Institute of Technology’, or other variations).
  • Challenging acronym
    The UOIT acronym creates persistently incorrect association with ‘U of T’ or the similar look of ‘UofT’ (the geographically proximate University of Toronto) and negative association with the term ‘you owe it.’ The three vowels make the acronym difficult to say without a great deal of practice. These distractions and awkward moments should otherwise be moments of opportunity for the university to strongly assert its brand.
  • Undifferentiated brand colour
    Our blue and white colour palette is synonymous with the palette used by many other universities.
  • Multiple ‘tagline’ messages
    Over time, the university has used the tagline, ‘Challenge. Innovate. Connect.’ on various branding communications. Recently, it introduced a new ‘Seriously Driven’ tagline for student recruitment campaigns as well as a new ‘Brave The Future’ tagline to rally stakeholders in its current fundraising campaign. Each tagline has its own treatment and the lack of co-ordination between messages adds to the confusion about the university’s brand and positioning.
  • Technology positioning
    The university’s mandate specifically focuses on being an institution of higher learning with a foundation in technology. Over time, this positioning has played an important role in differentiating the brand, but it has been somewhat marginalized in its current logo design and branding. The university is committed to affirming its technology-focused differentiation.
  • Inconsistent branding standards
    While the university has logo guidelines, there are no firm visual identity standards entrenching the logo and the university’s brand. Instead, multiple logo versions have been designed depending on the required usage and circumstances, and applied on a case-by-case basis.

The goal is to develop a new visual identity for the University of Ontario Institute of Technology that addresses our core brand challenges. The new identity will build general awareness, support and excitement for the university among all stakeholder groups: students (current and prospective), faculty and staff (current and prospective), alumni, community and corporate partners (providing donations, university support), government and media. 

Objectives and criteria for our new brand and visual identity:
  •   Simple, unique and identifiable: Must stand out in a crowded academic landscape.
  •   Technology-focused: Must be consistent with our mandate, communicate our positioning as an innovative and leading-edge technology-focused institution.
  •   Modern and relevant: Should be approachable, untraditional and confident.
  •   Flexible : Must be useable across multiple applications that range in scale and touchpoints.

To clarify, we are not changing the university’s formal name through this brand initiative; we are changing the way we refer to the university so that it is clear and consistent. We will adopt a similar approach to that of some other universities, such as Western (official name: University of Western Ontario) and Virginia Tech (official name: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). The official university name will remain University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

Timeline

  • September 2018 - New potential moniker introduced to campus community
  • October to November 2018 - Consultations and engagement with campus community
  • December 2018 - New brand design initiated
  • January to February 2019 - Brand Advisory Group reviews new brand options
  • Monday, February 25 through Friday, March 1, 2019 - Brand Preview Week
  • mid-to-late March 2019 - New brand internal launch
  • Phased introduction April to August 2019 - Campus rollout and implementation (marketing, communications, branded items, brand opportunities)
  • August through fall 2019 - New brand external launch (2019-2020 admissions cycle, all marketing communications, website)