Our top 4 goals for the design brand standards

In every waking moment, each of us is taking in what we see around us, absorbing incoming data and giving it context, emotion and meaning. When you consider how powerful visual design is, it’s no surprise that it plays a critical role in brand identity and development. As we created the new U of I brand, we had four primary goals we wanted the visual identity to achieve: 


The new brand standards create a clear, bold visual presence that helps differentiate us from our competitors. Our Block I logo in its primary colorway – Illini Orange outlined in Illini Blue – is a great example of this. The university has already built substantial equity in the block I over the past several years, which allows it to speak boldly even apart from the university name and wordmark.


Our brand appearance reflects that we’re all on the same team, no matter which college, unit, institute or program is sharing information. Research shows that our audiences already tend to think of us as the U of I, so affirming that through our unified brand helps solidify that. Our consistent web header standard is a great example.


Our visual brand is woven throughout with fibers of our overarching brand meaning and messages. Who are we? We’re a university that helps students and others realize their power, by leveraging our own inherent power. So yeah, we’re bold and inspiring. The split background hero shot (scroll to the middle of the page), along with other elements of our photography guidelines, are examples of how brand visuals and messaging come together. 


While the new brand standards are prescriptive enough to achieve a unified look, they’re also flexible enough to accommodate the needs of various units across campus, each with unique staffing arrangements, resources, objectives and audiences. For instance, the typography standards narrow in on a family of open-source (free-to-download) fonts, which include different weights and styles to provide a range of customizable possibilities.

As you dig deeper into the new design guidelines, you’ll see evidence of these goals throughout. Please be sure to reach out if you’d like some guidance on how to make the visual brand work for you.