UC Berkeley brand unifies campus community

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Elaine Chung/Staff

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The characteristic ‘Berkeley’ wordmark has not always had such a unified look.

Before 2013, campus colleges and departments often wrote the word ‘Berkeley’ in different styles. With the 2013 launch of a formal brand platform across campus, the ‘Berkeley’ wordmark established its own set of guidelines, according to Ram Kapoor, campus chief marketing officer.

Following a 2012 brand research study, the campus created a formal brand platform in 2013 to ensure that campus colleges were “telling a story in a coordinated way,” according to Kapoor.

The platform provides guidelines on color and font usage, photography, graphic elements, and business documents. For example, a more formal color palette may incorporate Berkeley Blue and California Gold, and business memos should use Georgia and Lucida Grande fonts, with the ‘Berkeley’ wordmark spanning the bottom of the page.

The ‘Berkeley’ brand is tied to academics and other non-athletic university matters, whereas the ‘Cal’ brand is associated with Cal Athletics and alumni, though there is some overlap between the usage of the words ‘Berkeley’ and ‘Cal.’

After four years, the ‘Berkeley’ brand platform isn’t used by everyone on campus.

“We can’t go out and say ‘go and use this wordmark,’ because everyone has a different point of view,” Kapoor said.

He described adoption of the 2013 brand platform by campus colleges as a gradual process, especially considering costs to replace old materials.

There’s no precise way of measuring campus adoption of the brand platform, but Kapoor said that it is increasing. In the last year adoption reached 50 percent, and is expected to surpass 70 percent in the next couple of years according to Kapoor’s personal observations.

When creating a new Berkeley wordmark for the 2013 brand platform, the campus brand team was “very intentional” about consulting student focus groups and basing their new designs on past wordmarks, according to Kapoor. Campus departments cannot modify the existing wordmark, as they might have in the past, and must use specific fonts and colors that complement the wordmark.

The campus’s  mission statement for the marketing platform says, “UC Berkeley reimagines the world, by challenging convention to shape the future.”

#InThisGen was the platform’s first multimedia advertising campaign. Several campus flagpole banners, bearing the words, “remember when we couldn’t print houses?” and “remember when living to 120 sounded crazy?”, remain from the #InThisGen campaign of radio sponsorships, airport billboards and digital advertising from Feb.-March.

Kapoor said that #InThisGen was meant to highlight the ways UC Berkeley’s innovation and advocacy has and continues to “improve the world … from medicine to science to economics.”

The #InThisGen campaign was a way to “put a stake in the ground and say ‘this is where we’re going,’” he said.

Contact Matthew Lo at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @matthewlo_dc.