University of Northern Iowa launches new brand, new logo

After two years of extensive research and collaborative creative development, the University of Northern Iowa today unveiled its new brand identity, which includes a comprehensive brand strategy, updated website, new recruitment and communications materials, and a new institutional logo.

With the university’s 150th anniversary approaching, UNI has for the first time developed a comprehensive brand strategy that unifies storytelling and visual identities across a diverse campus that serves more than 10,000 students, faculty and staff, as well as tens of thousands of alumni and university partners.UNI campus

The rebrand effort began in the fall of 2018 and included extensive research that surveyed more than 3,000 individuals about their perception of UNI and the level of awareness they had about the university brand. After analyzing those research reports, an internal group tasked with rebranding the institution worked to develop UNI’s new brand identity. The new brand is built upon the institution’s core purpose of helping students “Achieve Beyond” what they imagined.

“This rebranding effort highlights UNI’s distinctiveness and brings a modern, cohesive approach to the way we message and the way we look. Our brand reflects how we want our stakeholders to feel when they think of UNI - a strong, vibrant, modern university that is leaning into the future,” said UNI President Mark A. Nook. “This work has been carefully and thoughtfully crafted, and is an important thread among many initiatives that are laying the foundation for a strong future for UNI.”

The university is revamping communications materials to feature new messaging with a more modern voice, and will be updating visual assets to achieve the consistency needed for stronger recognizability in the region and state. 

“In assessing our comprehensive brand research, we discovered what makes us unique in the eyes of our constituents. This has been a strong and authentic base upon which to build our brand,” said Cassie Mathes, director of University Relations at UNI. “One of the most important aspects of this process is that we took time as an institution to collaborate with partners across campus. This has brought a multitude of perspectives, and will ensure that we maintain consistency into the future.”

Among some of the more visual changes UNI is launching, the rebrand work includes:

A new visual identity: From logos to colors to fonts, each component within the UNI branding system builds upon our visual identity to form a cohesive visual experience. The new logo represents UNI’s academic and administrative units, programs and services. This new mark includes a graphic element (“UNI”) that visually aligns with UNI’s athletics logo (the Panther head). The athletics logo remains in place for athletics' programs and services.

Storytelling and consistent messaging: The rebranding team at UNI has focused extensively on developing an authentic institutional narrative. UNI’s brand purpose, values and attributes will help focus stories told from across the university with a unified brand voice. UNI also introduced the hashtag #1UNI on social media to emphasize this university-wide approach as the new brand launches.

A redesigned website: UNI has launched a new homepage and admissions site, and will spend the next year updating the rest of the website. The website redesign is focused on the user experience of prospective students, and prioritizes brand-authentic content, navigation, consistent menu structures, search engine optimization and security.

For more information and resources on UNI’s new brand, visit brand.uni.edu.