Vanderbilt University launches new visual identity

The gradual deployment of new brands and logos is planned

Vanderbilt University today launched a refreshed visual identity designed to reflect the university’s forward momentum and to build pride and visibility across the institution, including its academic program. Athletics. The new identity, which includes a clear articulation of who the university is today through new wordmarks and logos, has been approved by the Vanderbilt University Board of Trustees and will be implemented in phases, beginning from the end of March.

“All great institutions have a clear idea of ​​themselves. As we prepare to celebrate our 150th anniversary next year, it’s time for Vanderbilt to refine our expression of who we are and what makes us unique. As we look to the future, we believe that a strong sense of self will guide and accelerate our growth and evolution,” said Chancellor Daniel Diermeier. “This new visual identity is designed to help build and share pride in our collaborative community and bring greater visibility to our university across the country and around the world.”

The Vanderbilt identity updates follow extensive community-wide input, with over 500 surveys completed, over 70 one-on-one interviews, and dozens of workshops and group engagement sessions held over the years. last two years. Steve Ertel, vice chancellor for communications and marketing, led the effort.

Vanderbilt Athletics logo
Vanderbilt Athletics logo

“Our ‘One Vanderbilt’ spirit defines who we are, and we wanted our identity to reflect that,” Ertel said. “We heard from people at the university that they wanted our grades to signify who we are today, and also wanted to demonstrate a stronger unity between the university and athletics. The symbols we use to express who we are as a community help us convey a common sense of purpose that can guide and inspire us while attracting others to join and support that common purpose.

Candice Lee, vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs and athletic director, has been a key partner in the effort.

“From my perspective, the timing is perfect in that it exemplifies the ‘new era’ that we’ve often talked about,” Lee said. “It’s a new day, with new energy, alignment and momentum to match. This is another example of ‘Vandy United’ in action.

The refresh also includes a completely redesigned university seal. The seal features a new Latin motto, the university’s first: “Crescere aude”, which translates to “dare to grow”.

Seal of Vanderbilt University
Seal of Vanderbilt University

The components of the seal include a strong V mark which will serve as a symbol of connection across the university; Vanderbilt’s founding year; oak branches, which are part of the Vanderbilt family crest; and references to navigation, including a star and compass elements signifying to chart a course forward together. The same V branding was incorporated into an updated main logo for athletics.

The university’s visual brands are now characterized by a serif typeface created specifically for Vanderbilt. A new color palette for all media is also part of the new identity system.

The university worked with renowned design studio Upstatement on the identity refresh, building on an earlier collaboration with them to relaunch the university’s new website in 2021. Upstatement is considered a leader in industry in the design of creative and digital products. They have extensive experience working with top schools including MIT, Harvard, Princeton and Yale, as well as major sports media companies from ESPN to the PGA Tour to inspire audiences in their respective fields.

The university last updated its major wordmarks and logos in 2003.

View the full visual identity on the guidelines website and access resources, including new email signatures and PowerPoint templates. VAnetID and password are required.

Briana R. Cross