Over the past few years, UBC has made major changes to its brand— and those are slated to continue following the launch of their national branding campaign on September 24.
UBC’s Board of Governors marked Policy 94 — the policy regulating UBC’s branding and image — a priority this year, and the university has already begun making significant stylistic changes while that policy waits to be debated.
Notably, the sun in UBC’s logo now only has seven points instead of the original nine. UBC has also quietly retired its old slogan “A Place of Mind” — it is no longer found on the website or any promotional materials.
Dr. Joanna Hoegg, associate professor and chair of Sauder’s marketing and behavioural science division, said that it’s “intentional” that these changes are hard to see.
“That’s how you can try to hold onto all the identity pieces of your brand, but just update it — just slightly change the focus,” she said.
In a statement to The Ubyssey, UBC’s Senior Director of Brand and Marketing Rick Hart said that these changes aren’t as new as they appear.
“The UBC logo was actually updated in 2015, which coincidentally was when UBC also stopped using the ‘Place of Mind’ slogan.”
UBC has also been urging faculty and staff to include the new logo and slogan on promotional materials.
“The university has many, many websites and so we’ve been respectfully asking content creators to ensure they are using the most up to date logo on those sites,” Hart said.
Subtle changes in branding are not uncommon in most businesses and institutions, according to Hoegg.
“When you create a brand, there are a number of goals in branding,” she said. “One is to have something that is consistent, that is recognizable, and that exemplifies the identity that you have for your organization.”
Hoegg said that drastic changes to a brand can be potentially harmful to an organization, so subtle changes are often preferred.
“Ideally, in a perfect world, a brand stays forever. But the world changes, and things get updated,” she said. “The marketplace changes, people want new things, or it just becomes old and needs to be refreshed.”