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Branding: Justin Anderson Responds

The College’s Vice President for Communications, Justin Anderson, responds to today’s post regarding the new branding strategy:

Justin Anderson.jpgI would like to clarify a few things that you referenced in your post today about the visual identity.

The College shield (or crest) and official seal have not been dropped. These symbols are still part of the visual identity system and will continue to play an important role in our overall presentation. The seal, for instance, will still appear on diplomas. There will be no change there.

We have selected one distinctive wordmark, which is inspired by the typeface used by designer Rudolph Ruzicka on the bicentennial logo. It will take the place of the multitude of Dartmouth wordmarks currently in use across campus. Use of the simpler “Dartmouth”—as opposed to “Dartmouth College”—was established in 2004 and was designed to represent and serve the entire institution. No change there.

The D-pine was designed to provide community members more flexibility when communicating. It is a solution to a clear challenge: how do we communicate effectively in a digital age? The shield, for instance, is virtually illegible when reduced in size for social media. It leaves us without a clear identity in a medium of increasing importance, one where we communicate with prospective students and alumni. To communicate our distinctive identity in a multimedia age, surely we can make room for the shield and the D-pine rather than choosing one or the other.

As one would expect within a community of smart, independent thinkers, there is a range of reaction to the new assets; however, the true change is in our increased capacity to produce professional, integrated communications across many channels, with elements rooted in Dartmouth’s history and location.

Information about the development strategy behind the updated identity can be found online as can a complete set of guidelines for how to use the identity.

Justin asserts that there has been “a range of reaction to the new assets.” I’d sure like to hear from anyone who likes the new visuals. Between my mailbox and social media, the reactions of alumni and students have been uniformly negative.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

I call bullshit on Justin Anderson. Clearly, the tree in D is supposed to replace the shield. If you look at the website, they show how it’s supposed to replace the shield on letterhead, envelopes, business cards, brochures, and most all official materials besides diplomas. The wordmark font also looks childish. (To be fair, Harvard’s font also doesn’t look great, but it certainly is better than ours.)

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