Our brand is what we stand for in the hearts and minds of the persons we are trying to reach, influence, and move to action. Our brand is based on past experiences and future expectations, and includes our reputation and positioning based on the sum of researched and documented associations.
Our brand is not our name, our logo, our mission, our vision, our tagline, our font, colors, visual identity, or our advertising.
Our brand should:
- Strengthen our fundraising goals by providing a foundation and focus for producing compelling and memorable cases for support;
- Inspire confidence in our donors, friends, foundations, and granting agencies that investing in LMU will produce impactful and meaningful outcomes;
- Shape our institution around its recognized strengths and forward-looking vision;
- Help achieve organizational goals and business challenges;
- Align to and inform strategic planning and all efforts that develop the university's perceived value and reputation;
- Support our evolving internal culture as well as external outreach, positioning the university in a credible and authentic way;
- Help the university be more efficient;
- Be easily measured and aligned to broader goals and initiatives;
- Inform and streamline planning processes.
Brand architecture is the structure of sub-brands within our organization. It is the way in which all schools, colleges, departments, divisions, centers and affinity groups within the university are related to the LMU brand and also differentiated from each other. In LMU's visual identity system, sub-brand wordmarks lock up to one of four marks to create unique logo signatures.
LMU's brand initiative is a process begun in 2017 that is driven by the vision and purpose of the university, building on our clearly-defined core mission and values. The process required extensive research and assessment of the current higher education market and competitive landscape. It helped define our desired position and reputation within that market, and led to the development of LMU's first-ever brand platform.
LMU's brand initiative is ongoing. Over time, we will survey our audiences, influencers and stakeholders to track progress toward reaching our reputational aspirations as an institution.
Our brand platform was developed from the distillation of 12 months of market research, the most expansive research initiative in LMU's history. The brand platform is a living document that establishes a foundation for our identity and core messaging. It serves as a framework for all internal and external communications.
Brand Positioning Statement
LMU's brand positioning statement—Creating the World We Want to Live In—is an expression of how we meet the needs of the audiences we are trying to attract and influence in a way that other colleges and universities don't. Positioning is the process of identifying what is unique and important about an LMU education and building awareness, urgency and a strong reputation for it.
In LMU's new visual identity system, the university seal is the foundational graphic element. However, its usage will be limited to the highest levels of ceremonial purpose—diplomas, academic regalia, honorary degrees and critical leadership communications. For this reason, the seal is known as the ceremonial mark.
Color is an important component of a visual identity system. A color palette is the handful of hues consistently used in visual expressions of a brand, and often the palette is rooted in institutional history. LMU's traditional color palette is crimson and blue, with gray added as a highlight. Crimson reflects our Jesuit tradition from Loyola University and blue represents the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, our Marymount College tradition.
At a very basic level, logos are symbols made up of text and images that help us identify brands and what they stand for. Our logo is the visual cornerstone of the LMU brand. Used consistently, it helps our audiences understand who we are, what we do, and what we value. A good logo allows our audiences to immediately identify us, understand what we stand for, and trust our brand promise.
The logo system refers to a family of visually-coordinated logos (also called marks) that, used consistently, will quickly and visually communicate who we are, what we do, and what we value to external audiences.
A mark is another word for a logo. Sometimes, marks refer to logos that do not themselves include the organization's name. Typically, a logo or pictorial mark added to a wordmark that identifies the organization forms a logo lock-up, or signature.
Primary logo is the term used to describe the logo or logo lock-up used most often in a visual identity system. Organizations elect to consistently use a primary logo above all other logos in the visual identity system as a means of creating immediate visual awareness for their brand to the outside world.
A logo or pictorial mark added to a wordmark that identifies the organization forms a logo signature. Also known as a logo lock-up.
A sub-brand is an area within an institution or organization that focuses on a specialized niche and targets an audience attracted to it. At LMU, seven schools and colleges that provide more than 100 academic programs would be considered sub-brands. Athletics is another example of a strong LMU sub-brand. In a brand architecture like LMU's visual identity system, unit sub-brands overlay LMU wordmarks to create unique logo lock-ups and signatures that are totally integrated with the university identity.
A spirit mark aims to do just as it sounds—build school spirit. In LMU's new visual identity system, the spirit mark is a lion which takes visual inspiration from the Jesuit seal, a 500 year-old logo associated with education in a social justice tradition. The lion innovatively conflates this inherent Ignatian inspiration into LMU's mascot tradition. The LMU spirit mark is also part of the Athletics visual identity system as a secondary logo.
Font families play an essential role in a successful visual identity. Type conveys meaning through tone and style by: attracting and holding an audience's attention; communicating with clarity; establishing an informational hierarchy of sizing and weighting; creating harmony through continuity, repetition, and simplicity; and building instant recognition and memorability.
Visual identities are comprised of several elements, including logos, color palettes and typography. These graphic components combined and used with consistency create clarity in communications.
A well-designed visual identity doesn't just support our brand; it elevates it. From print collateral to signage to social media, a strong visual identity instantly communicates who we are, what we're about and why the world should want to interact with us.