Laurier unveils re-designed logo

While trying to modernize Wilfrid Laurier University’s logo, Scott Thornley had an unusual additional task come up: differentiate the university from Molson Canadian.

According to Thornley, when he and his design firm Scott Thornley and Company (STC), were doing interviews for feedback on what a new Laurier should look like, one thing kept coming up.

“Often the strongest reaction was to the colour red and to the maple leaf’s association to a beer label,” he said. “No one really commented on ‘inspiring lives of leadership and purpose’ being a tag line because it is too long to recall. Around the colour red, the leaf, there was an abundance of strong opinion.”

So the red, water droplet-covered maple leaf of Laurier’s old logo became an upright maple leaf with more pronounced veins that can be red, purple or gold, and the old serif font was abandoned for a sans serif called Calluna and Laurier’s new logo was born. This new look logo was unveiled Friday afternoon in an event that took place simultaneously in Waterloo and Brantford, connected through the Internet.

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One colour scheme for Laurier’s new logo.

“I view it as a refreshing of our visual identity and I think it’s a fabulous way to launch into our next century,” said Laurier president Max Blouw of the new logo. “[The logo] democratizes, it makes equal the campuses. I think it also emphasizes what we think of as our institutional proposition, which is inspiring lives of leadership and purpose.”

In addition to the ‘Laurier’ mark and maple leaf, the new logo will feature an abbreviated version of WLU’s mission statement, as “Inspiring Lives” will act as a tag line on the new insignia. The new ‘Laurier’ mark and leaf will be featured in all three of the school’s official colours: purple, gold and the lesser-known red. According to Thornley, in designing the new logo, STC interviewed 16 Laurier students, staff, alumni and board members.

“What we heard in every interview was this fantastic loyalty and passion for this school,” said Thornley. “What we didn’t see was, apart from the Hawk, any evidence of it.”

The new logo cost WLU just over $100,000. According to Laurier vice president of communications, public affairs and marketing Jacqui Tam that money was approved as part of the school’s operating budget and spent over 2009-10 and 2010-11 and covered the input and feedback process as well as the design of creative concepts.

STC, the same company that designed the ‘Laurier 100’ logo, also made some slight tweaks to the university’s official crest. According to Tam, the new look for Laurier is part of natural development.

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The slight changes to WLU’s official seal.

“When I look at the marks that we’ve used to identify the institution over the years, I see [the logo] as an evolution,” she said. “It’s an important look forward, but it’s rooted in the past. It’s not something that’s gone off in a totally new direction.”

Tam also mentioned that the ‘Laurier 100’ banners are going to stay up around the school and community until the end of December. Starting in January 2012, the newly designed logo will officially come into use, though at the moment, there are no plans for public displays similar to the ‘Laurier 100’ campaign.

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