NIU switches things up with a new school logo and motto

By Faith Healy

A new academic year brings with it many changes. This year, students may begin to notice a new logo popping up around campus.

NIU unveiled its new logo Aug. 15, along with a new motto: “Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow.”

The logo will be used on all NIU websites starting Sept. 1. In total, the logo cost the university $20,000.

The new logo prominently features an image of Altgeld Hall, bordered by a shield-like frame. The bottom half of the logo features the letters “NIU.”

The logo and motto are intended to boost NIU’s recruitment efforts. Kathy Buettner, vice president for University Relations, said she believes that the new logo and tagline are the tools required to spread the message of what the NIU experience is all about.

“NIU must clearly define its promise to students, parents, guidance counselors, teachers and taxpayers, including its more than 220,000 alumni,” Buettner said in an NIU Today article. “The new logo and theme, ‘Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow,’ will help shape and steer our communications efforts in a consistent manner.”

According to a survey conducted by NIU Today, 67 percent found the new logo and motto appealing to the eye, 59 percent agreed it accurately represented NIU and that it was memorable.

The new logo differs from the university’s previous brand because the old one was just a “word mark,” or a representation of the letters NIU, said Joe King, assistant director of Media Relations and Internal Communications.

“In addition to the word mark, [the new logo] features a representation of a campus landmark, the Altgeld Hall tower that is familiar to generations of NIU students,” King said in an email. “It says much more about the university than its predecessor.”

There were certain guidelines that went into the creation of the logo, according to an NIU Today article.

One consideration was the style of the NIU Athletics logo, which features the familiar NIU Huskie dog. According to the article, the athletic logo was considered because it is well received by many students and alumni.

It was also decided that the new logo should feature prominent NIU architecture and should be simple in design for easy use in a variety of formats.

According to NIU Today, Buettner invited all graphic designers on campus to submit designs and took submissions from Pennsylvania-based The Joe Bosack Graphic Design Company. More than 100 logos were received from graphic designers on and off campus which were then whittled down to two. One finalist was designed by an in-house designer and the other was submitted by Bosack. Bosack’s logo was voted the winner.

According to a survey conducted by the NIU Public Opinion Lab the winning logo was preferred by 72 percent of people; 90 percent of current students surveyed chose Bosack’s logo and 88 percent of prospective students.

“I like [the new logo],” said Jordan Kappmeyer, senior art education major. “It’s more sophisticated.”

$15,000 of the money spent on the logo went to Bosack’s firm.

Editor’s Note: Campus Editor Matt Liparota contributed to this article.