There’s a bit of a new look at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County nowadays.
The school officially rolled out a new logo, home page and video on April 3, while trying to give those interested a look at what it says UMBC epitomizes — a campus community, with the emphasis on “community.”
UMBC’s last big branding initiative took place in 1995, when the school began calling itself “An Honors University in Maryland.” But college administrators believe the school has changed and grown in numerous ways since that time, and they have been studying this subject for the past two years, talking with students, faculty, staff, alumni and others while trying to find the right type of branding message.
In the end, UMBC felt that message involved community. “The brand naturally exists in the campus community,” said Lisa Akchin, associate vice president and assistant to the president. “What we ended up understanding in this branding process is what makes this university distinct from others. There’s a very deep sense of community at UMBC; the theme of community runs through our new brand message.”
The school went a long way toward establishing that with the changes and adjustments that were made. On the silo that people see as they arrive at Hilltop Circle from Interstate 95, there’s a new sign that says, “Welcome to Our Community of Inquiring Minds.” That same message is in place at a number of locations on campus. It’s on the sidewalk at entrances to buildings.
“It’s a statement of who we are,” Akchin said. Another big change is the logo. The word “UMBC” remains but with a shield next to it that has elements of the state flag. It also doesn’t say “An Honors University in Maryland” anymore. The latter slogan will be used by undergraduate admissions on all its materials, but the university-wide logo won’t say it. The new logo already is on the silo plus the elevator doors to the Administration Building — across from the Retriever Activities Center — as well as on signs and stickers around campus.
There will not be a change in the logo used for athletics.
In addition, the school’s website has a totally different look, starting with a video at the top with the words “Welcome to Our Community of Inquiring Minds” superimposed on the screen. A number of different facts and pictures present more information about the school.
Alexander Gliese, a member of the UMBC swimming team who was a student representative on the executive committee that worked on the new brand, said he regularly attended meetings and gave input. The senior said he definitely liked the new logo and thinks it will boost the school in various ways.
“I think that the logo is going to help UMBC nationally and internationally and just kind of show people who are interested in the school what we are all about,” he said. “I think that the new logo’s a little bit more exciting, and it shows that we’re a Maryland school, and people won’t have to ask, ‘What’s UMBC?’”
In January, Towson University announced new branding and marketing efforts. It also updated the school’s logo and highlighted three “pillars” the school would focus on going forward.