The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign rebrands, creates cohesive image

Photo courtesy of Tracy Wolniewicz
The Block ‘I’ at O’Hare International Airport.

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has gone through many iterations over the years. Since its founding in 1862, the University has been called many names, with “UIUC” gaining popularity in recent years. However, those days are soon to be over, as a marketing team at the University has been carefully planning a rebrand

One of the most notable changes that will be implemented in University messaging and branding is how it will be referenced. The University is moving away from being called “UIUC” and suggests other common names, including “U. of I.,” “Illinois,” “Urbana” and “the Urbana campus.” The guidelines specify that the first reference to Illinois should always be “University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.”

This change has been made to limit confusion between references to the Urbana-Champaign school and its sister schools, University of Illinois Chicago and University of Illinois Springfield. 

“When new institutions became part of the organization and we became a system, it became a little more complicated. For us, the research we’ve done shows that the more popular name is ‘Illinois’,” said Robin Kaler, Associate Chancellor for Strategic Communications and Marketing.

According to Kaler, the names “UIUC” and “UIC” are common causes of confusion among college applicants and Illinois residents alike.

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“Sometimes we hear of students who apply for one intending to apply for the other,” Kaler said.

The new brand guidelines specify four pillars that encapsulate Illinois: innovation, community, momentum and discovery. These four pillars are intended to be descriptive words to reflect what Illinois offers to those who engage with it.

“Your brand is the promise that an organization makes to anyone who engages with that organization,” Kaler said. “So you want to make clear to people that if you interact with us, this is what you should expect. The brand is kind of the embodiment of that.”

The new brand guidelines do not only provide insight on the suggested nomenclature for Illinois but also for the visual identity. 

Perhaps most important to the visual brand of Illinois is the Block I logo, which students and community members can see on signs across campus. 

The guidelines feature three possible logos that those who want to sport the Illinois name can choose from, with the orange Block I outlined in blue being the primary version. 

This also means the Block I must include the trademark symbol for all merchandise. While vendors can submit a request to omit the trademark via email to the Licensing and Trademark Office, the guidelines suggest downloading the trademark Block I from their website.

Another notable inclusion to the brand guidelines is a pronunciation guide for Illinois-affiliated buildings, names and laboratories. 

Students and community members can access audio recordings as well as phonetic spellings of various Illinois-related words, including a guide for how to pronounce the Native Tribes featured in the University’s Land Acknowledgement Statement.

The rebrand has been championed by Chancellor Robert Jones, who noticed that the Illinois website lacked the cohesion he wanted to implement at the University. With help from the Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing, Jones assisted in creating the new guidelines within the University’s budget with the goal of encompassing the Illinois promise.

“To provide limitless opportunities to anyone driven to pursue their impossible, that’s what we’re here for,” Kaler said.


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