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University implements new look
Standards manual issued
November 2, 1998

When workers bustling to complete the plaza at the center of campus unveiled the huge new UConn seal October 17, the University's new identity was, literally, set in stone.

Now, it's up to members of the University community to begin the task of planting the University's new graphic identity - the oak leaf symbol and the more formal seal, which encircles the oak leaf with "University of Connecticut 1881" - into the minds and hearts of Connecticut's citizens, and the thousands of other people worldwide who come into contact with material regarding UConn daily.

A new, 16-page graphic standards manual was sent to deans, directors and department heads last month. The manual offers University and contracted designers guidelines on how the new identity can, and cannot, be used for everything from memo pads and business cards to letterhead and brochures. On October 23, graphic designers from across campus were invited by University Communications to a presentation on the standards.

Many departments began using stationery and business cards bearing the oak leaf symbol during the summer.

"As the University of Connecticut continues the transformation that is preparing it for the next century, it is imperative that we all work together to communicate a clear and consistent University identity to our important external audiences. The development of visual identity standards that are applicable to the entire University is critical to achieving this objective," President Philip E. Austin says in a foreword to the manual.

The new graphic standards apply to all UConn schools, departments and campuses, including regional campuses, the UConn Health Center (whose formal seal uses the Health Center's name outside the oak leaf), and the schools of law and social work. The Husky dog, a figure etched in the minds of millions of sports fans - as well as the mid-point of UConn's many fields of play - remains the University's mascot and the symbol of UConn athletics.

The oak leaf symbol was designed by UConn fine arts alumni and University Medal-winners Janet and Peter Good, principals in the design firm of Cummings and Good.

In creating the logo, they and their colleagues designed hundreds of possible logos, tied to various themes which were reviewed by a University committee that included faculty, students, staff, administrators, alumni and donors. The group chose an artistic rendition of the oak leaf.

The oak is rooted in Connecticut history through the Charter Oak, a tree used by colonists in 1687 to hide the Royal Charter giving colonists self-governing status. The oak was later named the state tree.

In addition, the Goods discovered that UConn's second graduating class, in 1884, held its commencement in an oak grove; that the second largest oak tree in Connecticut is on the West Hartford campus; and that the oak is often viewed in classic literature as a symbol of strength and stability.

The Goods have incorporated the oak leaf symbol into a wide-ranging visual system, intended to give the University a single recognizable identity in any setting.

"The graphic standards have been designed to be flexible and practical," says John Barry, associate director of University Communications. "They allow each school, department and center to use any one of six different University signatures to specifically identify the department or organization in the context of the University as a whole."

Barry says the singular identity is critical to the University's strategic communications effort, that was begun by the Board of Trustees, in the wake of their adoption of the overall Strategic Plan.

Having a single identity, he says, is an important tool to help faculty, staff and administrators communicate the valuable programs and services the University provides.

"If the Connecticut Repertory Theatre puts on a spectacular production, a researcher at the UConn Health Center makes a tremendous breakthrough in cancer research or an English professor wins a prestigious literary award, we want everybody to know that they are all part of the University of Connecticut," Barry says.

While University Communications continues to design materials that have a strategic bearing on the entire University - admissions brochures, print advertising, video spots for national television broadcast, the alumni magazine, the University newspaper, and the UConn website - stationery orders and related materials are now handled externally through the University's Purchasing Department, says Penny Guerin, a purchasing agent in charge of print and publications materials.

To order materials through purchasing, a requisition should be submitted to the department, she says.

Guerin says the University has established a contract with, Pro Litho, a printer that supplies all business cards and stationery to the University. Another firm, Connecticut Valley Paper and Envelope, supplies all the University's envelopes. The UConn Health Center maintains a similar set of contractual agreements.

On campus, people can access the manual through the University's Web page, at

Richard Veilleux