BYU’s brand is not a Y. It is not a cougar. It is not even the color blue.
The BYU brand is bigger and deeper than any of that: it is who we are, what we stand for, how we present ourselves, and how others perceive us. But those symbols—the Y, the cougar, and blue—can powerfully suggest all that the BYU brand is meant to be.
BYU President Kevin J Worthen has said:
“The Y on the mountain is an enduring symbol of this community and of the unique qualities of a BYU education, an education that asks us to consider our true potential and our loftiest ideals.”
Defining Our Brand
Those lofty ideals matter to us at BYU. And it matters that our audiences understand our commitment to those ideals. The perception people have of the BYU brand—our brand reputation—affects everything that we do here. Our reputation is why students and professors come here, why companies hire our graduates, why scholars seek our collaboration, why donors support us, why alumni the world over wear blue and rep the Y.
The BYU brand reputation affects our ability to make a difference in the world. So it is important that we get it right.
BYU Brand Work
To effectively express the BYU brand, we first need to understand it thoroughly. To help us understand our brand, the university is embarking on a major brand research and articulation exercise, beginning mid-2019. This effort will involve interviews and focus groups, a perceptions study, and a variety of conversations across campus.
Through this project, we as a university will create a full articulation of our brand platform that defines our purpose, our personality, our key messages, and our visual identity guidelines. We anticipate that brand platform will be ready for use by 2021.
In an era of increasing challenges to the values we embrace, the ability to clearly communicate the BYU brand will be ever more important. As we approach our 150th anniversary, we look forward to being able to simply, clearly, and boldly articulate who we are to the world.
In the Meantime...
The visual symbols we use to represent our brand matter. Those symbols can powerfully and quickly communicate the ideals we represent, and consistent use of those symbols increases their effectiveness.
During this brand research and articulation exercise, the university has defined three key principles to guide our use of visual symbols:
- Consistent Use of the Core Marks: Our core university marks must be used consistently. The guidelines on this web page describe how to use them.
- Approval of Existing Visual Identities: Hundreds of BYU entities—from colleges to clubs to retail outlets to performing groups—have visual identities. All visual identities in use as of May 2019 are approved for continued use for the duration of the brand research and articulation work. When that work is complete, all visual identities will follow new guidelines, which will describe consistent visual identity use across campus.
- Interim Visual Identity Guidelines: Any BYU entity that needs a new visual identity during the brand exercise must follow the interim visual identity guidelines outlined on this web site. Visual identities created according to these guidelines will be temporary and will be updated to follow the new guidelines when the brand exercise is complete.
Until the brand exercise is complete, BYU entities should exercise caution in creating expensive applications of their visual identities. New guidelines will be ready for use by early 2021 and all entities will be required to use the new guidelines before fall 2021.
If you wish to create something expensive that has a lifespan of more than a year, we recommend postponing the project until the new guidelines are released.