Glenn Bieler, Hopkins’s Vice-President of Communications, recently announced a new Identity Initiative, which aims to rebrand and unify the multiple schools under the larger branch of the University. Bieler’s presentation was posted to YouTube in order to publicize the goals and process of the Identity initiative.
The initiative began during President William R. Brody’s last year in office but was put on hold when President Daniels took the position. About a year ago, Daniels picked up the initiative and the branding committee has spent that past year putting the entire project together. This project has gone through several different testing rounds for logo designs.
“The goal of this is to bring consistency across the entire university,” Bieler said.
This lack of consistency stems from the 12 different logos that represent the twelve different institutions such as the Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Peabody Institute and the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
“President Daniels got together with the deans and said, ‘This doesn’t represent Johns Hopkins as a world class university, and we need to do something about that,’” said Bieler. “This was a collaborative process, a thoughtful process and process that we asked for a lot of input from people.”
The final design is based on a more sleek and adaptable version of the Johns Hopkins’ seal.
“This is the story of Johns Hopkins. It’s knowledge and discovery. Education is above all else that we do and we bring that to the world, and we’re proud of our connection and roots in the Baltimore community. That is the story that we wanted to tell,” Bieler said in the online presentation.
The official seal of the University will remain unchanged, but the Hopkins logo is changing. The goal of the project is to create an identity inspired by the seal, but it will not affect the seal itself.
It is important that students go to the website for the Identity Initiative and send their feedback to Bieler and his team in the Office of Communications, Beiler explained.
“My hope is that as many people as possible go to the Identity website and view the presentation because it’s hard to get people to focus on this when they have so many other things that they’re doing,” Bieler said.
One of the key points made in Bieler’s presentation is that “the university has little sense of self.” By rebranding Hopkins, the committee is aiming to break from the many stigmas associated with the university.
“When people hear Johns Hopkins, they’ll think of medicine, which on one hand is excellent because medicine is a well-branded organization. They are out there a lot. They’re well known. They do great work. It provides a great halo-effect for the university. But it also hurts the university in that people don’t fully understand what Johns Hopkins University is. They don’t know about SAIS being number one or Public Health being number one,” Bieler said.
The aim of the Identity Initiative is not to impose on the creativity of Johns Hopkins student groups, instead to bring a sense of consistency around the University.
“The logos will be accessible to everybody with a JHED I.D., so it will be very easy to download them and use them. We really want to make this as easy as possible for everyone,” Director of Communications Tricia Schellenbach said.
Though the Identity Initiative’s goal is to unify all the institutions within the university, many of these schools already have their own logos. The branding committee intended to use the framework of the logo to unite the schools with their own logos.
“The schools and divisions that wanted to align with the university better, that didn’t have their own graphics, will take on the university graphic. And then you start seeing how the consistency starts coming into place now. So, you have the university graphic on top, you have the Johns Hopkins name nice and bold underneath it, and then you have the school or division aligning nicely underneath the Johns Hopkins name. So it’s a nice symmetry and a nice consistency throughout all of the schools,” Bieler said.
The new logo is going to be put into place around mid April. But, the effect of the Identity Initiative will not be seen immediately on campus. The only place that students will notice the change is on Johns Hopkins’ websites where it is not expensive to switch to the new logo.
“It’s going to be a soft roll-out. What we’re saying to people is that we’re not expecting everyone to start throwing away all of their business cards and all their brochures and start recarving stones and doing all that. This is just the start of a very long process that could take a decade,” Bieler said.