To the University Community:

I write to you today about some exciting changes in the way the university will present our image and communicate about ourselves going forward under our newly adopted “visual identity” program.

As you know, as an institution with a global reach, we must compete at a high level for virtually everything: students, faculty, staff, grants, awards and donations, to name a few.

And when we compete, we need to present ourselves at our very best, because how key audiences perceive our academic strength and overall reputation influences the choices they make.  Our image also plays an important role in reinforcing and building pride in UConn for our alumni, fans and supporters.

But we sometimes have a tendency to look at things which fall into the category of “marketing” and “branding” with a skeptical eye, wondering how much it truly matters.

The truth is that it matters a great deal.

Our image and reputation need to be an accurate reflection of our attributes both academically and athletically.  This is true with every university – especially those great institutions which are our peers – as well as those we still aspire to rival.

Part of that larger effort to strengthen our visual identity includes things like solidifying a uniform version of the word “UConn” as our primary “wordmark” for the entire institution.

Of course we are still very much the University of Connecticut and we will be keeping our traditional oak leaf and the university seal in place; but we will also capitalize on UConn as the name the nation thinks of when it thinks of us.

Also, on April 18, the Division of Athletics will be unveiling some other terrific changes to our visual identity – including the latest version in the evolution of the Husky Dog logo.

Let me assure you:  our mascot is still the Husky, as it has been since a mascot was chosen, though he has taken many different forms over the years – some better than others.

The updated identity package that will be presented on the 18th, like the wordmark, is intended to show what UConn and our student athletes convey every day: poise, confidence, competitiveness and the determination to succeed in the classroom and on the field and the court.

Most importantly, it will present a unified visual that our teams are very excited to wear proudly in representing UConn.

And contrary to speculation, the Husky will not appear to be mean, snarling or capable of frightening small children!  Instead, he will be rendered as the sleek, beautiful animal a real husky truly is.

It’s worth noting that our new Athletics graphic identity was designed for us by the artistic team at Nike at no cost to UConn following much study and testing with our athletes, coaches and other members of the university community.

Also, the images associated with our visual identity will be phased in over time rather than all at once. So those concerned about costs should know that all the various places the Husky or our other logos appear – walls, courts, business cards, signs and letterhead, among others – would have to be repainted, replaced and reordered anyway in the normal course of business over a period of years.

The only difference now is that new images will replace older ones when this occurs.

I urge you to view the new wordmark and read the full story on our the new visual identity’s importance to us as an institution in UConn Today.

Updates to marks and logos are common, and done with tradition and unity in mind, not in spite of them.  As always, we are incredibly proud to call ourselves Huskies and prouder still of our university.

Please join me in looking forward to the full rollout of this new program later this month and, as always: Go Huskies!


Susan Herbst
University of Connecticut