Marketing & Communications

EMU ID History

Revitalized logo introduced

EMU introduced a revitalized logo in July 2015 after a year of research and design work. The logo revision was pursued after thorough assessment with EMU stakeholders regarding the previous logo, which served the university well since 1994.

The revised logo captures the essence of feedback from more than 300 students, faculty, staff and alumni calling for an updated look that honors the past. Read more

EMU logo, new vs old

Why a revitalization?

EMU ID History

In the fall of 2014 EMU’s marketing and communications department led a review of EMU’s brand identification (ID). The goal was to assess whether the existing logo and other brand ID materials were communicating the EMU story effectively.

Centennial year (2017-18) celebration preparation, along with strategic (2015-2020) planning, pointed toward a necessary review of the logo, which was developed in 1993.

Gravity Group, a branding and marketing consultant based in Harrisonburg, Va., advised on the assessment process and collaborated with EMU representatives on the design phase of the revitalized logo.


Some common language is helpful when talking about branding matters (courtesy of Gravity Group.)

  • Brand – a mixture of tangible and intangible attributes which create value and influence.
  • Brand positioning – is competitive – a comparative strategy that highlights distinctive characteristics that make it unique and drive preference for a particular brand over others.
  • Brand Identity – the visual expression of a brand’s tangible and intangible characteristics to affect how audiences perceive the brand and its products or services: logo, color scheme, etc.

Assessment process and findings

The assessment phase of the review included facilitated discussion groups with more than 60 people in these groups:

  • strategic planning council
  • faculty senate
  • alumni council
  • parent council
  • board of trustees
  • Student Government Association

The assessment also included an electronic survey, which was completed by 245 people. They represented:

  • students
  • faculty
  • staff
  • retirees
  • alumni
  • donors

Participants were asked what they see/feel when they saw the current logo, what they think an EMU logo should communicate that it doesn’t (if anything), and to provide any “please do’s” and “please don’ts” if the logo were to be updated.

The Findings

More than 300 people weighed in with clear consensus that the EMU brand is strong. Few, if any, respondents indicated that EMU’s existing logo fully told the EMU story effectively. Many expressed appreciation for elements of the logo and what it conjured for them regarding EMU. By a vast majority, respondents called for careful updating of the logo.

A word cloud of survey responses highlights recurring themes that respondents felt the EMU logo should capture. On the left is a word cloud of current student responses; on the right, a word cloud of alumni responses.

Student Word CloudAlumni Word Cloud


A design process began in mid-March. Student involvement was emphasized. Design team members include:

Rollout of the revised logo on everything from parking tags to ID badges and the gym floor will take place over the coming two years with completion by EMU’s centennial year 2017-18. Print material updates began immediately and the website will follow soon. External signage and other updates will happen in a timely manner, while also taking costs into consideration.