For Virginia Tech, a brand is a promise to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends about who we are and what we can and will deliver. The brand is a way of telling our story through the images and messages we communicate. A brand isn’t a logo, a tagline, or an advertising campaign created by communications and marketing professionals. Rather, those elements are tools of a brand campaign that help articulate the promise. 

A brand is the authentic expression of the university’s vision and values and the goals of the individuals who comprise the university community. 

At Virginia Tech and in higher education, change is constant. We must become more transdisciplinary in a more competitive landscape, and to keep pace we must evolve how we represent ourselves. Refreshing the brand allows us to affirm our strengths and enhance our competitiveness while building on our 145-year-old tradition of service. 

We have initiated structural changes in recent years to make the university more competitive. Building on our strong foundation and values, we have established Destination Areas, focused on Beyond Boundaries initiatives, and worked to ensure that our graduates have a world-class, transdisciplinary education. The new brand reflects this forward momentum.

The primary objective is to establish a compelling, authentic, inspiring, and unified position in the minds of our various audiences, including prospective students, current students, faculty and staff, donors, alumni, and the public at large.

A refreshed brand message and creative platform will help us consistently and clearly communicate what makes Virginia Tech unique and authentic. We want to tell the story of how we are reimagining higher education and solving real-world problems. Such stories are vital to help position Virginia Tech as the first choice among top-quality students, faculty, and staff.    

Virginia Tech is moving in an innovative, transformative direction under the guidance of new leaders. We are rethinking the very role of higher education. We are changing our approach to messaging, using a new brand platform to tell stories in ways that are better targeted to our audiences. We are also deploying a new university logo that reflects this new approach.

 

  • Our school colors, burnt orange and Chicago maroon, are a permanent part of our tradition. (We have always had a secondary color palette, which is now updated.)
  • Our traditions — the HokieBird, the name of the university, Hokie Stone, and our cheers and chants — are staying the same.
  • Our motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), is a foundational element of the university’s purpose. 
  • The athletics logo, the “flying VT,” is still the official mark for our athletics program.
  • The university seal is our official seal, and it will appear on our graduates' diplomas.

Virginia Tech athletics and the Corps of Cadets are strategic parts of the university’s comprehensive identity and brand. Both entities strengthen the university’s reputation and position in the marketplace of higher education, and the university’s new brand meshes well with the brand expressions for both. 

We are not abandoning the Pylons or motto. Both are staples of the Virginia Tech brand, hold great significance, and are beloved by the community. Those sentiments will always be true. While the Pylons are one of the most visible symbols of Ut Prosim, the culture of service at Virginia Tech has transcended the Blacksburg campus. Service is what every Hokie does, no matter where they are, and that will not change because of a new logo.   

The former logo, created before social media and pocket-sized digital devices, was shaped in a way that was hard to visually decipher, especially when scaled down for today’s technology.

Universities as a whole have been adopting more streamlined visual expressions. The new Virginia Tech logo honors the strength and tradition of our athletics program, while also referencing the transdisciplinary education that our students receive.

Virginia Tech has always utilized separate visual expressions for our academic and athletic presences. By aligning our institutional and athletic identities, we have created a bold, simple, and recognizable logo that strengthens our overall brand. When the university logo and the athletics logo are in a related brand family, we can more effectively position Virginia Tech in a competitive higher education environment.

Still have questions or comments? You can email unirel@vt.edu