It’s a new era of sorts for USF.
And it has the logo to match.
System President Judy Genshaft announced a change in branding for the university in front of a nearly-filled 700-seat Oval Theatre in the Marshall Student Center on Wednesday afternoon.
Following USF’s newly-gained preeminence status, Genshaft unveiled the university’s new academic logo, which features a forest-green background and a lime-green bull that resembles the first bull in front of the Marshall Student Center. The logo also features the letters “USF” next to it, also in lime green.
The new logo will officially take effect Oct. 14 during Homecoming week and will replace USF’s prior logo, which featured “USF” in a block-like font with the “University of South Florida” under it, in full by January.
USF’s Communication and Marketing team designed three potential logos before reaching its final decision. Chief Marketing Executive Joe Hice said the new logo embodies elements from all three USF campuses.
“The slashes in the chest represent the different campuses, the inspiration from the three university bulls and the fact that the “Bull U” is right in the design is such a good story that will draw people in and will get them to want to know more about the university,” Hice said.
Genshaft said the rebranding is going to represent all of USF’s academic units and departments, while the traditional “U” with bullhorns remaining for USF athletics.
“Like any great organization, we now have a clear, consistent brand to guide us as we continue to evolve in the future,” Genshaft said.
The consolidation plan to combine the Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee campuses made establishing one concise brand important, Genshaft said, to establish an identity.
“Last year, it was my desire to see the university consolidate around one clear brand,” Genshaft said. “Now more than ever before it is time for us to tell our story the right way.”
After the reveal of the new logo, Genshaft addressed the audience by exclaiming “don’t you love it,” in which the audience matched her positive energy.
Within the past couple of months, USF has worked closely with SPARK — which is a branding, social media and advertising agency — to put finishing touches on the project.
“We engaged with a premiere branding agency to work with our USF Systems Communications and Marketing office,” Genshaft said. “The team conducted more than 1,200 interviews with university stakeholders to develop a brand story that articulates what makes us unique.”
About three months ago, a Request for Proposal was conducted for SPARK. The USF Communications and Marketing team turned over all work that was done up to that point and invited SPARK to participate in the brand counsel and summit.
Three focus groups were conducted, which included one where 14 students from the Summer Academic and Cultural Engagement Program, three graduate students and a faculty member to vote between three potential logo designs before the decision was made.
Hice said the students preferred the proud Bull because it was a better representation of USF instead of the initials.
According to Hice, the big question that was asked is, “how do we get all the elements of this new era into one picture?” After the finished product, he said he believes that the goal was accomplished.
“I am a little bit prejudice because my other big campaign was Gator Nation so I know the power that something like this can have,” Hice said. “I think USF has every reason to be proud of its achievements as much as the University of Florida.”
Being in a “new league” as a preeminent university, Genshaft said the development of the new brand will make USF move faster, better and smarter than ever before.
“It tells the world that we are not just talking about a new era, we are actively shaping one,” Genshaft said.