Penn State’s refresh

Penn State released its refreshed “University mark” today in coordination with Onward State breaking news of the change. I had heard rumor of the coming change a few weeks ago, but hadn’t seen it until today. It’s a welcome change.

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It also seems that University administrators are serious about equipping each college, department, etc. with an appropriate version for their areas. Hopefully there’s a gentle enforcement mechanism there too, or brand fragmentation will happen in the same way it exists today, with each college and department adapting the mark in unique ways.

I like the refreshed look for a number of reasons. It’s larger and scales in a better way. The Nittany Lion is more present, and is looking upon “Penn State” with what feels like a gaze of confidence and protection.

Also, I like that the “1855” chartering date has been removed. When the original design was created it had been only 30 or so years since Penn State College had become Penn State University. It signaled “established” in an obvious way.

Today that’s no longer necessary. Penn State is globally recognized in a way few of its peer are thanks to both its traditions and the impact of Penn State World Campus. It no longer needs its Pennsylvania chartering date to be front and center, and it makes sense that the symbol of Penn Staters, the Pennsylvania Nittany Lion, takes center stage. The date remains in the official University seal, where it makes sense.

I would guess Penn State’s on track to have over 1 million living alumni by 2050 or earlier. This refreshed look is a better way to convey a central part of our character in a clearer way to those who’ve yet to become a part of the story.

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