In addition to new students, Northern Arizona University will be welcoming something else to campus this year -- a new logo.
Rather than reinvent the wheel, the university’s marketing team decided to use two things it knew already worked: the NAU Athletics logo and the university name.
“What was resonating with our students, parents and alumni was the athletics logo with the ax and the NAU inside,” said NAU spokesperson Kimberly Ott. “So we took the NAU from the athletics logo and the Northern Arizona University from our most recent logo and consolidated them.”
Ott credited Northern Arizona University’s Chief Marketing Officer Ashley Chitwood as the champion of this change. Ott said Chitwood first noticed the need for a singular logo when she toured the campus last year during her interview.
“She came to me and asked why there wasn’t an alignment with the university and athletics,” Ott said. “And she said one of the things she would work on if hired would be one logo, because she saw the need to be one NAU."
Once hired, Chitwood got to work.
She started looking at the logos at the main Flagstaff campus and also at the logos of the more than 20 satellite campuses throughout the state.
“A lot of them were different,” Ott said. “We had logos in existence going back 20 years, logos going back three changes ago, logos that had different colors. Nothing matched.”
Chitwood said when she first started, she was briefed on the rate at which the university grew, which accounted for the lack of logo uniformity.
After doing some research, she said it seemed as if the athletics logo was the most popular, as it was the one she saw most people sporting on clothes and bumper stickers, and it had the best retail sales.
“We wanted to take what athletics has already made popular, and the university name, and put the two together,” she said. “So what we did was consolidate the two and make the best of the best of the university.”
Chitwood said the new logo didn’t cost anything to create.
“Because of the access to the logos we already had, we worked with our internal creative team and married the two together,” she said.
The only thing that got left off during the merger was the shield, which Chitwood said was remnant of the university and came into the picture in the early 2000s.
The shield, which was a navy blue and sage green crest with symbols representing a pine tree and mountains, was part of the logo NAU rolled out in 2005. That design, which was the primary logo for 12 years, was part of a $325,000 marketing contract that NAU had with Lipman Hearne.
The athletics logo, introduced in 2014, cost $75,000 to design and launch, and another $80,000 to change out the previous logo with stickers, patches and other methods.
The university's new logo is already on banners throughout the campus, and it should be on the website by the end of the week; however, other areas where the old logo appears might take a little longer to change.
Ott said the new logo would be rolled out throughout the year in an effort to stay budget conscious, as it costs money to change signage and other existing items on campus. The university is now working on a plan for what to change and when.
It’s not only the campuses that will be sporting the new logo.
University Marketing worked all summer to re-brand all NAU campuses in Arizona, the nine on-campus colleges at the main campus in Flagstaff, individual departments, the Cline Library, social media, alumni and events with the new logo, and the department created a style guide that will be available to all university faculty and staff for anything that requires the logo.
So far, both Ott and Chitwood said they’ve only received positive feedback, adding that everyone they've spoken to is excited.
“This feels right,” Ott said of the logo. “It is truly one NAU.”