Frequently Asked Questions:
UTMB’s Bold New Brand

August 20, 2010

Why do we need a new brand now?

Based on market research conducted by an experienced agency, UTMB needs a contemporary, memorable brand that reflects the revitalization and excellence that defines our university today. We need a brand that:

  • Differentiates us from peer institutions, particularly now when competition for students, faculty, staff and patients is increasingly fierce
  • Will serve us well for years to come as we rebuild our campus and expand our presence across the state
  • Positions us for success as we prepare for an extremely important legislative session and begin the largest philanthropic effort in university history
  • Conveys that everything we do (education, research, patient care, institutional support) is focused on a single mission: improving health

How did the rebranding process begin?

In early 2008, we engaged The Richards Group (of “Making Cancer History” fame) to conduct a series of branding exercises and interviews. Over the past three years, they’ve met with more than 500 people inside and outside of UTMB (pre- and post-Ike) to help determine what our external constituents think of us and what we think of ourselves.

Why The Richards Group?

UTMB has been working with The Richards Group over the past three years to develop a new brand identity that reflects the spirit of revitalization, progress and bold thinking our university is experiencing. We undertook this endeavor carefully and purposefully. This is only the third time in its almost 120-year history that UTMB has considered changing its public mark. So, we wanted to be sure the partner we chose was one familiar with our institution, with the communities we serve, and with Texas, and that it have a track record of success in helping complex organizations create a strong brand identity. The Richards Group met all criteria.

Why “UTMB Health”?

The Richards Group suggested “UTMB Health” because:

  • Post-Ike, the four letters U-T-M-B had more “brand equity” than ever before; however, much of that “equity” derived from awareness of the damage our university suffered from the storm
  • Keeping the four letters “UTMB” can help build upon that heightened regional and statewide awareness. “Health” is a simple description of our mission, whatever our role at UTMB may be
  • “UTMB Health” is therefore a strong, over-arching brand that best depicts what our people do every day to better the health of our state, nation and the world
It’s important to note that “The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston” will remain our official name to help preserve our bond with donors, alumni, friends and the Galveston community.

Why change our colors?

Our new logo features a red box that serves as a “bulls-eye” for the reader’s attention. This new, warmer red (Pantone Matching System 1788C) draws the eye to it and is more reflective of the bold but caring and compassionate organization we are. This color is unique among other UT health institutions and competitors. Owing to our nearly 120-year history with UT System, the new color features more orange when compared to our current red, while remaining a distinctive color among other universities in the System. The brand descriptor “Health” is displayed in a contrasting cool gray (Pantone Matching System Cool Gray 10). The blue in the former logo is a color used by many large corporations (e.g., IBM, Reliant Energy, AT&T) and is often perceived as high-tech vs. high-touch.

Why not use “burnt orange” like UT Austin?

“Burnt orange” (or “football orange”) is the color of UT Austin’s athletics program, not of The University of Texas System. The orange in the official UT System seal is bright orange. While both of these colors are used by other UT institutions and while the new red is a step or two closer to orange than the red in our former “lone star” logo, we agree with The Richards Group that UTMB is better served by a bolder color that differentiates us from other health organizations.

Why does the new logo feature lower case letters?

The lowercase type of the letters “U-T-M-B” imbues the mark with personality; it allows the letters to stand on their own (almost as if they are a word) without dominating the logo. It’s also seen as more progressive and a way to create a sense of friendliness and approachability. Strength and confidence are conveyed through the boldness of the type, while the italic styling and off-center approach add a sense of motion to the mark. This communicates visually that we are forward-thinking, never stopping, always searching for the next idea.

Will there be standards and guidelines on how this new mark is to be used?

Yes, we are working with The Richards Group to complete an online visual identity system for everything from signage to stationery and apparel to email signatures. We’re also developing standards on how to convey our new Texas Medical Center affiliation and how our new logo should be displayed in relation to other logos. We appreciate your patience as we finalize the site and move it into production.

How can I obtain the new logo and when can I begin using it?

A new brand identity web site (which will include logo guidelines, templates and downloads) is currently under construction. We anticipate having it ready in time for the formal brand launch celebration in September. In the meantime, please contact the Brand Management Team if you have a specific project or logo request.

When will the new brand identity web site be ready?

The site should be ready in time for the formal brand launch celebration in September.

How will the new logo be used on stationery?

Our new stationery has been redesigned to be crisp, clean and professional and to convey a sense of the university’s vitality and progressive spirit. The university’s name (The University of Texas Medical Branch) is featured on each piece of stationery, along with our new affiliation with the Texas Medical Center.

Can the UTMB seal still be used? If so, how?

Yes, the UTMB seal remains an important, historical mark for our university. As always, its use should be reserved for formal occasions and on official institutional documents (such as diplomas and invitations) from university leadership.

The UT Health Science Center at Houston also has a new logo. Will ours be confused with theirs?

We don’t think so. While there are similarities (primarily the word “Health” in the name), a side-by-side comparison shows that the two marks are very different.

What was the thinking behind the new tagline “Working Together to Work Wonders”?

We considered several options. However, one of the strongest attributes of UTMB — and what sets us apart from other universities—is our spirit of collaboration. That passion drives everything we do here, and we are working wonders because of that culture of collaboration. This is a powerful, memorable approach to marketing that will resonate well with the people and communities we serve now and in the future through our missions of education, research and patient care.