Brand Essentials

Learn what our Illinois brand is — and how a unified and effectively communicated brand can further our university mission.

What is a brand?

Sometimes people confuse a logo or a product for a brand. But a brand is actually an intangible framing concept that helps people recognize and identify with a particular organization, product, service or person. Brands are built on perceptions, emotions and experiences, and can be powerful motivators.

Brands are multidimensional and include a visual identity, positioning, voice and more. Strong brands present an authentic, clear, consistent and unified face to the world.

That’s why it’s critical that we all follow the brand guidelines.

Our brand communicates who we are.

Our brand reveals our heart, our essence, to the world. It tells people who we are and what we are passionate about.

Our brand communicates the culture and ethos and values of our university. It both reflects and shapes that ethos. 

Our brand distinguishes us from others. It reflects our reality, our unique story. It creates a singular narrative that connects our past to our present and points to our future, showing a unity of purpose throughout.

We communicate our brand in everything we say and do.

The Power of a Brand

The higher education marketplace has never been more competitive — which means a clear and powerful brand is more important than ever.

Our master brand can help us:

  • Amplify our message for greater impact.
  • Attract and retain top students, faculty and staff.
  • Connect with donors, alumni, business leaders, corporate sponsors, foundations,
    recruiters and more.
  • Stand out from our competitors.
  • Communicate a clear and unified narrative of who we are.
  • Inspire pride in what it means to be part of the Illinois family.

The Illinois Brand

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the colleges, schools, institutes and other units within it make us who we are and speak to numerous audiences around the world every day. Fundamentally, when we talk about our brand, we are talking about what these audiences think and feel about the university when they see our name and experience our content.

Research articles, news releases, websites, brochures, social media posts, campus tours, speeches, athletic events and other vehicles all play important roles in shaping the perception of our university and building our brand. As a result, branding is a shared responsibility involving students, staff, faculty and administrators.

The Illinois mission

The Illinois brand is rooted in our core mission: “To enhance the lives of people in Illinois, across the nation and around the world through our leadership in learning, discovery, engagement and economic development.”

The Illinois brand promise

From this mission, we make this our brand promise: “To provide limitless opportunities for anyone driven to pursue their impossible.”

Because at Illinois, we believe nothing is impossible. We truly believe that if something has yet to be achieved, it is just because it hasn’t yet met the right opportunity. And that is why we are here: to provide those opportunities for students, faculty, alumni and partners from all fields to transform their impossible into not only possible, but reality.