Refreshing Our Visual Brand to Align with Our Mission
The Georgia Institute of Technology has revealed a new system of logos and visuals, unifying the community around a singular, widely recognized icon — the interlocking GT.
Over the past four decades, the interlocking GT has represented one aspect of the Institute -- the competitive spirit of Georgia Tech athletics. As a result, the symbol is highly recognizable for parents, prospective students, and peer institutions. The same interlocking GT will now serve to celebrate our entire dynamic community of students, alumni, faculty, researchers, and staff.
The interlocking GT logo is paired with newly designed wordmarks for the Institute and complemented by an evolved illustration of the Seal — the Institute's most formal, longstanding mark. The new version of the Seal retains the core elements of the shield, bearing the state symbol, the eternal flame symbolizing knowledge, and the gearwheel of technology. Our unwavering commitment to Progress and Service is presented more prominently and legibly than ever before. Campus audiences have expressed interest in expanded use of the updated Seal for academic and research communications, and the brand style guide includes examples of opportunities for that formal brand expression.
Both refreshed symbols are true to the white and gold colors that have been part of Tech's identity since 1891, while officially presenting navy blue as a primary contrast color.
The refreshed visual identity was developed to closely align with the Institute's 10-year strategic plan, launched in 2020, that lays out a mission to develop leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition. The entire visual identity package that includes photography and design guidelines in addition to the new set of Institute wordmarks, has been created to reflect Georgia Tech’s core values focused on students, diversity, and innovation.
"Like our strategic plan, we wanted to ensure our new visual identity reflected the varied voices and perspectives of this community. With thousands of insights collected, we believe our new look will best match our bold steps forward — with people, the members of this community, and our mission at the center of it all," said President Ángel Cabrera during his official unveiling at the Institute Address on Sept. 2.
Having served us well for 25 years, the graphic symbol for the Kessler Campanile spire will be retired as part of the primary Institute logo in this visual identity refresh but will still be represented widely through imagery. Buzz and the Ramblin' Wreck remain unchanged as the iconic, spirited mascots that have represented Georgia Tech for decades.
Visual Identity Refresh Effort
Building on the foundation of the Institute strategic plan, the visual identity brand refresh was accomplished by an in-house collective of campus brand stewards, including designers, communicators, and staff members from the academic units and operational divisions of the Institute with additional guidance from an outside branding firm.
The group began the design process with a deep dive into Georgia Tech's visual history, and review of alumni and audience surveys, market research data from Institute Communications, and input gathered during the appreciative inquiry portion of the strategic planning process. Next, they hired Atlanta-based brand agency Matchstic to provide an outside perspective of Georgia Tech's position among competing university brands and recommendations for the in-house creative team. An April 2021 survey of campus audiences and alumni affirmed broad recognition of the interlocking GT as a symbol for the entire Institute. The creative team worked from May to July 2021 to develop fresh concepts around the shared symbol.
The collective sought ongoing feedback from an advisory group including representatives from the undergraduate and graduate student bodies, faculty, administrators, support staff, and communications and marketing professionals. This advisory group helped shape the overall creative direction, resolved differences in perspectives, and reviewed plans for implementation.
Additionally, the working group socialized new concepts with key groups of people across campus throughout the summer to gather input and incorporate ideas into the refreshed branding system. Matchstic continued to guide and weigh in throughout the socialization process as well.
A tiered output and implementation plan will guide rollout of the refreshed brand identity, with the Institute's sustainability goals in mind.
There will be an immediate change in key Institute digital and social presences as seen on websites, digital signage, and social properties, and supporting templates for unit implementation will be available beginning at launch. Colleges, public-facing campus units, and executive offices will receive updated logo sets and assets at launch to reflect the refreshed visual identity on appropriate unit expressions. Schools, interdisciplinary research units, and Institute programs will receive logos within a month after launch, and sets for other campus units, research centers, and labs will begin delivery in October. Business cards and stationery incorporating the refreshed visual identity will be available for order within the month following launch.
A brand refresh of marketing materials, such as collateral and outdoor advertising, will follow a tiered approach. Signage and brand opportunities on the physical campus will be refreshed throughout 2021-2022. Rollout details and FAQs will be updated at brand.gatech.edu/refresh.
Institute Communications will serve as the central brand management organization for campus, supporting consistent application across digital and physical media. The visual identity refresh launch is just the beginning of the journey for our visual brand.