New Year Brings New Branding for Texas Exes

 

In the early hours of Jan. 1, the Texas Exes unveiled a new look. New Year’s revelers may have noticed the change if they were checking Facebook or Twitter—or if they were one of the 15 people who logged onto our website and joined the Association on the first day of 2013 (getting the year started off right!).

But for those who haven’t seen it yet, here is our new, updated Texas Exes logo.

The new logo builds on the Texas Exes’ distinctive look using the horseshoe TEX and signature burnt orange, and those elements create a strong connection to the Association’s heritage,” says Dave Shaw. “At the same time, the redesign is contemporary and inviting to a new generation of Texas Exes.

Before we get too deep into the details of the new mark, let me share with you how this change came about. Over the past year and a half, the Texas Exes has done some major self-reflection. Relying on the wise counsel of our volunteer leadership, university leadership, constituent groups, and the expertise of our staff, we completed an extensive strategic plan. We developed new purpose and vision statements, identified our key values, and set strategic priorities for the next few years. The intent was to re-examine who we are and why we exist as an organization, to reaffirm our core reason for being, and then to let that process guide what we would do and how we would invest our time and resources.

While we arrived at some new activities to implement, our core purpose is essentially the same as it was when were founded 128 years ago, although we want to state it with even more vigor than before: we exist to be an independent voice that champions The University of Texas at Austin and organizes alumni and friends into a formidable network to change the world. Our vision is to be recognized as indispensable to our alma mater, to connect and engage supporters of the University so that together we can support UT as it strives to be known worldwide as an institution of the first class.

Having gone through that process of self-reflection, we began looking at how we present ourselves to our members, to alumni, and to the general public. What we quickly found was that we were missing an opportunity to be crystal clear about who we are and what we do. We had as many logos as we did initiatives, and many of our programs, events, and chapters had their own distinct visual identities. The result was that people weren’t associating Texas Exes with all that it did, which of course made it hard to argue that we were being recognized as indispensable.

So this summer, we brought in Austin-based Arsenal Advertising + Public Relations to conduct a 360-degree audit of the Texas Exes brand. They conducted dozens of interviews, ran surveys, and spent hours poring through brochures, old Alcaldes, and other printed materials. What they found was largely encouraging—that while there was brand confusion, awareness of Texas Exes is high and favorable. The University community and alumni generally want to affiliate with the alumni association and for it to succeed.

Toward the end of the process, Arsenal turned its attention toward building a schema that could help us unify and improve our visual identity so that it matched our strategic ambition. The goal was to honor the traditions of our long and storied history while creating a clean and compelling structure for the future. “The new logo builds on the Texas Exes’ distinctive look using the horseshoe TEX and signature burnt orange, and those elements create a strong connection to the Association’s heritage,” says Dave Shaw, BS ’92, Life Member, who led the brand audit. “At the same time, the redesign is contemporary and inviting to a new generation of Texas Exes.”

Now, back to those details. The horseshoe is easier to see now when it is made smaller. The typeface is custom-designed for us and updated for improved legibility. And while the spirit of our battle cry lives on in the hearts of so many, we removed the tagline of “‘Til Gabriel Blows His Horn” to allow the chapter identification to be cleanly and tightly integrated into the brand. We’ve also implemented a brand hierarchy that will stop the proliferation of logos and improve brand identity. These changes are more than just aesthetic. They are informed by our priorities to be more focused and relevant to the University and its alumni than ever, to improve the student experience, to communicate the value of UT, and to advocate on its behalf.

Over the next several weeks and months, we will be rebuilding the Texas Exes visual identity around this new logo. All Texas Exes Life Members will be receiving a sheet with new car decals. Be sure to slap one on! Our goal is for people to know exactly who we are and what we stand for every time they see the Texas Exes logo wherever it is around the world.

Happy New Year, and Hook ‘em!

 

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