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brand expression

Our creative philosophy

We are a stronger, more identifiable brand when our communications feel verbally and visually cohesive. But we also want our brand to be relatable, unique, and capable of resonating with our many different audience segments. 

That’s why our philosophy of brand expression makes room for both.

Once you know yourself, you can be yourself

With a clearly articulated foundation and a core brand in place, we have more room to play. Brand expression allows marketers and communicators to feel comfortable enough to be expressive.

This is part of a natural evolution for the IU brand—one that both streamlines existing elements and creates more freedom for sub-brands to tell IU’s powerful stories. It elevates our individual and collective marketing efforts, and allows us to better connect with our audiences.

The ethos of brand expression

These are the central beliefs that guide our approach to brand expression. Consider these ideas as you work through the process of creation to help ensure a richer experience for your constituents.

  1. Bring truth to light

    Every good story is rooted in truth—even fiction.

    Think of truth as the heart of our story, and light as how we reveal our truth. Our university is full of extraordinary truths. It is our mission to discover these truths and shine a light on them in order to share them with the world. And to do so in a heartfelt way that honors their importance.

  2. Use a range of expression

    We tell a diverse range of stories to a variety of populations. And we do so using different media vehicles. Most of the time, what’s right for a student-centric social post isn’t what’s right for a print piece reaching academic leaders across the country.

    To meet diverse communications needs, we employ a wide range of expression. This means ranging our visuals fromfunctional to expressive, and varying our tone from formal to informal

    Explore our range of expression

  3. Keep storytelling central

    How we tell our stories matters most of all. It’s what determines whether or not our story is heard, seen, felt, or believed. This makes it incumbent upon all of us to find the right place and form through which to share each narrative, so we can reach the people we want in a way that resonates.

  4. Visual and verbal languages play together

    Although there are pieces of marketing communications that are exclusively art (a standalone photograph or poster with no words) or exclusively copy (a radio spot or SMS text), the overwhelming majority of our communications embody the fusion of both verbal and nonverbal components

    Our audience doesn’t experience these elements as separate pieces—they experience them as a whole. So, as creators, it’s important to think about how these two components work together in harmony, complementing each other to create a stronger, more unified piece.

Considerations, not constraints

The elements of brand expression are intended to help. What they’re not meant to do? Hover over your work or hinder your creative process.

Although there are some things we don’t want to leave open to interpretation—like the trident—you should feel free to use the resources and information about brand expression to your advantage, in a way that works for each unique project.

Brand expression: the essentials

Now that you’ve got a better understanding of IU’s philosophy of brand expression, it’s time to learn more about putting theory into practice.

  • Visual language

    Discover our fundamental design elements. Here, you can learn about typography, composition, photography, graphics, and more.

  • Verbal language

    Get acquainted with IU’s brand voice, personality, and tone. Find best writing practices for different media, become an expert at messaging strategy, and get access to important style guides.