President Hanlon has named Cornell’s PR head, Thomas Bruce, to a similar position at Dartmouth (Dartmouth Now, via The Dartmouth). The Dartmouth reports that Bruce “oversaw the redesign of the university’s logo” at Cornell.
Indeed, Cornell’s massive “Brand Book” covers everything, from the essence of the Cornell brand (our brand “speaks to the satisfaction and emotional connection we provide to our stakeholders”) to the proper use of the logo — with the obligatory gallery of misuse. Cornell modestly uses Palatino as its primary typeface, gives the proper abbreviation of its motto (“… any person … any study.”), and specifies the correct shade of red.
[Update 10.05.2013: It appears that Cornell’s identity project was done by Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv. That firm is the same one that nicely simplified the Brown University coat of arms and replaced the busy seal of the Harvard University Press with a simple design appropriate for book spines. Also in the firm’s portfolio are logos for such obscure brands as the Smithsonian Institution, NBC, National Geographic, the U.S. Bicentennial, and PBS.
And hey, look at this: the firm recently proposed three new logos for UNH (Manchester Union Leader). The school is still deciding which one to use. Of the three alternative directions, the middle one seems the most appealing: it has the uniform solidity of a railroad herald — or maybe it can’t avoid recalling Herbert Matter‘s work for the New Haven Railroad.
Some of the push for branding at Cornell came from a student-run image committee, as a 2006 New York Times article explains:
But when committee members first approached administrators to talk about their concerns'” including what they saw as the university’s passive response to a slight drop in some ranking guides'” they met with resistance.
That changed three years ago, they said, with the arrival of a new president, Jeffrey S. Lehman, and the subsequent appointment of Mr. Bruce, who took their critique seriously, particularly their thoughts about the so-called view book for potential applicants and about the Web site.
Dartmouth had a similar student group around that time, called Buzzflood (The Dartmouth). Founder David Gardner describes it as “an organization that aggregated, created, and spread positive community news” (Gardner’s ColorJar bio). The Buzzflood website had received three million hits by 2005 (PRWeb) but it folded that year (The Dartmouth).]