Drexel Rugby Alumni AssociationBrand Identity, Brand Strategy
Following 30 years of Rugby at Drexel University, the club has amassed a strong network of alumni, many of whom still live in the Philadelphia region and still have involvement with the game. But no formal Alumni Association existed to unify communication, team support, and charitable endeavors. After the Association was created as a legal entity, they needed a modern brand identity to communicate in a connected internet world.
The main identifier for the DRAA is a crest. By using a known symbol from Rugby tradition and higher education in general, we establish the Alumni Association as a body with significance, but give it clean lines and modern type to lend approachability and modernity.
Because the Alumni Association is not officially connected to Drexel University, identity materials were barred from containing any University symbols or marks, as well as using the school name within in the new brand name. Instead, the solution references the University’s own crest, as well as Navy & Gold colours, which are not specifically protected.
The simple solution is to make one single logo and call it a day, but anticipating the complex media landscape ahead, I created a system of three logos — or more accurately, two crests and a logo — allowing flexibility at size and integrity across different media formats. The DRAA makes use of a Full Crest, a Simplified Crest, and a traditional Logo with wordmark and symbol, each with specific use cases.
Our quick-and-dirty sizing guide is pictured below, instructing designers and members on when to switch to what Crest or Logo. A man’s fist and a quarter serve as real-world measurement tools.
The Full Crest is the most detailed version of our Crest, and the one to be most celebrated. This arrangement, which differs from the Simplified Crest most obviously by the addition of the banner with founding years, 1986 for Men and 1999 for Women, is used in applications where these details will clearly be seen, and where the entire crest can be reproduced at sufficient size.
For use on a variety of media types and set in different colour arrangements, the Full Crest, along with the Simplified Crest and Logo, are built in full-colour, 2-colour, 1-colour, black, white, and outlines-only versions.
Uses for the Full Crest might include custom-printed Rugby balls, a large graphic print such as a magazine, or a celebrated item like a leather embossed folder. In all cases the Crest is large enough to be examined and enjoyed.
The Simplified Crest is meant to be the most common version, and is used at medium sizes (not too big, not too small). This Simplified Crest can appear smaller than the Full version, while still allowing each element to be identified and for the entire symbol to retain the same brand recognition as its big brother.
The Simplified Crest will likely be the most used, and intended for embroidery on Jerseys and other clothing and merchandise, like a cloth laptop sleeve. Additional products and promotional items, such as a mug, can make use of this Simplified Crest.
The Logo is used at small sizes, where neither version of the Crest will be legible due to the fine details. It may also be used in situations where we need to communicate the name above all, such as alongside other organizations with similar treatments. The Logo consists of an abbreviated Crest symbol and a typographic arrangement of the Association name.
The Logo is used for small items, like pens or money clips. When appearing alongside other logos, the Logo is the best choice, as seen here.
In addition to the two Crests and Logo, an Avatar is available. Built mainly for social media and other online use, it’s a reference to the larger identity and connects to the Crest and name with use of the ball and initials, respectively. Even here, it’s prudent to anticipate the different colour parameters and offer some choice.
Like any good brand identity, the system is more than just a Crest or a logo. To accompany the Crests, we devised a colour system, with highlights and supporting colours for use on the web and in digital applications, as well as type families and usage guidelines.
Developing the Crests required some experimentation. The concept of the shield-with-ball within a ring emerged after research and consideration to the various symbols from Rugby culture more generally, and to Drexel specifically. Even while working with this limited kit of parts, the proportions, colours, shadow effects, and other details took some trial and error. We also experimented with the inclusion of a Latin motto, and its possible placement.
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Photo by Jerome Charles