Announced in September of 2010, Vision & Tradition: The Campaign for Texas Tech set out to transform the Texas Tech University System by raising a billion dollars for its universities. Crafting a brand identity that acknowledged the institution’s past and celebrated the campaign’s potential required delving into the rich visual history of its flagship institution.
As the first building constructed on campus, the Administration Building has defined the visual language of Texas Tech. Its ornate carvings inspired by the plateresque movement of the Spanish Renaissance defined the campus’ iconic architecture. Its architect designed the university’s seal.
The building is also integral to daily life on campus. Thousands of students make their way to class each day by passing through the central arch of its sally port. Its domed bell towers house a carillon that plays during class changes and the Victory Bells that ring in celebrating of the university’s greatest achievements.
Because the Administration Building is central to the story and traditions of Texas Tech, we looked to it to once again define a visual style for what would become the university system’s boldest undertaking. Above the arched sally port, etched into the masonry of the building’s facade, we found inspiration. Carved typography and scrollwork became the central visual elements of the campaign identity.
Bitstream Charter, a serif typeface designed by Matthew Carter, was already in use in the Texas Tech University System’s corporate identity system. Its ample stroke widths and simplified structure echoed the character of the edifice's chiseled letterforms. We selected it as the foundational typeface of the design system.
The circuitous scrollwork sculpted in relief recalled the organic exuberance of an ampersand designed by Jonathan Hoefler for his old-style serif typeface Hoefler Text. For this design, an alternate, engraved variant of the ampersand echoed the masonry work and complimented the dimensionality of Texas Tech’s Double T logo. Coloring the ampersand in Texas Tech’s school colors of scarlet and black cemented the link between the iconic Double T and the graphic element of the campaign’s identity.
Uniting the typeset campaign name with the spirited ampersand created a mark that celebrated the incredible potential of this campaign while remaining firmly grounded in the institution’s rich history.
Because the campaign logo was built with the same typography and color palette of the organization’s corporate identity system, the campaign identity instantly felt as if it shared the visual DNA of the organization. This created a sense of momentum around the logo, as if it was the singular choice that could have been made for this moment.
To further develop the visual language of the brand, we once again looked to the past. Working with the university archivist, we poured over old yearbooks and documents from the time of the university’s charter. To further imbue the brand’s sense of history, we also looked to traditional documents, publications and type specimens from around the time of the United States’ founding. Common typographic elements including drop caps, small caps and letter spacing were combined with design elements such as borders, ornaments and center-aligned compositions.
While we printed on white paper stocks to ensure the vividness of our photography, archive documents that had yellowed with age inspired us to use ivory backgrounds and vellum accents. Campaign collateral was printed on uncoated paper to give a more muted finish that echoed classic bookbinding materials and contrasted with the omnipresent matte finishes of other campus collateral.
Archive photos of iconic campus buildings, moments and traditions were often paired with present day imagery to reinforce the longevity of the institution and build confidence in the campaign. These archive photos were color graded to achieve a more uniform look and created a stark and engaging contrast with contemporary photographs of university life.
These elements of typography, design and photography were applied creatively and consistently across a wide range of marketing collateral used throughout the campaign’s public phase.
By honoring the rich visual history of the institution and integrating classical design elements, we created a brand identity that distinguished the campaign and remained true to the Texas Tech University System’s brand. By implementing a fresh and modern take on historic visual themes, the campaign identity embraced its heritage while maintaining a fresh eye to the possibility of the future.
Throughout the three years of the campaign’s public phase, the campaign brand provided an extensible and adaptable platform for responding to a range of branding and design requests. At the same time, unique elements of the brand differentiated the materials across the organization.
The brand system for Vision & Tradition: The Campaign for Texas Tech successfully delivered on the campaign’s dual goals of honoring the past and preparing for a future transformed through philanthropic giving. The fundraising effort was equally successful, surpassing its billion-dollar goal almost a year ahead of schedule and raising a total of $1.069 billion by its conclusion on August 31, 2013. It remains the Texas Tech University System’s largest fundraising campaign.