What's in a brand? ...and why does it matter?
Brand means different things to different people. For some it’s simply a name or color or logo. But for others, it’s a mission, a promise or principles.
Our name and reputation is known across the globe, and those three letters — UAB — carry the weight of the institution with them wherever they go. But our brand is more than a logo or website. Our brand is our reputation — built on keeping the promise we make to the students, employees and communities that support and rely on us.
Where does it come from?Each interaction contributes to the perception of who we are as a university, medical center and corporate citizen, our commitment to fulfilling our mission and why we are important to the fabric of our community. It includes the emotional connection people make with us, and it is communicated in everything we say and do.
What is branding?Branding refers to the strategy, planning and execution to ensure everything we say and do reflects our mission, vision and strategic priorities — and is perceived by our audience in the way we intend.
Why brand our university?UAB is a large, complex and decentralized institution; these traits that help make us powerful and effective can be confusing or intimidating for people inside and outside these walls. A branding strategy simplifies our efforts to explain who we are and why we matter and offers several advantages:
Brand standards, applied in a consistent and thoughtful manner in all internal and external communications, raise the visibility of all university entities.
Improved recognition of our value
Greater visibility enables us to speak to each facet of our mission and share how we change the world through the power of knowledge, the promise of creativity and the impact of discovery. This is our story to tell.
Attract like minds
A clear sense of who we are, what we do and why it matters helps attract students, faculty, staff, donors, partners and advocates who share our mission, vision and goals and strengthens our university.
Who is responsible for branding our university?Everyone. Though the Office of Public Relations and Marketing is responsible for managing and maintaining our brand, it is the responsibility of the entire university community to implement, support and promote it. Everyone is a brand ambassador.
The email signature is a vital tool in presenting UAB as a unified brand, and consistency supports our message.
It should be formatted using Calibri or an approved font. The font size should not be larger than 12pt. The name and title can be green (R-30 G-107 B-82 or #1E6B52 in hexidecimal) or black. All other information should be black. Phone and email options can be changed as necessary to your preferred contact method (P-phone, O-office, M-mobile, F-fax, etc.) The tagline should always appear under the contact information with a UAB website address.
The UAB logo or images should not be included in the signature.
NOTE: See Addresses in the Writing style guide for the appropriate ZIP code for your unit.
Suggested signatures are provided in RTF format below. Download your choice(s) and open in a text editor on your computer. Windows users can use Notepad or equivalent. Mac users should use TextEdit. Then simply enter your information in the layout provided. When you're finished, copy and paste into your email program's "Signatures" preference.
Outlook for Windows users can find more information here.
Outlook for Mac users can find information here.
Download the RTF of the Standard version: standard_sig.rtf
Download the RTF of the Abbreviated version: abbrev_sig.rtf
Typefaces do more than spell words. Used consistently, they become images or symbols for our brand and demonstrate its essence.
UAB websites use two fonts: Arimo (the type you're currently reading) and Fjalla One (used in headlines like the words "Brand Toolkit" above). They are sourced from Google with an SIL Open Font License (OFL).
The UAB logo uses the Avenir font. Many computers already have a version of this font installed. But please bear in mind that all logos, wordmarks, taglines and anything else that is presented near the UAB monogram, should be created by the Office of Public Relations and Marketing. You can request logos here.
However, if you'd like to produce other materials that use the Avenir font and you do not currently have access to this font on your computer, you can purchase the typefaces directly from Adobe:
Avenir Std Book
Avenir Std Heavy
These fonts carry license agreements just like any other software. As such, they cannot simply be made available for download on this site.
Other fonts suggested for use are Garamond, Calibri, and Gabriola. These fonts are available to users of Microsoft Office on both Windows and Macintosh. See examples below:
Letter from the President
We are implementing a unified brand for UAB and UAB Medicine so we may provide consistent messaging about the university and medical center through all forms of media and outreach.
Our new tagline — Knowledge that will change your world — captures the very DNA of UAB and speaks equally to each facet of our mission:
- Education of diverse students in a multidisciplinary environment;
- Pursuit of research and the creation of knowledge;
- Delivery of the best and most advanced patient care in our clinics, hospitals and clinical trials;
- Service to the local and world communities — from free health care to the transformational experience of the arts; and
- A commitment to economic development that improves health, quality of life and prosperity in Birmingham and Alabama.
The importance of having a clear, recognizable brand cannot be overstated. In an environment as complex and decentralized as UAB, a brand will help unify, simplify and define us. It also will help elevate our profile with the greater public as we communicate our relevance and value.
As we work together to become one of the nation’s most dynamic and productive universities, we must share our aims and accomplishments with the world around us. UAB disseminates thousands of messages every day, and each one represents an opportunity to enhance — or fragment — our image. By maintaining consistent standards, we can capitalize on this enormous volume of communication and present UAB to the world as a multifaceted institution with a shared mission.
UAB’s Office of University Relations and the UAB Health System Office of Marketing have created a wealth of resources, as guidelines or downloads, to help you understand and demonstrate the ways in which your schools, units and programs exemplify Knowledge that will change your world.
Thank you for your support of this ambitious venture and for all you do on a daily basis for UAB.
With best wishes,
Ray L. Watts, M.D.
Knowledge that will change your world
Visionary leadership that nurtured a nascent medical center in the 1940s formed the pillars for the internationally acclaimed research university it would become: Dream big. Dare to cross boundaries. Be relentless in pursuit of knowledge. Use it to change destinies.
Though born a bootstrap organization, we cobbled resources together to respond to historic and emerging needs. We thrived on teamwork, an entrepreneurial spirit and insistence the brightest minds are lit by the torch of discovery. And we remain steadfast in our belief that knowledge does the world little service until it becomes a source of hope, the backbone of will or a hand of opportunity.
The ideas that seemed crazy at the time have brought us to this place: the center of the city’s renaissance, the head of world efforts to cure disease and among the bold few to carry their ideas to the heavens.
But there’s no resting on laurels when you’re on a quest for the edge of uncertainty and knowledge that will change your world.
In a word:
Where does it come from?
Knowledge that will change your world comes from a spirit of wonder and discovery that is unfettered by fear of failure. It arises from keen observance with compassionate eyes and competitive minds. It is forged with ingenuity and resourcefulness. You will know it by its companions, vitality and elegance.
What does it look like?
You’ll recognize knowledge that will change the world by its culture of innovation and collaboration, driven by social responsibility and entrepreneurial principles. It is the tangible evidence of vigilance and enthusiasm at work in the world.
How does it change your world?
Writing style guide
This condensed UAB Guide to Style and Design provides guidelines and examples to help maintain consistency in written materials produced throughout UAB. It is based on three common style guides: the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook, The Chicago Manual of Style and the American Medical Association (AMA) stylebook.
Photos and media releases
The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and the UAB Health System and its entities require authorization and release forms for use when students, faculty, staff, patients and/or others are photographed or recorded in an individual or small-group setting to be be used for the purpose of media, marketing, development and/or customer service.
Institutionally approved forms are below; modification of the forms is not permitted except by authorized parties. There are two categories of forms to choose from: 1) Health care; and 2) Non health care. It is the responsibility of the department to keep the signed forms on file, normally for a period of 36 months.
Please select one of the health-care forms found in “UAB Standard for Photographing Patients.”
Attachment A – “Consent to Photograph, Videotape, Audiotape and/or Film.” This form should be used by the physicians/staff when they want to record in any way for educational/treatment purposes. This form should never apply to internal or external media.
Attachment B – “UABHS Authorization for Use/Disclosure of Information.” This form should be used when the intent is to disclose patient health information to the public for purposes of marketing/fundraising/etc. It should be used by internal and external media when patients are being photographed/filmed/otherwise documented for purposes of advertisements, Web testimonials, etc.
The “Media Release Form” should be used for all non-health-care situations in which UAB faculty, staff, students or others are involved.
- A consistent look and feel
- Logical and consistent navigation
- Content that is relevant, organized and up-to-date
To help achieve that, the university provides free, content-ready websites to all eligible entities.
- Choose from multiple themes and exercise your creativity and individuality within UAB brand standards.
- Customize your site to meet your specific communications goals.
- More information is available in the UAB Web Toolkit or email your question to us.
To be included on the UAB Medicine website, contact Health System Marketing.
Video and broadcast media
UAB should be identified clearly in video produced for training, news and promotional purposes:
An approved UAB logo, wordmark and tagline must be conspicuously placed in the video, preferably at the beginning and the end.
Specific versions of the equal opportunity policy and sexual harassment statements must be included in all video produced for UAB employees and students. See "EEO Statement" entry in the writing style guide.
UAB's Creative and Marketing Group should review your promotional video and broadcast work to ensure it follows official guidelines; email firstname.lastname@example.org.