UNC System has a new logo to represent all 17 campuses

The public university system has a redesigned logo that emphasizes the state of North Carolina and the UNC System’s 17 campuses.

The new look, unveiled Wednesday to the media by UNC President Margaret Spellings, features a medium blue state of North Carolina with “NC” and a white star, similar to the state flag. It also features the words “The University of North Carolina System.”

The new branding kills off the term “general administration,” the old phrase for the UNC System offices. That title, Spellings said, “means nothing to no one.”

“We are the University of North Carolina System,” she said, adding, “that’s important, to call ourselves what we are.”

Spellings described the new look as modern, fresh and clean. It replaces the maroon-and-white logo with a rising sun, which Spellings had once jokingly said looked like the Days Inn trademark. Maroon and white had apparently been chosen originally because none of the 17 campuses used those colors.

Part of the reason for the branding initiative, Spellings said, was to eliminate confusion between the UNC System offices, located in Chapel Hill, and UNC-Chapel Hill. The campus now often refers to itself as “Carolina.”

Spellings said the new logo would also be used to market two system initiatives – NC Promise, a lower tuition program that kicks off this year at Elizabeth City State, UNC Pembroke and Western Carolina, and the UNC Lab Schools, which are public schools established in connection with education schools at some of the campuses.

She said the logo will be a unifying symbol as the university system embarks on a new strategy for extending education to more North Carolinians at an affordable price. The shape of the brand has 17 sides, which denotes the 17 campuses.

“I think we all know that North Carolinians love this university,” Spellings said. “They love the university in their community, but they also appreciate the power, the mighty engine that is the University of North Carolina System.”

On Wednesday morning, Spellings unfurled a tarp covering the new sign in front of the system offices on Raleigh Road in Chapel Hill.

The process to create the new look cost about $250,000, Spellings said. Work has been under way since last April.

The emphasis on the state map is appropriate, Spellings said. The branding campaign includes a tagline for the system: “individually remarkable and collectively extraordinary.”

“We are a big part of the success and prosperity of North Carolina,” she said, “and why we’re a growing and thriving state.”

Jane Stancill: 919-829-4559, @janestancill

Related stories from Raleigh News & Observer