Our Shared Identity FAQs

What is a brand? How is a brand different to a logo?

Our brand is our shared identity. It highlights what is unique and different about us as a learning institution and as a community of people. It is our ethos. It is how people experience us, whether they be students in the classroom or international research collaborators working with us online, our local community visiting our campus, and it's even our experience working here as staff of the University. It's closely tied to our reputation, or what people say about us. It's the values that inform the way we do things.

Logos, typefaces, colours, and graphical elements are all parts of a brand's visual identity system. They help the organisation represent itself in a cohesive and united way, and should epitomise what the brand is about, but a brand is much more than a logo.  


Why do we need a brand?

Whether we like the terminology or not, Macquarie University is a brand. There is a perception that people have when they hear our name, and it is important for the University's success that this perception is accurately reflected in the reality of people's experience of us.

Our brand helps our prospective students know what they can expect from us when they enrol, it contributes to the value of a Macquarie degree for our students and alumni, it shapes the way we approach our research and learning and teaching. It helps us to talk to those who want to collaborate with us in research as well as attract the best staff to our organisation. In short, the brand reflects our vision and values, giving us a clear, distinctive and cohesive sense of purpose.


What is the Macquarie University brand?

The essence of the University's brand can be described as 'Nurturing people to break free'. This is not a tagline or a phrase that you will see overtly in any marketing communications. It is the essence of what the University is about and it is based on what our staff, students, employers, alumni and community tell us about their experience of the University. Immersed in a nurturing culture, people are encouraged and inspired to break free from conventions, to be the best they can be, and to actively shape the issues defining the future of humanity.

We will express our narrative with an attitude that is generous, open, audacious and engaged with the wider world.

Macquarie University is still a young institution, yet one that has already left a distinctive mark.

In 1964, the pioneers who created this University challenged the educational establishment of the time, and it is this ethos that has been passed down through the generations at Macquarie University: challenge the status quo, be audacious, bold and daring. Macquarie has made its most powerful impact by being a training ground for fully engaged world citizens and community leaders.

The University's nurturing culture has encouraged and inspired students, staff and partners to break free from conventional thinking, and to actively shape the complex issues that define the future of humanity.


Why change the logo?

The launch of the University's new strategic framework in late 2013 was the catalyst for a review of the University's brand. During our Jubilee Year in 2014 the University also reconnected with its history and rediscovered its foundation purpose of offering a different approach to higher education, which was integral to the brand review.

Our brand hasn't changed. Rather, we have rediscovered it, clarified it, and made sense of the identity of the institution. As we have gone through the project, our authentic shared identity has become clear.

Consultation with the University community and its stakeholders found that the University's visual identity, including its logo, needed repositioning in order to capture Macquarie's unique heritage, distinctive traditions and future ambitions in learning and teaching, and research discovery.


Why this design?

There was a widespread view that the current logo didn't symbolise what Macquarie University is, or aspires to be. It was therefore decided to reintroduce the Macquarie Lighthouse, a popular symbol of the University within the University community. Named after Lachlan Macquarie, the fifth Governor of New South Wales, a man noted for his humanitarianism and interest in education, the Macquarie Lighthouse has a long association with the University as part of the University Coat of Arms.

Resonating with the University's founding and development, the lighthouse now serves as a strong metaphor for our future ambition. It is a symbol of the support and encouragement that the University provides to students and staff so they can venture into unknown territories of intellectual enquiry with confidence.


What consultation occurred around the brand project?

At various stages of the project, very helpful input and positive feedback was received through consultation with a range of groups, including 14 Macquarie University leaders, six industry leaders, a representative sample of 24 academic and professional staff, 12 careers counsellors, focus groups with alumni, and current and prospective undergraduate and postgraduate students (both domestic and international).  At the end of each phase of the project, a range of presentations and meetings were held with the University Executive Group, groups of academic and professional staff and students and members of the University Council, to gain feedback and endorsement before proceeding to the next step. The final version of the brand strategy and visual identity was approved by the Vice-Chancellor and University Executive Group in July, and presented to the University Council at its August meeting, receiving full endorsement.


How much will the rebranding cost?

Whilst the project (which ran for almost a year) involved a significant investment of several hundred thousands of dollars, the cost represents less than 0.15% of the University's annual operating budget. The project is of great strategic importance to the University, at a key time in its history, when Macquarie is able to tell its distinctive story to the world. And once completed, no rework will be required for many years.

Additional costs relating to the introduction of the new logo and visual identity system are being kept to a minimum by deliberately launching the brand well ahead of its introduction in January 2015. In this way staff are able to replace many materials in a phased way when they would naturally run out or need to be updated. Additionally, the University's Property division delayed rolling out an already funded major new campus signage project until the brand project was complete. We have also decided to delay the release of the new identity on our website until we are able to introduce it as part of the first round of changes to be delivered by the Web Transformation project in February 2015 to ensure that we don't incur additional costs.


Will other logos be allowed?

The Shared Identity project has, for the first time, mapped the entire Macquarie University brand architecture - including the relationship of the University's brand with our controlled entities, as well as the learning and teaching, research, and student spaces (Campus Life as well as the Student Advisory Board and student organisations) and affiliated entities.

The basic premise of this architecture, which allows the University to grow and develop over time within a clear framework, is to strengthen the University's master brand. Our previous approach with its myriad of secondary and co-branded logos provided too much confusion and fragmentation.

Under our refreshed identity, there is only one brand and one logo and that is for Macquarie University. All faculties, departments, research centres and controlled entities will sit under this logo with no separate or co-branded logo devices.

A Brand and Marketing Council chaired by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Engagement and Advancement) will form part of the governance structure for the ongoing enhancement of the Macquarie brand, and will be supported by policy and procedure.

Centres in which Macquarie is a collaborator with other organisations will naturally be able to have their own logo given they represent many institutions. Any questions relating to this should be directed to the Director of Marketing.


What wastage will there be? What will become of all the unused materials carrying the old brand?

As much as possible, we encourage staff to allow stocks to run out before replacing them in the new visual identity. We are also being supported by the University's Sustainability Office to ensure reuse and recycling of materials wherever feasible. We do, however, expect that the new visual identity will be fully implemented across the University by 30 June 2015.


When will I be able to use the new logo and visual identity?

The new visual identity will be introduced from 15 January 2015, with implementation training for staff to follow from late October 2014. Much work is being done to ensure the transition is managed carefully and to minimise confusion from prospective students at a key point in their decision making. We intend to minimise the duration of the transition period as much as possible.


Will there be brand guidelines to support this?

There will be a comprehensive Brand Manual to support the introduction of the new branding as well as a series of templates for commonly used material.

The Manual will include the visual elements of the new brand, as well as helpful information on how to present information using the new tone of voice and language to support the University's brand essence.

Prior to its release online, staff who will be producing materials ready for launch in January will be given access to the Manual via the training sessions in October.

Will the colours be changing?

After significant consideration it was decided to retain the use of a predominately red colour palette with the addition of purple and magenta to add vibrancy. Red has been a dominant feature of the Macquarie visual identity for over a decade and research suggested that there is strong association amongst our key constituents with these colours. The palette is also unique amongst our Sydney competitors and the University saw an opportunity to consolidate the use of these colours to build further recognition in what is currently a distinctive colour selection.


Will the current Coat of Arms remain?

The current Coat of Arms and the original Macquarie University crest are enshrined in our legislation and will remain unchanged. They will be used in a very limited number of formal communications.


Will the motto, 'And gladly teche' remain?

The current the motto, 'And gladly teche' will remain unchanged and be used in a number of formal communications.


Will the connection with the Sirius star remain?

Yes, the Sirius star is a design feature of the new brandmark and can be seen alongside the lighthouse.