Northwestern unveils new visual identity system

Northwestern College has developed a new logo and wordmark to represent the college on publications, letterhead, the website, and throughout the campus. The new visual identity system was unveiled at an event for faculty, staff and students Aug. 18.

A key component of the visual identity system is a wordmark, which features the name of Northwestern College in a stylized typographic design that includes a cross. The same cross joins an “N” and a “W” in the new logo, which has some similarity to the previous logo that had been in use since the late 1960s.

“The new logo is not a radical departure from the previous one; it will seem familiar to alumni and friends of the college while utilizing a typeface that is much more timeless,” says Duane Beeson, director of public relations. “The wordmark complements the new logo and will actually be used more often, helping us to present a consistent visual message every time we say ‘Northwestern College.’”

Beeson and 12 other members of the Visual Identity Committee—comprised of faculty, staff, alumni and a student—began meeting in February 2004. The group reviewed Northwestern’s visual communication efforts, which included a variety of logos and numerous typefaces; conducted a position study that analyzed the relationship between Northwestern and its constituencies; and developed a positioning statement to guide the artistic process of developing a new visual identity.

John Vander Stelt of Maurice, an artist who graduated from Northwestern in 1983, designed the new logo and wordmark. Inspired by the college’s historic motto of “God is light,” he developed a cross for the visual identity system that is reminiscent of a star.

“The new look continues the overt visual representation of Northwestern as a Christian college, which is important to us,” says Dr. Bruce Murphy, president. “In the wordmark, the cross extends into the word ‘college,’ illustrating how the Christian perspective permeates all aspects of the Northwestern College experience. The design is elegant, and we feel that it visually represents the quality of Northwestern today.”