Union College is launching a refreshed brand featuring a new logo and tagline. These changes in the college’s visual identity and messaging are derived from a larger initiative to enact the college’s vision which focuses on personal mentorship to help students dig deeper—connecting faith and career for lifelong fulfillment.
Creating this brand started in 2016 when Union began the process of updating its mission statement and creating a vision narrative to set the direction of the college. After 18 months of work and input from across Union’s many stakeholders, the Board of Trustees approved the current mission and vision. The college ultimately partnered with Stamats, Inc., a national higher education marketing firm based in Iowa, to shape a distinct brand message and visual identity to align with this mission and vision.
“Union College is fully focused on helping students succeed,” said Vinita Sauder, president of Union College. “I believe our brand update will help us better tell Union’s story as we boldly connect with students looking for God’s calling in their lives.”
The new tagline—“Finding purpose. Unlocking potential.”—highlights Union’s commitment to helping students discover lifelong faith and career fulfillment through the unique Christian community, personal mentorship and learning experiences offered by the college.
The 2021 update of the Union College logo.
Union’s new logo uses a bold, angular font to distinguish the college from other higher education institutions (particularly those with the words “union” and “college” in their names). The large “U” emphasizes Union’s focus on each student as an individual while providing a distinctive design element. The two ribbons comprising the “U” reference the college’s heritage of global mission service celebrated at the annual Golden Cords ceremony. This visually and thematically ties the new logo to the two previous college logos which similarly integrated the tradition of the golden cords.
The college has adopted a new shield symbol representing the institution and Warriors athletic teams interchangeably. The shield shape is less evocative of any particular culture or ethnicity than the previous Warriors logo, and it serves as a better metaphor for the spiritual battles for which the Warriors name was originally chosen. Displaying the stylized “U” from the logo, the shield shape illustrates part of the armor of God. Throughout the Bible, a shield is used to describe God’s protection, His faithfulness, and the faith of those who believe in Him.
The school’s official colors have been red and black since at least 1906, and this new visual identity has updated the shades without changing the hues. A brighter cardinal red replaces burgundy and anthracite gray lightens the mood from true black.
“Union’s mission and vision already guide the direction of our administrative decisions,” said Sauder. “The visual and messaging update helps us set Union apart from other colleges and reflects the same goals outlined in our vision—to mentor every student to become a highly sought graduate who serves joyfully in God’s calling.”
In order to minimize waste and carefully steward resources, the rollout of the new brand and visual identity will be a multi-year process. However, the work of integrating the updated imagery and messaging has already begun, both across campus and in communication and marketing initiatives. You will start to see changes immediately—including on our digital platforms.
A history of Union College logos
For much of the college's 130 year history, the seal was used for branding. Union now reserves the seal for academic and ceremonial uses. In 1982, the college adopted the golden cords logo with an entwined "U" and "C" comprised of five cords each. The logo was last updated to a simple wordmark in 2003, keeping the idea of cords in the "O."
A more distinguished Union
There are three institutions named "Union College" in the United States, as well as many other schools that incorporate the word "union" into their names, such as Mount Union College, Pacific Union College and Union University. While this has caused some confusion ever since we choose our name in 1891, the advent of the internet and search engines have made it much harder for parents, students and even alumni to keep us all straight. The more distinct our visual identity can be, the less likely it is a parent will use the wrong calendar to buy plane tickets or an alumnus will donate to the wrong school (both of which have happened far too often).
This confusion has been further complicated by the adoption of new logos at the two other Union Colleges. The logo chosen by Union College in Kentucky in 2016 and the logo adopted by Union College in New York in 2019 are now virtually indistinguishable at a glance from the logo we launched in 2003.