New RUDN University Brand
In 2017 an unusual event commemorated RUDN's anniversary – the university went through a rebranding, which had been prepared by a team of specialists for a year. Apart from visual renovation, the process of rebranding involved a broad range of events aimed at brand identity transformation – both its essence and its perception.
At the beginning, a global survey of foreign universities represented in the QS 300 rating was conducted. The studied parameters were: mission, values, traditions, slogan, identity and positioning. Students of "Public Relations" Department of the Faculty of Philology helped to prepare the empirical material.
Then, substantial creative efforts were made to develop new elements of brand identity and positioning approaches. Ater a lot of brainstorming, the Public Relations Department of the RUDN proposed five versions of the mission and 30 slogans.
As a result, renovated University mission reflects the result rather then the process: "Uniting peoples of different cultures by knowledge, RUDN creates leaders who make the world a better place," and an imperative: «Discover the whole world in a single University!» was deliberately used for a slogan. The final slogan conveys the message: "gain new opportunities, choose any profession, make friends with the whole world, learn traditions and cultures of various countries, erase the boundaries!"
The next step was to develop a visual rebranding component which involved professional experts: creative director and designer. The analysis of Russian universities' logotypes rebranding has shown that all the logos end up with minimalism. Whereas former university brands used to be represented by a combination of multiple elements within a single design, the current solution is one meaningful element combined with a graphical representation. Eight variants of the logotype were developed in the framework of visual communication concept within three dimensions: preservation of traditions and the idea of the globe, the emphasis on internationality without any reference to the current style, and conceptually new ideas and symbols. Three variants were included in the shortlist and submitted to a vote in social networks. Surprisingly, students preferred the traditional, classic and somewhat conservative version. After a brainstorming discussion at the RUDN with the participation of the Students' Committee, the Academic Council made a decision to carry on previous logotype tradition, making changes to facilitate its perception, interpretation and scope.
The designers managed to place the traditional logotype into a modern graphical environment of meridian lines with different width of three primary colours: blue – internationality, red – leadership, green – development.
The international brand name RUDN University has replaced the inharmonious RUDN. The point is that the abbreviation RUDN has been much more recognizable abroad among its numerous graduates, whose number will amount to 100 000 in 2017, its applicants and partners.
According to the Rector of RUDN Vladimir Filippov, «Rebranding is more than just a logotype change, it is a transformation of the mission, the slogan and the approaches to university positioning at the international educational market». Therefore, the new brand comprises four characteristics of the University as Academic, Global, Business, Research, and the positioning focus has changed from an international classical university to a research university.
Today, the world is just getting acquainted with the new RUDN providing education for students from 154 countries of the world. In terms of individual perception, someone likes the results of the performed work, while someone criticizes it. However, it is important to see how the brand will convey its ideology. It is too early to draw conclusions. The proper evaluation will be possible only in two years, when the RUDN University brand begins to live, develop and to be broadcast by different media.