University of Rhode Island launches its bold new look

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KINGSTON, R. I. — September 8, 2008 — The University of Rhode Island has raised the digital curtain on its innovative home page,, and on the new look and feel of the University’s brand expression. The website and new student viewbook are the first venues that reflect URI’s new positioning, messages and visual identity.

The Division of University Advancement, working with its branding agency FORGE Worldwide, is creating communication and marketing materials that present a consistent, confident message and voice that distinguishes the University in the competitive higher education arena. The viewbook (at right), developed with the Admission Office, invites prospective students to Study in a Small, Beautiful Place With Some of the Biggest Thinkers in the World.

Soon, more visible signs of our initiative will emerge, as the brand identity unfolds during the course of the year, through targeted printed pieces, public relations and paid media.

An integral part of the branding effort was to re-cast what has become URI’s front door — the University of Rhode Island website. Often the first stop online for visitors, current and prospective students, as well as faculty and staff, the university’s main Web pages now feature the new expression of the brand. The inviting site includes video clips, new graphic elements, and a consistent overall look and feel. The page structure provides easy links to online destinations, and the top-level pages reached are consistent.

The new website and initial materials were developed as a result of the branding initiative, which began in 2006 to define the University’s distinctiveness in the marketplace. Since then, the University has undergone a carefully researched and planned examination of its brand, or reputation. A 22-member branding steering committee, co-chaired by Ruby Roy Dholakia, professor of marketing and Linda A. Acciardo, director of communications and marketing, solicited and analyzed research and feedback from internal and external stakeholders to develop the brand positioning and messages, a new typographical logo, tagline, and brand mark (tagline graphic). Using best practices, it engaged in a systematic process to discover and clearly articulate its unique qualities, core values and strengths.

This has created an entirely new way of looking at and seeing The University of Rhode Island. The University has now developed a unified look and voice for the institution as a whole.

“Our brand is our promise to the public. It tells them what they can expect from us, and it differentiates what we offer that other Universities don’t; Big Thinking. Our brand is derived from who we are, who we want to be and who people perceive us to be,” President Robert L. Carothers said in a letter announcing the new visual standards to the entire University community.

Using the new website, browsers are invited to sample the outcome of the University’s first branding initiative and the premier look and feel that captures the essence of the University of Rhode Island. For more information about the brand initiative and outcome, visit