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Updated 10:00 AM January 24, 2005




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New word mark says 'Michigan' with a capital M

A new word mark that incorporates the University's distinctive and widely-recognized Block M has been introduced, and is immediately available to faculty and staff across campus for a full range of communications materials.

"The Block M is a strong symbol that people associate instantly with the University of Michigan," said Vice President for Communications Lisa Rudgers, who unveiled the word mark at a recent meeting in the Michigan Union of more than 200 University communicators.

The word mark, designed by Marketing Communications, consists of the Block M in maize, followed by the words University of Michigan in blue. Also new is a Web site with guidelines for using the University seal, the block M and other visual identifiers, at

Rudgers stressed the importance and power of a consistent visual identity for University communications. A recent scan showed that University departments use literally hundreds of distinct logos to identify themselves, and sometimes the University is not identified at all, she noted. When that happens, each department loses the opportunity to be linked with U-M's very strong and distinct institutional identity.

Many organizations spend millions of dollars to build a visual identity as strong as
U-M's, she said, adding that the availability of the word mark will make it easy for every unit to make this valuable connection.

"The University of Michigan is recognized around the country and around the world for its quality and excellence," Rudgers said. "The University already possesses a distinctive visual marker, the Block M, that projects these attributes. The new word mark incorporating this powerful symbol is a tasteful and elegant graphic element suitable for every kind of communications product, from brochures and posters to Web sites and letterhead." The word mark also is designed to combine easily with department names, she noted.

Rudgers said that a completely uniform visual identity for the University would be optimal, but in the University's highly decentralized environment it is not realistic. By providing a common visual identity that all units can adopt for their materials, the word mark will help form a bridge between units.

The Web site provides guidelines that clearly delineate the appropriate use of the University identity, be it the word mark, a solo Block M, various trademarked treatments of the Block M or the University seal. The site also provides policies on the use of the University name in advertising, fundraising, and other scenarios.

A graphics toolkit supplies specifications for font, colors and other usage information. In addition, Marketing Communications will provide consulting services for units who have questions about how to use the word mark or other elements of visual identity, Rudgers said.

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