As Oklahoma Christian University develops in response to new generations of students and cultural change, the familiar logo and brand will be replaced after 18 years to fully represent the university’s current identity and message. Following 10 months of work and a week of teasers on social media, Oklahoma Christian’s marketing department announced its rebranding project in big chapel and online with a video.
Oklahoma Christian partnered with Switch, a strategic branding studio, working closely with alumnus, former staff member and adjunct faculty Scott Hill. According to Oklahoma Christian’s marketing team, they were able to hire Switch with funds out of the existing, fiscal year 2019 marketing operational budget.
“As we look to help partners across campus attract more students to Oklahoma Christian, the marketing office needed improved tools to meet project workloads,” the marketing department said. “And we needed to better tell the story. We’re confident this is the right time to launch an improved brand and the best way we can contribute to increased enrollment. Not everyone, of course, will love or the prefer the new look. That’s okay, too. We can disagree and still move forward. Change is sometimes uncomfortable.”
1️⃣ Meet the NEW OC BRAND
After 18 years, our faithful shield logo has transformed.
Our 4 cornerstones #OCishome
to uncommon stories
to ambitious progress
to complex dialogue
to extraordinary callings
— Oklahoma Christian U (@okchristian) April 5, 2019
Senior Ali Worlow said although she does not think the rebrand was absolutely necessary, it makes sense at this time for Oklahoma Christian.
“I think the announcement [of the rebrand] was fine but, in my opinion, it was given away before the reveal, and that lost a bit of the excitement,” Worlow said.
According to junior Emily Cochran, she also knew about the rebrand before the announcement and was disappointed to not enjoy the surprise with the rest of the student body. Despite the lack of surprise for her, Cochran said the announcement video perfectly illustrated the goals and intentions of the rebrand.
“The announcement video was unique, creative, fun and fresh,” Cochran said. “It implemented the new logo in every aspect. I do wish they had been prepared to change everything the day they announced it. From social media profile pictures to signs on the sidewalks, it would have been very bold and exciting to have the rebrand effective immediately across all of campus.”
Creative Director Tessa Wright said there will be overlap in the current and new looks as the brand implementation begins—stationary, for example, will not be thrown out in order to immediately switch to the new logo, but as the old runs out, they will replace with the new. This is done in an attempt to honor university resources.
“Stylistically inspired by Oklahoma Christian’s mid-century roots, the ‘OC’ logomark stands as a timeless and solid visual anchor of the Oklahoma Christian visual identity,” the new Oklahoma Christian brand and identity guidelines said.
Cochran said she feels the old Oklahoma Christian logo was visually unappealing and lacked uniqueness. She said the shielded logo is bulky and plain with little interest, and there seemed to be no message or individuality.
“Many people have been tearing Oklahoma Christian apart for administrative plans and actions lately, but this rebrand looks inside the Oklahoma Christian purpose and hopefully will influence the view of OC,” Cochran said. “I’ll admit, for the first day or two, I was angry. However, I realized the simplicity and interest the logo change possessed. The best words I can use to describe it are ‘fresh’ and ‘modern.’ It is so simple on its own, and it does not need a shadowed maroon shield surrounding it to make it look professional or official.”
Worlow said she likes the new brand and the direction Oklahoma Christian seems to be going with it, however, she personally is not a fan of the new logo. She said she does not think it is bad in any way, and it will be good for the school. According to Worlow, the administration should have gotten some student input.
“For one thing, there are many art and graphic design majors that are wanting to learn things like this or even make a career out of these types of things, and it would be really cool to include them in the process of something like this,” Worlow said. “This brand is also something that every OC student stands behind and that represents every student here, so it would have been cool to have been a part of it.”
According to Cochran, however, students should not have input in the new brand. Cochran said students, including herself, think they know best and after choosing and attending a school for a few years, believe they have all the answers and solutions.
“Our staff, faculty, board members and administrators have been here long before us, creating the tradition that Oklahoma Christian is today,” Cochran said. “They do everything out of confidence that it will result in the very best outcome for us and the university as a whole. Every decision is strategically planned and timed—no decision is made in one day by one person. It is [the students’] job to influence Oklahoma Christian in the ways we can right now—being involved, being supportive, loving those around us and, above all, loving God.”
The marketing department said the rebranding process began with Switch conducting research, meeting with around 90 members of the campus community and asking them questions aimed at understanding who Oklahoma Christian authentically is. Interviewees included faculty, staff members, trustees and students.
Oklahoma Christian’s new brand is more than a logo—it will also include a new tagline, “the world awaits your story.” Hill, in a presentation at the Celebration of Excellence, said they wanted to dive deeper into the saying “OC is home” by noting what Oklahoma Christian is home to and concluding on four main concepts—OC is home to uncommon stories, ambitious progress, complex dialogue and extraordinary callings. These concepts developed into what Hill called the four brand cornerstones: we are personal, we are innovative, we are challenging and we are missional.
“We believe a brand is three things: it is who you are, honestly, who you say you are and most importantly—and frankly the hardest one to control—is who others say you are when you’re not around,” Hill said in a presentation at the Celebration of Excellence. “And the only way to align those three things is to speak honestly, is to be true.”
The brand will begin transitioning in the summer and will officially launch when students return to campus in the fall.