​When you want a logo…

Purdue Extension Local Faces Countless Connections

The official response that we give when we're asked to create a logo is: "You already have a logo: Purdue Extension."

Here's some background.

One of the greatest difficulties in branding Purdue Extension is that each program, department, team, etc., wants to create its own distinct identity. The problem with that is that there is no continuity or connection to the whole. How many times, for example, have you told somebody that you work with Purdue Extension only to have the person stare at you blankly until you say "Ever hear of 4-H? Yeah, we do that." And then the person says, "Oh yeah, my cousin showed dairy cows."

The goal of branding Purdue Extension is for people to hear "Women in Agriculture" and think Purdue Extension, to hear "Dining With Diabetes" and think Purdue Extension, to hear "Master Gardeners" and think Purdue Extension, and so on and on.

The goal for any Extension team is to create an identity that is harmonious with the Purdue Extension brand. Part of that harmony is making sure that Purdue Extension remains, so to speak, a big part of whatever visual identity we create. If you create a second true logo for a team, then there isn't harmony, there is conflict. To the target audience, the team wouldn't look like a Purdue Extension operation, it would look like a co-sponsor or separate entity.

We do create distinct identities for programs, conferences, etc., that are compatible with the Purdue Extension logo. For example, there's the Indiana Small Farms Conference, various publications series, and so on. But in all cases, the program, department, etc., are simply a text treatment combining it with the Purdue Extension logo (and not a new logo itself).

If the goal is to make a promotional item that is visually striking and attractive, we can (and will) do that. We can even create materials that have their own look and feel. But this would be done with the Purdue Extension identity. We can't create a standalone logo that will compete with Purdue Extension.

Do we have written guidelines for creating new logos?

No. We have guidelines for the Purdue Extension brand, and part of that brand is to not create any new logos for departments, counties, programs, etc. Some logos that have already been created can stay, but we're requiring that they add Purdue Extension when they stand alone. And we do have written guidelines for what we call secondary branding.

Can a freelancer create a new logo?

Yes, but when a client comes to us with a logo that they've already created, we tell them that we cannot use it.

I realize that this may not be a very satisfying answer, but this comes back around to where I began. Each team, program, or county does its own thing and there isn't a connection to the whole. That makes demonstrating the full breadth of what Purdue Extension does difficult. And the more difficult that is, the harder it is to get support (from clientele, partners, and decision-makers). ​​