Every member of the campus community has heard all the names.
We’re California State University, Stanislaus; CSUS; CSU Stanislaus; Cal State Stanislaus; Stanislaus State; Stan State — and even a less-than-flattering yet very familiar fowl reference.
According to President Joseph F. Sheley, the University has been forced to respond to so many different monikers, the ability to spread its brand throughout the region and beyond has been compromised.
Such was the impetus behind Sheley’s vision — announced last fall — to come up with new branding guidelines for the University.
Unveiled during the president’s annual address on Aug. 26, the new University brand establishes a three-tiered naming convention, a new logo and the school’s first official motto. The year-long effort included committee meetings and focus group sessions, hundreds of interviews and the input and guidance of consultants from Fresno-based Jeffrey Scott Agency.
“Our community has to know we’re here,” Sheley said. “The state has to know who, what and where we are, and the CSU must see our incredible strengths. The branding process is a huge first step toward that becoming a reality.”
The naming convention aims to bring consistency to the way people refer to the University. The formal name does not change — it will continue to be California State University, Stanislaus. That’s what will be on diplomas and all formal documents.
But after that, there was historically no consistency in the less-formal names — the ones that more easily roll off the tongue, fit better on billboards, uniforms and t-shirts and endear us to the region. After months of committee discussion, it was decided the University’s less-formal name would be Stanislaus State.
“It clearly emphasizes our connection to a wonderful, vibrant and increasingly important region in California,” Sheley said. “We are not just a CSU that happens to be in the Stanislaus region. We are the Stanislaus region's University, a partner in its development, the institution that changes the lives of so many who have grown up here.”
Finally, there was the third name, the endearing term already commonly used often by those locally or with direct ties to the University: Stan State.
The logo evolved through a continuous evolution of form, color and ideas into a simple and elegant mark of an open and flowing “S” — itself a recognition of past logos — on a very recognizable, yet stylized, shield that evokes feelings of a family crest as well as the Warrior spirit.
“Our goal was to create a vehicle that, like the Nike swoosh and the apple, would become instantly recognizable to a new generation of observers and potential partners,” Sheley said. “We wanted a logo that — even when viewed at a distance — would evoke the strengths, aspirations and values at the heart of the University’s message.”
Hundreds of concepts and variations were discussed before the motto “Engaging. Empowering. Transforming.” was chosen.
“When I saw this, I was pleased and proud,” Sheley said. “That is who we are.”
Even after all the time and effort it took to come up with the logo, motto and naming convention, Sheley emphasized that launching the brand is only the beginning.
“It’s now up to all of us to do our part in carrying the brand to the region,” Sheley said. “The brand is not the logo. The brand is not the motto, and the brand is not the name of the University. Our brand is and always will be the positive impact we have on our students and our region.
“What we want to emerge in the minds of the people we serve when they see our logo, name or motto are the strengths, aspirations and values of an institution — our University. California State University, Stanislaus; Stanislaus State; our beloved Stan State.”