UH Hilo marketing office officially launches new brand concept for university

UH Hilo’s new branding concept speaks to the university’s values and strengths with the student at the piko, or center, of its message.


By Susan Enright.

Bonnie Irwin
Bonnie Irwin

University of Hawai‘i at Hilo today officially launched the university’s new branding through a media release from the Office of University Relations. The new branding concept, graphics, and taglines were created entirely in-house through the collaboration of faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

The new brand has been on display on UH Hilo’s website and other venues since summer. Developers say the taglines “Your journey is Our Focus” (ʻO kāu huakaʻi ko mākou kuleana), and Connecting Learning, Life and Aloha,” (ʻO ka ʻimi naʻauao, ke ola a me ke aloha kā kākou e huliāmahi ai), speak to UH Hilo’s values and strengths with the student at the piko, or center, of its message.

“This new way of capturing our university’s strengths speaks to the support we give to students in both their academic and personal journeys,” says Chancellor Bonnie D. Irwin. “Every student who comes to UH Hilo can feel the spirit of aloha permeate our excellent academic and support programs.”


In script and bold face: Connecting Learning, Life and Aloha
“Connecting Learning, Life and Aloha” is part of UH Hilo’s new brand concept. Image designed by Tanya Ibarra, Graphic Services/UH Hilo.

Nyssa Kushi pictured
Nyssa Kushi

Drawing inspiration from the UH Hilo Student Association (UHHSA) pledge written by UH Hilo students, creators describe the brand as “student-driven” in concept, focus, and execution.

“Our new television spot features students reciting the UHHSA Pledge, and our radio spots are voiced by UH Hilo students, taken from Vulcan V.I.B.E. (Vulcans Involved by Engagement) interviews conducted by students themselves,” says Nyssa Kushi, director of institutional marketing.

Kathleen Baumgardner
Kathleen Baumgardner

Kathleen Baumgardner, project manager for the UH Hilo strategic planning process, helped facilitate the rebranding workshops for UH Hilo’s Marketing and Social Media Advisory Group, organized by Kushi in 2019. The group is comprised of the college deans, a faculty congress member, a student association representative, a community member, and various departments campus-wide, with input from the strategic planning process. Overall, the group encompasses 27 campus units or organizations that provide UH Hilo’s institutional marketing office with collaborative guidance.

“Our brand is comprised of the stories, experiences, and attributes that define us,” Baumgardner explains. “It is the sum of all the interactions our audiences—students, alumni, community members, faculty, staff, research partners—have with UH Hilo. It is what they feel about us and what they say about us.”

Tanya Ibarra
Tanya Ibarra

The new television spot, “Your Journey is Our Focus,” debuted during Merrie Monarch in June 2021, and a complete redesign of the UH Hilo website by in-house Web Services and Graphics Services followed in July. Institutional marketing, housed at the Office of University Relations, also expanded coverage statewide to include newspaper ads, radio spots, and television.

Graphics designer Tanya Ibarra created the new graphics and website design.

“The design reflects the experiences of aloha that UH Hilo students will have, and to be sure they understand that that aloha experience will continue to guide them throughout the rest of their lives,” Ibarra says.

Visit the newly redesigned UH Hilo website and review the UH Hilo Brand Guide (scroll down to download guide) and Digital Toolkit.


By Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.