UH Hilo’s new brand connects Learning, Life and Aloha

Date: Thursday, October 21, 2021
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 932-7669

For Immediate Release

Fall 2021 is a landmark semester for the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. In addition to a 2.5% increase in enrollment, the University launched a new brand created entirely in-house through the collaboration of faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

The new brand – “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), speaks 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,” said Chancellor Bonnie Irwin. “Every student who comes to UH Hilo can feel the spirit of aloha permeate our excellent academic and support programs.”

Drawing inspiration from the UH Hilo Student Association (UHHSA) Pledge written by UH Hilo students, the brand is “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,” said Nyssa Kushi, director of institutional marketing.

Kathleen Baumgardner, UH Hilo Strategic Planning project manager, helped facilitate the rebranding workshops for UH Hilo’s Marketing and Social Media Advisory Group (MSMAG), organized by Kushi in 2019. The MSMAG is comprised of the college deans, a Faculty Congress member, a UHHSA representative, a community member, and various departments campuswide, with input from Strategic Planning. 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 explained. “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.”

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 Web and Graphics Services followed in July. Institutional Marketing in the Office of University Relations also expanded coverage statewide, to include newspaper ads, radio spots and television.

Graphics designer Tanya Ibarra, who created the new design, said: “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.”

“Mahalo to the MSMAG and our UH Hilo ‘ohana for their extraordinary efforts in creating an institutional identity that truly reflects our rich diversity of culture, hands-on learning, and the Hawaiʻi Island environment, all of which make UH Hilo an ideal place to start a student’s journey in life,” said Kushi.

UH Hilo’s redesigned website can be viewed at: https://hilo.hawaii.edu/. The Brand Guide and Toolkit are available at: hilo.hawaii.edu/~graphics/brand/, while the new brand television spot is posted on UH Hilo’s YouTube channel at: https://youtu.be/oOdJIvBHMv4.

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