About the UVA Brand

The University of Virginia brand is how we express the spirit, attributes, character and community that make the University unique. Our brand is also a perception formed in the minds of all who engage with the University. The better we tell our story, the more closely these views will align. When the stories we tell are true to the University – to its values, culture and traditions, to its actions in our communities, and to what it aspires to become – the overall perception of the UVA brand will be understandable, meaningful, consistent and lasting. What follows are some concepts and language to help tell our story and express the UVA brand in a unified way.

  • Brand manifesto
  • Brand essence
  • Brand pillars
  • A Great and Good University

Brand foundation elements help unify our messaging because they spring from truths about us and the UVA experience. While inspiring, they must be grounded in reality. Being able to identify our essence, values and unique characteristics will help us better articulate the UVA brand.

What story are we telling?

When the story is about yourself, it’s essential to understand what you stand for. In this case, the story is about the University. What it stands for can be found in many places. A manifesto is the attempt to capture this in one place. A manifesto is defined as a public declaration of intentions, opinions, objectives, or motives. What follows here is a brand manifesto, which is a creature of a different stripe.

  • It is for internal reference to inform how we talk about ourselves to others.
  • It seeks to illuminate our uniqueness.
  • It acknowledges that truths are both factual and emotional.
  • It can and should evolve as our goals, initiatives and capabilities change but must always flow from our animating purpose and brand essence.

Our brand manifesto is an introduction, a self-evaluation, a flag in the UVA Grounds. It considers, as concisely as possible, where we've been, where we're going, and why it matters. For branding purposes, it’s our North Star.

How are we telling our story?

Brand pillars support what we want to say about UVA. They give us a multitude of ways to talk about UVA and what makes it special. We should recognize an aspect of the University in each brand pillar. Taken together, they tell a larger story, one to which we respond, “Yes, this is true. This is who we are.” To ensure authenticity, each pillar is accompanied by reasons to believe, which themselves might inspire messaging that is on-brand and elevates the profile of the University.

What does it mean to be great and good? It means to be excellent for a purpose. Putting great minds to good use is how we fulfill our original, animating purpose – to serve. It means preparing students to be citizen-leaders who themselves are guided by empathy, integrity, and truth. It means faculty who both excel in scholarship and whose work has a lasting impact on students, on other scholars, business and society. It means bringing innovative medicine and research to the world while promoting the health of the communities in which we live. It means realizing the true value of a university. We believe that doing what we do best, for the benefit of others, is where greatness comes from. Which is why, at the University of Virginia, we strive to be great and good in all we do.

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