Mount Rainier as seen from Pierce College Fort Steilacoom

Questions and Responses About Pierce College Branding

We take pride in that we are a creative and unique department and want to show our individuality. Why can’t we have our own logo or look? We’re not robots!

Pierce College is unique! Reinforcing the college’s name reinforces yours, and particular departments or groups actually add to their legitimacy by leveraging their connection to the overall Pierce brand. Be creative in terms of what you are doing with students, but our visual image of the college has to be consistent.

We understand that campus units value their individual identity, but we also know that working as a team to promote a consistent brand benefits all of Pierce College.

No offense but we don’t like your design and branding. We think we can do better.

There are a lot of creative people and everyone has their own tastes. We have an official brand and precious few opportunities to get our name and brand burned into the public consciousness. That happens only if our brand is consistent.

Maintaining Pierce College's brand is part of Marketing and Communications' role here. We ask that campus units consult with us before working with outside vendors on graphic design, production, photography, video production or printing. Doing so helps us to implement the brand and visual identity program effectively and consistently, and it ensures that everything this institution produces is instantly recognizable as Pierce College.

But your brand does not connect with my students or me emotionally. Would you consider updating it?

We think it’s important to always be questioning and considering those sorts of things. However, we must also be careful to not change with every current fashion style. Consistency is more important than style.

As long as we have your logo somewhere on our site, isn’t that good enough? That way people know we belong to Pierce and then we can feature our department or program.

It just depends on how obvious and integrated it is with your site. As a rule of thumb, if someone has to hunt to find the Pierce College brand on your site, then it needs some work. We are happy to help. Just send us an example of what you are creating, or send us a work request if you’d like us to make one for you.

Can we at least have our own seal? Something that we can use on our T-shirts and social media sites?

Yes, we have some ways to integrate your departments name into our brand in a variety of ways. You can refer to our Graphic Standards manual to see examples.

But I would like to have our department integrated with the Raider Bird logo or a symbol that represents our vocation.

The Raider Bird is our mascot and the logo is for use by the Athletic Department. Your vocation is what people will do but it’s not about our brand. The mountain logo is our official logo; it is the signature of the college. The college has only one official signature and it needs to be used consistently so people know who we are. Imagine if the Seahawks all wanted a different logo on their helmet. You wouldn’t even know what team is playing.

But I only want to use it internally.

The problem with creating your own “logo” is that you probably have a website or social media site that you want to use it on and then it’s no longer internal. And once something is printed or produced electronically, there is little guarantee that it will stay 100 percent "internal." Whenever people outside the college can see us, we need to be consistent with our signature.

OK, if the college is all about consistency, why does the Athletic Department get their own logo? Shouldn’t they have to conform to one signature just like everyone else?

Great question. For various reasons colleges worldwide have sports teams and mascots. It helps create an internal identity, build school pride, and in many cases, brings in a lot of money. It has been an accepted practice that they have their own mascot logo. But they also have their own official college logo. We're no different.

So when can we use the "unofficial" Raider Bird logo?

You can buy and wear products that have the Raider logo; you can use it to refer to our Athletic program. Otherwise use our mountain logo when our external audience sees it.

I don’t mean to beat a dead bird but people DO know that we are the Raiders and that the bird is our logo too. I’m just not sold on why we can’t use both? Other colleges do.

We have precious few opportunities to get our name and brand out into our external community. There is also another Pierce College in California. Not everyone who inquires about our college knows or cares that we are Raiders and have a Raider Bird mascot. They want to find a college and we want to be sure we are easily identified. We recently had instances where international students were looking for info about us online and came to some of our poorly branded sites and thought they were spam. We need one signature and consistency in our branding to be credible externally.

OK, that’s fine for most departments but we are all about student programs. Athletics are just one of our programs. It is important that we promote student pride, Raider pride! Can’t we at least be allowed to use the Raider Bird logo?

The college has lots of Raider products that students can use to denote their Raider pride and students can be encouraged to show their pride by attending events, wearing Raider clothing, etc. Pierce College is the home of the Raiders, not the other way around.. We are Raiders and from Pierce College! And if we are going to be on the same team we need everyone to wear the same uniform when we’re out on the road. It all goes back to consistency. We have relative limited exposure externally. We need to maximize every chance we have to get our name out and we do that with one consistent brand.

But look at UW and WSU; they use their mascot logos externally all the time.

The Cougars solved the problem by blending their mascot logo into their official college logo. UW uses their college logo more than their mascot logo. Both colleges are much bigger than we are, with a lot more advertising dollars so they can saturate the market. We compete with 34 other community and tech colleges in the state and our advertising budget is basically non-existent compared to theirs. Even with that said, individual departments have to conform to using their official college logo, just like we do.

OK, but can we at least not have to use your tagline? It’s just extra words and clutters things up visually.

The tagline is part of our brand. It is rare that we don’t use it with our logo but there are some cases when you don’t have to. Check out our branding guidelines or give us a call if you have a situation where you think you don’t need to use it.

Our school colors are maroon and gray but we see they have orange in the brand too. Why is that?

Orange was incorporated a few years ago as an accent color to brighten our designs and draw attention to important visual elements.

We celebrate diversity — isn’t it limiting and going against our own values to all have to look the same?

We celebrate diversity by our actions and how we treat others. And we are proud to all be part of the Pierce College team. We want people to know who we are and trust us. We build credibility with consistency of brand. If people feel they know who we are and trust us, it’s strength. You are not limited when you are working within your strengths.

A strong brand identity also is important because inconsistently branded sites bring up red flags. We’ve seen this particularly with international students who've encountered sites fraudulently posing as U.S. colleges. We all notice inconsistencies and are wary of sites that don’t jive with the look and feel of the known organization.

Why can't I redesign my department's web page? We don't like the website design so we want our pages to look different.

See our Website Requests page for more information about why we've standardized the website design.