Dal’s refreshed brand wins accolades in successful first year

Brand picks up two awards, including Hermes Creative Award

- June 30, 2023

The Dalhousie community marks an important milestone this month as it celebrates a year since the launch of the university’s refreshed brand. It does so with two awards in hand and widespread adoption of the brand across the university community.

The positive reception to the refreshed brand points to its many strengths, including the way in which it grounds the university and demonstrates its goals for the future in creative new ways. 

And this is no fluke, of course. The brand is built around a foundation of Third Century Promise’s five pillars and the four related pillars of the brand — aspects of Dalhousie that define and shape people’s experience with the university. These include:

  • Research impact: A world of change begins at Dalhousie

  • Academic excellence: Built to help bright minds excel

  • Engaging community: Community is more than simply the space we share

  • Extraordinary location: A place filled with transformative moments

Matt Proctor, assistant vice-president of Communications, Marketing, and Creative Services (CMC), says Dal’s brand offers a refined and refreshed expression of what makes Dalhousie distinct and why it means so much to so many people. 

“Over the past year, we have seen the brand truly come to life across campus,” says Proctor. “It’s been an exciting time, with more consistency and alignment across Dal than ever before as we work together to represent Dalhousie as we are today and the goals we strive for as we grow and evolve.”

Proctor says he and others on the CMC team are truly grateful to the Dal community for adopting the new brand system, which was informed by 12 months of research, engagement sessions and focus-group testing. 

“In a busy world with many competing messages, it’s important we combine our efforts to best share Dal’s tremendous impact and ambition. Our new brand system provides more alignment than ever before, but also allows for additional flexibility that can best showcase the unique aspects of each faculty and impact area within the university.”

Awarding Dalhousie’s brand

Praise and accolades for the refreshed brand have also emerged outside the university. Hermes Creative Awards, one of the largest, oldest and respected evaluators of creative work in the marketing and communications industry, awarded Dalhousie a Hermes Creative Gold Award in the Strategic Campaigns, Marketing, Branding Refresh category this year. 

Dal’s winning entry showcased the creative power of the refreshed identity platform through highlighting the development and creative implementation of the Dalcon (short for “Dalhousie icon”) — Dalhousie’s own unique shape that’s borrowed from the eagle featured in the univeristy’s logo. The Dalcon acts as a “brand cue” across the creative platform. 


The Hermes awards, administered and judged by the U.S.-based Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals (AMCP), have been around for more than 26 years with more than 300,000 entries. Each year, competition judges evaluate the creative industry’s best publications, branding collateral, websites, videos, and advertising, marketing and communications programs. 

Dalhousie also received accolades at the 38th Annual Educational Advertising Awards — a national panel of industry specialists judging creativity, marketing execution and message impact to determine the top performers in the field of educational marketing and advertising. Competing against 2,000 entries from more than 1,000 colleges, universities and secondary schools, Dalhousie was awarded Gold in both the Logo/Letterhead Design and Student Viewbook categories.

“These awards speak to the care and dedication that has gone into both the development of the brand’s identity platform and the creativity of our Creative Services team in applying it across all mediums,” says Paul Williams, senior director of Creative Services in CMC. 

“The success of a visual platform is proven by its ability to work across myriad channels and for many unique audiences. At Dalhousie, we have no shortage of either and it’s through the talent and care of the entire creative team that we’re able to make it adapt and thrive. There are new challenges every day, but the team always finds a way,” says Williams.

Momentum moving forward

This past year has seen many updates across campus as we work to further align our community to the refreshed brand. Signage updates across campus included a modern sign at Oxford and Coburg streets, updates to the sign located at the intersection of University Avenue and Robie Street, along with multiple buildings and light post banners. 

And so much has been refreshed digitally, from websites and social media to presentations and email signatures. 

The marketing team in CMC also launched the first ever Dalhousie Brand Equity campaign that highlighted Dalhousie’s differentiators, focusing on oceans, health care, digital innovation and healthy communities. This campaign has been viewed more than 27 million times, sharing impactful stories of all the incredible, life-changing moments, discoveries and knowledge that make Dalhousie University an exceptional place.

“While a brand’s work is never done, we are thrilled with the dedication to the brand over the past year,” says Proctor. “As we move forward, the CMC team will continue to work with our campus brand partners toward further alignment as we share Dalhousie’s story as a vibrant, ambitious university with a reputation for excellence in all that we do.”

Explore the Brand

Visit the brand website or CMC SharePoint site (login required) to access the updated brand guidelines (as of June 2023). We also offer a suite of branded assets and template, including:

·      Email Signature Generator to create your own branded email signature. (login required)

·      Branded PowerPoint template (updated June 2023, login required.)

·      Newly updated Digital Asset Library for right-free Dalhousie images. (login required)

·      The Dalhousie University Prospectus – This document available digitally and in printed form and offers easily scannable information that demonstrates and highlights who Dalhousie is and what’s makes us so great. Looking for copies of the Prospectus for your next trip? Email dalbrand@dal.ca to request copies.

For questions on the brand contact dalbrand@dal.ca.


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