Five key things: U of T’s Brand Portal

computer, smartphone and tablet with the brand portal webpage displayed on each

An organization’s brand is more than a logo, colour or slogan. It encapsulates its vision, mission, character, aspirations and essence. The University of Toronto’s brand expression, Defy Gravity, reflects and conveys the community’s spirit of discovery, drive to overcome obstacles and promise of inclusive excellence.

To help the U of T community bring Defy Gravity to life, the university recently completed a major revamp of its Brand Portal, which brings together resources, guidelines, strategy and assets. 

“The Defy Gravity brand is an evolving story, and we wanted to ensure that the brand portal evolved as well,” said Tanya Kreinin, U of T’s assistant vice-president, brand strategy and chief marketing officer. “The new portal is an enterprise solution based on extensive consultation with the U of T community and in-depth analysis of best practices in both public and private sectors.”

Here are five key features of the relaunched Brand Portal:

  1. Understand the brand. Strong brands are built on strategies that authentically capture an institution’s vision, mission, values and character. The Brand section in the portal includes U of T’s brand story and brand themes and explains Defy Gravity’s underlying philosophy.
  2. Telling the brand story. One of the ways by which the brand is defined is its ‘voice.’ That ‘voice’ can be heard in news stories, social media posts or even signage around campus. The portal has information about tone, storytelling principles and a comprehensive editorial style guide for anyone writing on behalf of or about the university.
  3. Visualizing the brand. From logos and typography to image layout and video endplates, visual elements are among the most easily recognizable aspects of a brand. The Brand Portal includes extensive guidance on U of T’s visual identity, including university signatures, typography, brand colours and how to use the Defy Gravity logo.
  4. The story in numbers. The recently added section on reputational materials, stats and rankings is a one-stop-shop for reputational and brand-building content. It includes frequently updated rankings and data, the Impact Presentation and key messaging so that the most current information is always accessible and easy to find.
  5. Brand assets. Whether you’re building a multi-platform campaign, planning an event or just looking to update an email signature, the Brand Portal has assets that faculty and staff can leverage to animate the brand in all university communications. Some of the tools and templates users will find include presentation templates, event signage, branded merchandise, marketing and communications planning templates and ready-to-use video content.

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