GW introduces bold visual identity

On Aug. 26, as the fall semester was about to begin, GW revealed a new visual identity designed to more accurately represent the vision, spirit and energy of the GW community.  The debut of this new visual identity coincides with the university’s 100th anniversary in Foggy Bottom, as well as a reorganized strategic plan that will guide GW’s trajectory for the next ten years, culminating with the university’s 2021 Bicentennial.

In an interview with GW Today, Lorraine Voles, GW’s vice president for external relations and CCAS alumna, said that the new visual identity is “more representative of the university we are today.”

The road to a new look began in 2010, when a committee of students, faculty, staff and alumni developed a message strategy that conveys GW’s unique qualities. The university then hired consulting firms to both reshape the university’s “core identity…and create the new look and feel for marketing and communications materials,” Voles said.

The essence of this new identity is a more accurate and distinct definition of GW’s core attributes. Specifically, an unrivaled location in the heart of the nation’s capital, rigorous academics and the “only at GW” opportunities that help define our students, alumni, faculty and staff.   The combination of a solid message platform and a dynamic visual identity successfully encapsulates the GW experience for students and alumni.

The new visual and verbal lexicon not only represents where GW is today, but also where GW is headed in the future.  The new portrait of GW’s namesake reflects this forward-looking vision and is uniquely GW, as it was created by double degreed CCAS alumnus and GW staff member, John McGlasson BA ’00, MFA ’03. Mr. McGlasson based his custom image on Jean Antoine Houdon’s sculpture, which is known as the most accurate representation of our first president.  A replica of this sculpture is in the University Yard; the original is located at Mount Vernon.

GW President Steven Knapp said the identity change is “a true reflection of our institution and its transformation over the next decade,” and that the update is “an important opportunity to communicate the GW story with striking, bold visual elements.”

Promotion for the identity launch began on Monday, Aug. 20 with a “takeover” at the Foggy Bottom metro station, and continued with an Aug. 26 celebration in the Marvin Center Ballroom. Promotion is currently ongoing via the Making History campaign, which allows students, faculty, staff and alumni to record their GW stories and share them on the campaign’s site, via YouTube or Flickr.

As a core line from the campaign reads, “This is GW. And what we make here is history.”  This is true of GW students, alumni, faculty and staff, and the bold, exciting new look and feel embodies that sense of achievement and passion.  All alumni are invited to contribute by sharing their stories at

For more information on the visual identity changes, visit GW Today or read the full interview with Lorraine Voles.

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