Monday, February 12, 2007

SFU's new Visual Identity

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past 40 years, SFU has grown from a small, innovative programme with a fresh mission and a local student base to a major Canadian university with an expanding presence on the international stage. We now have three campuses, six faculties, 60 departments and schools, 63 institutes and centres, our first international dual-degree programme, and student enrolment of about 30,000.

Each individual department and programme has built a strong identity within its own specific communities, but the image of SFU collectively has been relatively unclear. Our visual identity has been distorted by the tendency for every unit on campus to take a unique approach to letterhead, business cards and even the use of the university’s crest. This may be typical for dynamic, rapidly growing, young organizations such as ours, but with increased competition for students, faculty members, staff, research grants, government funding and philanthropic investment, we need to stand above the crowd.

To achieve this, SFU, like other universities, has sought ways to encapsulate our complexity in a clear visual identity and tagline summary of our distinctive vision and mission. Our goal has been to develop a new SFU brand, building on our heritage and success, inspiring us as we move forward, and strengthening our position on the world stage.

I am now announcing the creation of a new visual identity for Simon Fraser University, which includes a new logo, business cards, stationery, website design and recommendations for applying the new logo to all of our marketing materials and signage. The new logo is in fact a return to our past. The original SFU logo – a “toothpaste” stripe of the three letters - was designed by the renowned visual artist Iain Baxter of the legendary Centre for Communication and the Arts in the Faculty of Education, in the 1960s. The new logo is again a bold, clear and contemporary representation of the letters SFU, designed by Jim Rimmer, perhaps Canada’s premier font designer. His papers are deposited in SFU’s Special Collections, and the SFU Library’s “Rimmerfest” celebrated his achievements this past November.

The new logo is supplemented by a tag line -- “Thinking of the World” -- which has emerged from a process of consultation with high school students and counsellors, current students, staff, faculty, alumni and community stakeholders. It speaks to the role that the university plays in fundamental research uncovering the mysteries of the world, and applied research responding to the needs of the wider community, as well as to SFU’s distinctive commitment to active social engagement locally and globally. The logo and tagline have been accepted by the Board of Governors and will be used from this day forward.

Together, the logo and tagline create a new visual identity which will, I hope, create in the external community greater recognition of SFU’s collective presence and achievements, and a more consistent impression of this university’s values and commitments.

As we think of the world, the world will think of SFU.

Michael Stevenson, President and Vice-Chancellor

NOTE: You will find more information, and official Graphic Standards manuals, at The manuals cover the application of the new brand and logo to such things as brochures, stationery, business cards, print products and websites. Shortly, you will also find stories about the new branding in today's SFU News, at the main SFU website ( and in SFU News online ( Public Affairs and Media Relations and the SFU Design Group can have someone visit your department to answer questions about use of the logo and tagline, and to discuss the requirements established by the Board of Governors.

Office of the President:mm