History of the BJU brand
In 1927, a new college held its opening service in College Point, Florida. “The purpose of the Bob Jones College,” the first catalog states, “is to educate in the arts and sciences and at the same time give spiritual things their rightful place; … to increase the student’s knowledge and protect his moral integrity; to enlarge the intellectual horizon and maintain the Christian hope.”
To communicate this high purpose simply, the first BJC tagline was created: “ACADEMICALLY STRONG. SPIRITUALLY SAFE.”
Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. designed the BJC crest. When asked about it, the president’s office sent this reply: “The scales stand for the proper balance of life and that man weighed in God’s balances is always found wanting. The cross, of course, speaks of Christ and our redemption. The Book is the Word of God. The torch is the Light of truth.”
For the first decade of the school’s existence, the name of the college/university was typically set in a simple sans-serif type, though numerous variants appeared. This was common in the era, as the institution was commonly limited by what type was available at their printer. Beautifully hand-drawn letters appeared in the early 1940s.
Advertising during the 1930s was limited to simple text blocks, but the 1940s brought full-page advertising full of photography. The samples below reflect the impact that world war was having on BJU, and the benefits that a BJU education offered a troubled country.
The country recognized that a BJC education was “perfectly suited for the times,” as one 1944 ad proclaimed, and attendance increased 75% in one year. The campus, now in Cleveland, Tennessee, had seen 11 new buildings rise in 10 years, and there was no more room. 1946 brought a dramatic message, shown here in an ad from the June issue of the Christian Herald:
With two powerful new messages—becoming a university, and moving to a new campus—University marketing had big messages to get out to the public. These two messages led to the first “real” logo for BJU. With University italicized to draw attention to the change, the name was attended by a very stylish rendering of the brand-new Administration Building:
Advertising during this time talked about the unique product—so unique, in fact, that the tagline, World’s Most Unusual University, would become a dominant branding element for six decades.
Twenty years later, the logo was showing its age. That trendy font was out of style, and the beautiful building was now two decades old. In addition, the logo didn’t even communicate that BJU was a Christian institution; it was time for a change. In January, 1967, BJU rolled out a new visual identity. This logo would serve the University for 46 years.
Any logo that can hold its own that long is exceptionally well-designed, but the new century brought small indications that the logo was no longer communicating as well as the University wished. New “looks” began to appear around campus, and by 2010 it was clear that we needed a visual identity that better reflected our mission and core values. Work began in earnest in 2011.
In February, 2012, BJU announced that it would begin an intercollegiate athletics program. A mascot committee solicited name suggestions from the University family. The athletics visual identity was developed in six weeks by the Creative Services design team and the Bruins identity rolled out with an unforgettable event, Midnight Madness, on March 23.
In 2012 the University rolled out a new tagline: Build Faith. Challenge Potential. Follow Christ. The BJU Creative Services design team researched best practices and dug into University history and, in August 2013, rolled out a new identity. Carefully designed to reinforce our core values, speak to our historical foundations, position the quality of our academics, and help shape a better perception of BJU, the identity also knit together the Bruins and University identities into one.
A logo helps shape perceptions, and perceptions shape decisions. This new logo—one that represents our collegiate identity, speaks to redemption, the Bible, the pursuit of Truth, and the uniqueness of our university family—is designed to have a greater impact on these perceptions and decisions and better represent BJU in the future.
The information and graphics above are for reference, historical and archival purposes only. These graphics may not be copied or saved for any other use.