Statement on CUHK brand refresh
Dear members of the CUHK community,
On Monday 17 October 2022, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) launched a refresh to the University’s emblem and visual identity system.
The University has received valuable feedback from across our community of staff, students, alumni and members of the general public. The University has heard you and highly values your commitment to CUHK. We will continue to solicit your views in what we hope will be a positive dialogue with the University in the lead up to our 60th anniversary celebrations. Over the coming weeks and months, the University will redouble its efforts to listen to stakeholder opinions and give our community an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the proposed refresh.
Accordingly, CUHK will slowly and progressively make these changes while engaging our community and explaining the process which led to the proposals announced on Monday. It is our sincere wish to take the time to inform you of the rationale for the brand refresh, to understand your concerns, and to familiarise you with its use. This means that we will not rush the changes, and meanwhile, WE ARE LISTENING.
It is important to clarify that we are not proposing to abandon or change the University’s motto. CUHK’s motto remains and will always remain “Through Learning and Temperance to Virtue” and CUHK’s official emblem contains this important part of the University’s identity embedded on a ribbon sitting beneath the shield. No changes have been made to the University’s official coat of arms, and CUHK’s mission proudly remains to “Combine Tradition and Modernity, and Bridge China and the West”.
The motto’s Confucian principles of self-cultivation and the fusion of intellectual and moral education are integral to CUHK’s educational philosophy – indeed it is what education at this University has always been about.
We know you have many questions about the brand refresh, the process and how the official emblem will be deployed, and we have set out to answer some of your questions below.
We hope this helps further explain the rationale behind the proposed changes, and provide you with assurance that your views are important. We look forward to ongoing constructive dialogue with you over the coming weeks and months.
Professor Rocky S. Tuan
Vice-Chancellor and President
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
The process that got us here – timeline and key events
2018 – CUHK established the Global Alumni Advisory Board comprising eminent alumni in Hong Kong, in the mainland and around the world so the University could harness the expertise of its extensive alumni network to help with CUHK’s development.
August 2019 – Taking into consideration similar comments from the campus community concerning the University’s image and identity, the Board recommended CUHK focus on sharpening the University’s image to better stand out in the local, national and global higher education community. CUHK established an Advisory Committee to further discuss ideas for the development of the University’s image, reputation and profile.
December 2020 – Upon recommendation from the Advisory Committee, CUHK’s Administrative & Planning Committee then established a Stakeholders Engagement and Image Building Steering Committee and a Project Team to consider the direction, focus and priorities for the University’s image building efforts.
The Steering Committee was comprised of representatives from the University’s Senior Management team as well as representatives from Faculties and Colleges. The Steering Committee commissioned a professional brand consultancy to conduct the discovery phase and produce recommendations to the Steering Committee on how the University should most effectively position its brand.
June 2021 – December 2021 – During the discovery phase, the consultants spoke to over 2,200 staff, students, alumni, Council members, international academic partners and members of the general public to understand perceptions about CUHK’s brand and what makes the University distinctive from its peers.
December 2021 – June 2022 – The Steering Committee considered recommendations from the consultants including proposed design options, tagline and visual identity.
September 2022 – Final Steering Committee recommendations were presented to the Executive Committee of the University Council.
How will the official emblem and the motto be used?
The official emblem with the full motto will be used in all formal communications and important ceremonial occasions such as:
1. Degree testamurs and official academic documents such as transcripts and certificates
2. Event backdrops for formal occasions such as the Congregation, Honorary Fellowship Ceremonies
3. Building signage and the University’s physical estate
4. Official plaques commemorating the groundbreaking at new construction sites or the formal opening of new buildings and premises
5. Letterheads and printed official invitations
6. Legal agreements, contracts and memoranda of understanding
7. Desktop versions of the official University website (www.cuhk.edu.hk) and other central sites
8. Formal university publications such as the Annual Report
Why is there a simplified version and how will it be used?
As part of the brand refresh, the University is launching a simplified version of the University emblem for use in the digital world. This is aligned with best practices from a range of leading international universities.
The brand refresh is not the first time there have been versions of the emblem appearing without the use of the University motto. For example, for many years in the lead up to Congregation there are banners up and down the University Mall which show the emblem without the motto. The iconic bridge at Lake Ad Excellentiam on the Chung Chi Campus also shows a version of the logo without the motto, and the documents issued by the College of Arms in 1967 contain a roundel showing simply a golden feng on a purple background.
Importantly, we are living in an era dominated by digital communications and the University needs to ensure its visual identity is capable of thriving in the digital world. Prior to the brand refresh, the University’s motto was illegible on digital platforms such as social media, PowerPoint presentations, email signatures, and mobile optimised websites, particularly when displayed on devices with limited view area, such as smart phones and tablets.
The simplified version of the logo is designed to ensure CUHK has a distinctive, clear and compelling visual identity on digital platforms.