University of Iowa Honors Theses

Thesis Title

Rebranding the School of Art & Art History

Major Department

Art, Studio


College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts)

Session and Year of Graduation

Spring 2018

Honors Major Advisor

Lynne Lanning

Thesis Mentor

Jeremy Swanston


Rebranding is the process and creation of a new identity for an already existing company. In a rapidly changing and competitive environment, companies must evolve in order to stay relevant and noticeable in the marketplace. When a brand isn’t attractive and doesn’t stand out from its competitors, rebranding must be done to keep the company relevant and successful in the years to come. In this research project, I’ve chosen to rebrand the School of Art & Art History at the University of Iowa.

I’ve chosen this particular project because I believe the School of Art & Art History doesn’t effectively brand themselves and doesn’t have a visual identity that differentiates themselves from other art institutions around the world. In order to attract the talent the institution is searching for, the School of Art & Art History must apply a visual branding identity that is unique and different from its competitors branding. I began the rebranding process by designing numerous logo variations within Adobe Illustrator that retained characteristics from the original School of Art & Art History logo. After I had differing logo variations, I received feedback from colleagues to determine which logo best represented the School of Art & Art History. Once I had created and nalized a logo that successfully preserved some of the original logos characteristics, experimenting with various fonts and color palettes that could be applied to the logo was the next step. I wanted a font that felt similar to the original, but that was more breathable and readable at a smaller scale. The chosen font was called Roboto. Its forms are highly geometric and consist of open curves, creating an overall sense of rhythm and readability. The characteristics of the font were reminiscent to the design of the logos form and visual attributes. The next step in the rebranding process was determining an effective color palette. I wanted a color palette that was related to the University of Iowa’s overall branding guide, but that created a more rich and elegant identity. After experimenting with colors, a rich gold color, a light tan color, and different variations of a grey were chosen. Once the logo, font, and colors were nalized, I began incorporating these different elements to other branding materials for the School of Art & Art History. To make the overall rebranding as uid and cohesive as possible, I incorporated different elements and shapes of the logo into a pattern, that was then applied to branding materials, such as letterheads, business cards, envelopes, and posters.

In the end, the rebranding of the School of Art & Art History was a success. The rebranded visual identity of the logo preserves enough characteristics from the original that it is still recognized in its new state, yet it brings a fresh and unique identity to the overall brand. Through my research process, I learned what makes an effect rebrand and how to incorporate characteristics from the original brand to ensure the audience can still make a connection with the brand and what it represents.


graphic design, design, branding, art, logo, identity


Copyright @ 2018 Dylan Menke

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