The magazine for Western Washington University

New logo, tagline are just one part of Western’s intensive branding project

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“Active Minds Changing Lives,” Western Washington University’s tagline – along with a new, more representative logo – are the most visible results of an intensive, 8-month branding effort to better define what makes Western distinctive.

“The new tagline is a vivid descriptor of Western students, alumni, faculty and staff,” says Steve Swan, Western’s vice president for University Relations.

Driven by data from interviews with prospective and current students, alumni, faculty, staff and others, the research resulted in five key characteristics that describe Western’s culture: inviting, engaging, adventurous, distinctive and collaborative. These five “brand characteristics” serve as the foundation for continued work in demonstrating what’s distinctive about Western.

Through a focused approach to integrated marketing, this branding initiative can translate into many benefits for the university, including in the areas of enrollment, fundraising, partnership with the Legislature and even the ability of Western graduates to get jobs.

The logo, featuring a stylized view of Mount Baker and Bellingham Bay, was created by Western student Branson Anderson. “The research made it very clear that our sense of place is one of the strongest anchors people have to Western,” Swan says. “So we wanted the logo to identify with that.”

No state-appropriated funds, or tuition dollars, were used in the branding initiative. Learn more at