New Wright State logo doesn’t include Wilbur

Wright State University’s new logo was unveiled to trustees this week, following a yearslong rebranding effort.

The new logo features the familiar Wright Flyer without Wilbur Wright alongside, and coincides with a new messaging campaign around the sentiment: “We believe in helping people achieve their dreams.”

Thousands of staff and students had input into the logo’s design, according to Steve Gabbard, WSU’s director of strategic alignment. Their input said the logo should convey the school’s global nature, the font needs to represent stature and prestige, and of course it needs a graphically accurate biplane.

“The Wright Brothers connection was required,” Gabbard said. “People couldn’t imagine a logo without it.”

So why did Wilbur get the axe? Gabbard said they repeatedly heard one sentiment: “It looked like someone missed the plane.”

The new logo is part of a larger rebranding effort the university launched in 2014. Trustees recently approved a $522,200 contract with the Orlando, Fla.-based marketing firm Push, Inc. to help lead the effort. The total cost of the rebranding wasn’t immediately available.

Gabbard said the goal is to increase and retain students, each of whom contributes at least $10,000 to the school. So 100 students would bring in $1 million.

Chris Bare of Push, Inc. said they are still honing a short slogan for the university based around ideas such as inclusiveness, diversity and “helping anyone achieve their dreams.”

University officials say they hope to have the new branding firmly established in time for the presidential debate being hosted by Wright State in September.

“There will not be a camera angle in the spin room that will not include Wright State and what you see here,” WSU executive vice president Robert Sweeney told trustees when the logo was displayed Thursday.

The canine-centric Wright State Raiders sports logo will not be impacted by this effort, university officials said.

WSU trustee Lt. Gen. CD Moore (retired) joked that they’ll know the logo is a success when they see someone wearing it as a tattoo. He said he learned in the Air Force that this sort of branding effort is important.

“Symbols really, really matter,” he said.