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"Brand House" Instead of "House of Brands"

brand house

Pepperdine takes the "brand house" approach where one parent brand logo—the Pepperdine logo—forms the basis for the development of all constituent components. All other entities under the Pepperdine brand "roof" are visually represented using a standardized lock-up with the Pepperdine logo.

The obligation to create and maintain all enterprise-wide brand visuals rests with Integrated Marketing Communications. No other person or department acting as an official representative of the University is allowed to create or develop a unique brand mark for their own purpose. This is especially important for any communication or marketing materials that reach an audience outside the local campus environment, since an overabundance of unique identities dilutes the strength of the brand identity of the University as an enterprise.

Brand Identity 2024

In January of 2024, Pepperdine launched a new brand identity and along with. it, new guidelines for how the school is represented through its brand marks. We often get questions as to why this change was made, what was retired, and what is new. Most of the questions about our brand identity start with a misunderstanding of the system of logos that the University uses.

The primary change was to the University wordmark. The wordmark that had been in place since 2002 was the name Pepperdine with the swoopy R. We replaced it with a new logo that includes both a less decorative wordmark and a new shield icon. The new logo (shield and Pepperdine name together) constitute our logo for all things related to branding and marketing. It is on all of our websites, stationery, print collateral, my email signature below, etc.

The shield icon is essentially a simplified University seal that retains the core elements of it, but it does not replace it. By itself, it functions as the face of the mobile app, our social media avatar, and in a variety other spaces where the full logo won’t fit. It specifically replaces the generic “blue box P” that we were using for those spaces previously. 

Please note, we did not change or retire the University seal. It has been our official heritage mark and presidential seal since 1979 and it will continue to act as that for the foreseeable future. Being the presidential seal it is used on ceremonial items, diplomas, and various groups related to the president’s office. It is never used for marketing purposes.

We changed our primary logo to meet the demands of every-changing technology and digital media, driven mostly by social media, smart phones, and mobile web. We are now in line with the dominant brand identity strategy used by most major corporate brands and universities. This strategy makes a clear distinction between word (in our case, the Pepperdine name) and image (the shield icon). The Pepperdine name is no longer unique looking because the name is more important than its appearance. The visual interest (theme tower, blue/orange) is now carried by the shield icon. This overall simplification and separation of name and image allows them both to be legible and flexible in all print and digital spaces. Most corporate brands today either use this strategy or are shifting to it. Think Apple, Adobe, Wal-Mart, Target, Toyota, and Nike. The new Pepperdine logo was launched on January 1 of 2024 year after several years of development and research. It was finalized in the summer of 2023 after input from the Board, steering, and the president’s office. It was officially trademarked with the government in October of 2023.

Two brand identity systems

Pepperdine, like all universities with an athletics program, has two distinct brand identity systems: one for the University as a whole, and one exclusively for Athletics. Because of the power and energy of athletics logos, it is not uncommon to see them take a more prominent role as representatives of a university, often at the expense of the official University logo. However, they do represent two distinct areas of the University and should be treated separately in all media and communications. It boils down to this: if your department is not a part of Athletics then you will not use the athletics logo to represent your area.

two brand identity systems

Academic and heritage logos

The new University logo (shield and Pepperdine name together) is regarded as our academic logo and is used for all things related to branding and marketing. It resides in places from our websites and print collateral, to email, stationery, and our email signatures. The University seal, our heritage mark, is a highly restricted mark and is used on ceremonial items, diplomas, and various groups related to the president’s office. It should never be used for marketing or branding purposes.

core marks

A note about creating custom logos

"People at the head of these powerful brands know very well that they are not defined by their logo anymore but by the product or service they provide."—Thierry Brunfaut, Creative Director and founding partner at Base Design

The world is filled with logos, or unique brand identities. We are inundated with them when we we are shopping for a product. Every app on our phone is a type of logo. Because of this, it is easy to assume that every school, center, institute, office, division, or program at Pepperdine must also have its own unique identity or logo. This is not the case.

The most important, powerful, and recognizable brand at Pepperdine University is Pepperdine itself. We are a "Pepperdine first" university which means that all communications, in both word and image, start with and focus on Pepperdine. Our brand identity system supports this idea with the Pepperdine logo (and its variants) being the only trademarked and approved logo for the University.

Integrated Marketing Communications is responsible for creating and maintaining the brand identity for Pepperdine University. No other person or department is allowed to create or develop a unique brand mark for any purpose. An overabundance of unique identities dilutes the strength of the brand of the University.

Unique visual identities that might be considered include:

  • Themed events
  • Anniversary celebrations
  • University-wide initiatives

Unique visual identities NOT allowed include:

  • schools
  • academic centers
  • academic programs
  • institutes
  • divisions
  • administrative departments

The links below contain specific information for use of Pepperdine University's official brand identity marks. To request any of our branding assets, or should a question arise concerning appropriate use of any of these marks, please contact Keith Lungwitz, creative director, at 1440.