Brand Platform

The University of Northern Iowa exists to help students achieve their unrealized potential.

This brand purpose statement explains why UNI exists and what drives us. It identifies what our audiences should expect from interactions with our university as a whole. It’s also meant to be an internal statement, one that guides and holds us all accountable to the bigger picture.

At UNI, our core focus is our students. We genuinely care for and serve them — as learners, but also whole individuals with distinctive passions, perspectives, hopes, fears and dreams. We offer support and guidance, wherever and however we can, knowing that our students are capable of achieving more than they’ve even yet imagined.

Our values define and anchor our brand, particularly through experience. They reflect what motivates employees to come to work each day and why students and donors are drawn to UNI. They are brand-specific, but reflect values found in the UNI Strategic Plan. At UNI, we believe in: 

  • Challenging academics, with rigor and excellence, designed for student success. 
  • Student-first focus, embedded in our foundation and woven throughout a student’s experience. 
  • Welcoming learning environments, ones that spark curiosity and instill confidence.
  • Diversity, inclusivity and accessibility, in both learning and work environments. 
  • Freedom of expression and inquiry, in discourse, collaboration and experience.
  • A safe and caring community, vital to the health of our campus.
  • Integrity, accountability and ethics, with the highest of standards.
  • Cultural and economic vitality, through strategic partnerships and learning experiences, in Iowa and beyond.
  • Sustainability, building a community and campus that’s economically, environmentally and socially responsible.

Certain attributes demonstrate characteristics that, together, embody the uniqueness of the UNI brand as a regional comprehensive university. They influence our brand messaging and help set us apart. 

  • For students, by faculty. Where professors teach the majority of University of Northern Iowa’s academic programs. 
  • Supportive learning environments. From individual attention to access to campus-wide resources and opportunities.  
  • Perfectly sized. Compact campus, comprehensive in scope.

  • An accessible education. One of the most affordable four-year universities in the Midwest. 
  • Unexpected research opportunities. Where even undergraduate students find graduate-level research opportunities.

Brand Personality

Our brand personality brings our brand to life. These traits represent our human qualities, emotions and attributes. Drawn from research, they guide a consistent voice to shape how we think and feel about our brand. These are the personality traits we Panthers share: 

We are welcoming.

We are genuine.

We are engaging.

We are empowering.

We are determined.

We are enterprising.


Brand Theme

Achieve Beyond

This distinctive theme drives all University of Northern Iowa marketing communications and creative development. It conveys our brand purpose (“We exist to prepare students to achieve their unrealized potential”) with phrasing that we can use to build the compelling stories which genuinely reflect the brand experience and benefits of UNI. 

This is not a tagline and should not be used with the University of Northern Iowa logo. You might see it in a headline, or in phrasing within a story or speech. But it’s much more than a tagline. It’s the brand story of UNI.  

Brand Manifesto

You say you want to do something that matters. To pursue a bold vision. Create new ideas. Shape futures. And shatter barriers. 

At the University of Northern Iowa, we believe in that dream of yours, in you. In those who represent possibility. Because we exist to help people achieve beyond…

This manifesto serves as a high-level creative expression of our brand spirit and essence, helping us put our brand purpose into action and clarifying what motivates our students, faculty and staff every day. It should drive the feeling behind the content we create as key messages and our brand story unfold.