Ohio University began to install large vinyl decals on several university buildings, which have received mixed reviews from students, as the next phase of its brand project that originally launched in 2020.
Robin Oliver, vice president for OU communications and marketing, oversees the university’s branding and creative teams. Oliver said the projects she has implemented aim to bring a more unified brand platform to OU.
Before the decal installation, OU communications worked with students and OU’s academic colleges’ leadership teams to get their input about the messaging platforms.
“President Sherman was really talking about making sure that as students visit campus, they can have a window into our world and see a little bit more about what is happening behind the walls, behind the bricks,” Oliver said.
Oliver said printing the decals was a one-time cost that does not have much of an impact on the university’s recurring budget.
Some of the printing work was done by the university print shop, but the larger and high format parts of the project had to be outsourced because it was beyond the capabilities of the print shop, Oliver said.
Oliver said the outsourced printing was around $31,550 for the decals on Copeland Hall, the Chemistry Building, Nelson Court, Chubb Hall, Morton Hall and Ping Recreation Center. The graphics on Ping take up a large portion of the cost.
There was an additional $6,500 spent on the window graphics on the first floor and the fifth floor of Baker University Center, which was printed through OU’s print shop. That brought the total printing cost to around a total of $38,000 with the exclusion of labor or machinery costs to install the vinyl.
The project itself was planned prior to large campus tours during the academic year, but the university planned some of the installations to be done around the time of large tour groups being on campus.
“We were putting in these (decals) in some of the high traffic areas where we wanted to get in front of those admitted students,” Oliver said. “We did work to have them done before the March 19 up close (tour event) was an internal deadline for us to try to get them done, but it had been a project that was in the works for several weeks before that.”
While the decals are meant to be seen by visiting students, current OU students have also noticed them.
Mia Goble, a freshman studying exercise physiology, said she liked how the decals show off more of OU but thinks the university could support students in other ways.
“I don’t want to say ‘wasting money,’ but I don’t think it shows anything important necessarily.” Goble said. “I think they could have used their money for something else, but it does make it more attractive, I guess.”
Jacqueline Battigaglia, a sophomore studying human biological sciences, shared Goble’s concerns for the university’s money usage on these decals.
“I think that the university was complaining about not having money but then they put big dumb stickers that are tagging the buildings and… it just makes the rest of the town kind of look like a cheesy college town you’d see in a movie,” Battigaglia said.
Speculation around when or if these decals may come down is also a concern among current students.
“Maybe they’ll just go through the process and make new ones, but I feel like there's more things that need to be fixed around here than … paying and putting up the stickers,” Battigaglia said.
Oliver said while it is a possibility for the decals to be updated due to change in brand or change of times, there currently is no indication the decals will be taken down anytime soon.