Chancellor’s Letter about Texas Tech Communications and Marketing Initiative
June 7, 2005
Dear Friends of Texas Tech:
I would like to take this opportunity to clarify some of the issues and driving forces
behind our efforts to strengthen Texas Tech’s communications and marketing activities.
We know change is not always easy, and on May 13th we agreed with our Board of Regents
that, given the nature and extent of public comment on this issue, we need to continue
seeking input and educating our constituencies on what the marketing proposals to
enhance Texas Tech’s academic reputation and image include (and do not include) and
how that fits into the larger context of our telling the great story that is Texas
Tech. So, in the coming weeks we will be working with a group of regents (including
both Lubbock-based regents) to further study these marketing proposals.
With respect to the Double T logo, let me say right off the bat … we have not proposed
to change the way the Double T currently is used. It may be that, because we are
proposing a new set of standardized logotypes and “marks” for use in more official
academic settings, some may have thought we were trying to somehow limit or do away
with use of the Double T. That’s just not the case. Put another way – we have not
proposed and are not now proposing to diminish use of the Double T!
The current official Double T, which was created and licensed by the Athletics Department
years ago, is and always will be alive and well. The Double T is our "spirit mark"
and will continue to be used to promote and celebrate the rich tradition, spirit and
pride of all things Texas Tech. So we expect that alumni, faculty, students, staff
and friends of Texas Tech will keep sporting the Double T on their clothes and cars
and in any other context in which they are celebrating the pride, traditions and prowess
of this great institution. The Double T is and always will be a high-status, important
symbol of Texas Tech … it will remain as our national logo or “brand” … and it will
not be restricted solely to athletics-related uses. The Double T will remain available
whenever anyone wants to show they are part of the Texas Tech family.
However, there are times when Texas Tech needs a certain visual identity that can
make a positive impact on those who are not yet part of our Texas Tech family. If
it is an athletics-related audience, certainly the Double T and similar spirit logos
work great. But if it is an academics-related audience, we do not have and very much
need a unified and professional visual identity that helps promote our academic and
research enterprise. Research has shown that, all too often, those who are not part
of our Red Raider family associate the Double T only with our athletics programs.
Further, the set of academic-related logos and symbols currently in place have fallen
far, far short of helping us communicate our strengths and opportunities in academics
Right now each college, department and program at Texas Tech has its own logo (and
often more than one), many of which have nothing in them to indicate they are affiliated
in any way with Texas Tech. There are hundreds of these different academic "identities."
Each represents missed opportunities for Texas Tech as a whole to make a lasting impression.
Of the hundreds of logos now in use, only a small number of those not related to athletics
incorporate the Double T in some way. Some have nothing to identify themselves as
“Texas Tech,” and some don’t use red and black as their colors.
Thus, we are faced with a situation of academic logo “anarchy.” Our proposal is that
all of these dissimilar academic identities would be replaced with one highly professional
and unified academic identity structure that repeatedly reinforces a perception and
understanding of the academic strengths of Texas Tech.
The challenge is to create an appropriate academic visibility system that reflects
the reality of “who Texas Tech is” to those who are not (or not yet) part of the Texas
Tech family, but do so in a way that rings true to what our alumni love about their
One piece of the overall academic visibility system being considered was to update
the graphic design of all the symbols in the seal. These symbols – the key, the lamp,
the book, the star, the eagle, and cotton – had been hand drawn when the current seal
was initially designed in 1924. From a technical perspective, a more graphically
sharp and strong depiction of the symbols within the seal would allow a more clear
and professional look when the seal is reproduced on printed and electronic materials.
We have absolutely no desire to abandon the traditions and history associated with
the symbols inside the seal and will continue to look for the best way to approach
We also must keep in mind that Texas Tech has expanded its academic programs far beyond
what was in place when the current seal was established. For example, we now have
the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC), composed of schools of
medicine, nursing, pharmacy and allied health. TTUHSC is a separate and distinct
institution from Texas Tech University (TTU) and, as a university in its own right,
is a growing and vital part of the Texas Tech System. A good argument can be made
that a standardized and highly professional academic identity structure should be
one that is a good fit for all of the many and varied academic disciplines at Texas
Tech, whether they be law, engineering, the sciences, liberal arts, fine arts or business
programs at TTU or medicine, nursing, allied health or pharmacy at TTUHSC.
After we had begun a series of informational sessions with members of our Board of
Regents, students, faculty and alumni, some who did not like particular aspects of
the proposals sounded a general alarm that we were eliminating or somehow restricting
use of the Double T and changing the seal just because some out-of-town marketing
firm thought it was a good idea. Hopefully, this response is giving you a greater
sense of what is being considered and why.
We want you to know that proposals like those described above for an academic visual
identity system are only a small part of a much larger communications and marketing
initiative to improve Texas Tech’s visibility and reputation. [Note: Some have come
to believe that “Texas Tech paid an Austin firm $450,000 to create a new seal.” In
truth, the costs associated with the new academic visual identity system – which encompasses
much more than the seal – do not exceed $25,000. The $450,000 figure is the budget
for everything we’re doing to initiate a wide-ranging communications and marketing
In August of 2004, our Board of Regents charged Texas Tech administration with developing
and implementing a comprehensive communications and marketing program that would boost
Texas Tech’s academic reputation within the state, regionally and nationally. Their
goal, and ours, was expressed as: “… we hope that Texas Tech moves from being the
best kept secret in West Texas to being the most visible sign of progress and excellence
in West Texas.”
We will be moving forward on a number of initiatives to accomplish that goal – some
at a local level and some on a much broader scale. For example, our strategic plan
calls for actively engaging local alumni chapter members in new efforts to enhance
Texas Tech's academic visibility in communities throughout the state and nation.
We'll be developing new outreach tools that you and others who already are part of
the Texas Tech family can use to help enhance Texas Tech's reputation in communities
everywhere. We will be using other “best practice” methods to get our message out
to broader audiences far and wide.
What does all this mean to you? The better the reputation and the higher the visibility
of Texas Tech, the greater the value of your diploma. What does this mean to Texas
Tech? The better our reputation, the greater the probability that even more quality
students will be attracted to become part of the Texas Tech family … and a greater
number of employers who will understand the robust preparedness and work ethic of
Texas Tech graduates.
If everyone outside the Texas Tech family already knew what we know about Texas Tech
and looked at Texas Tech the way we do, maybe such a substantive effort would be unnecessary.
That is just not the case, though, so we have to market Texas Tech to that broader
audience in a way that has a direct and positive impact on how they perceive our two
Thanks again for giving us the opportunity to share this information with you. As
we’ve said many times during the past weeks, we are truly glad there are so many alumni
and friends who care so deeply about Texas Tech. We will continue to consult with
all of our constituent groups as we go through this process. By working together,
we can do so much more to advance the cause for Texas Tech.
David R. Smith, M.D.
Texas Tech University System