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Big Orange Big IdeaBig Orange. Big Ideas. What’s the buzz all about?

We think it’s a perfect way to describe the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and it is the focus of a new branding strategy rolling out across campus today.

You are invited to come take a closer look and find out more from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. today on the Pedestrian Walkway. Volunteers will be handing out T-shirts, posters, and more, during a live remote broadcast by WUTK-FM.

The new look and tagline “Big Orange. Big Ideas.” will be used as the framework for marketing the university and reminding people of UT’s impact on the state and the nation. The new strategy is also part of a newly redesigned website at

The campaign will become part of UT’s printed and online publications and identity markers on campus. People can see it today through flags and banners on campus, ads in campus media and posters.

“Everyone at the university is an ambassador for UT and plays a role in representing our brand,” noted Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “The new look and words are simple, but they provide a much-needed platform for telling our story and strengthening our reputation.”

A large factor in UT’s goal of moving into the ranks of the Top 25 public research universities is based on reputation. The largest portion of the U.S. News & World Report rankings is based on peer reputation surveys.

The brand celebrates the distinctive and vibrant color of the university: Tennessee orange.

“Orange is central to our visual identity, but we aren’t just any orange,” Cheek said. “We are Big Orange. And we inspire Big Ideas. It’s an exclamation of pride, a reminder of who we are, a challenge to what we strive to be, and a promise to ourselves and to the world.”

UT’s Office of Communications and Marketing—with the help of communication representatives across campus—developed the campaign. A variety of audiences, including students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents weighed in on its direction along the way.

Margie Nichols, vice chancellor for communications, said higher education is now a competitive, consumer-driven market that targets students and their parents.

Nichols said UT must clearly and consistently convey its strengths, citing ranking lists, college guide books, advertising and various online tools about universities.

“People’s first impressions go a long way into building reputation,” she added. “We needed to more clearly define the words and visual identity we want people to associate with UT. This is an opportunity to convey the momentum and the energy of our campus and to showcase our students, faculty, staff and alumni.”