The Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth

The Goal

To develop a brand strategy and visual identity for Thayer School which would allow this smallest of top-flight engineering schools to compete more effectively with the biggest of them.


The Solution 

Leverage the reputation of Dartmouth College, while reclaiming ownership of the cross-disciplinary curricular philosophy established by the school’s founder, Sylvanus Thayer.

The brand strategy includes this excerpt from the Positioning Statement:

“…Thayer School is of a human scale; an energetic community of collaborators in which students of promise and character develop into innovative and effective leaders of thought and action. Thayer School graduates are possessed of rare intellect, a broad knowledge base, well considered ethical and moral principles, personal skills of communication and persuasion, and the ability to sustain the commitment necessary to contribute meaningfully to the design and construction of a better world.”

The image (shown here) of a page from the Thayer School website reveals the brand philosophy and distinctive position, which is encapsulated in the School’s brand signature: The box does not exist.


Visual Identity

The Thayer School logo was designed to symbolize the creative process of engineering, while also being compatible with the Dartmouth College logo and the logos of the other schools: the Geisel School of Medicine, the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, and the Tuck School of Business. Each of these familial logos is contained within a shield shape, and features an image of the lone pine tree and the Connecticut River.

Unique to Thayer’s identity is the visual of converging lines, a feature well-liked by Professor William Lotko who described the logo this way at the dedication of the new MacLean Engineering Sciences Center:

“Last week, Dean Helble unveiled a new logo for the School. I was not involved in its development, but I really like its juxtaposition of symbols: it embodies Dartmouth’s tradition of a shield with a modern impression of the lone pine and the river. But you also notice something different and suggestive: four lines that seem to draw your eye to a dot on the horizon. I’ll speculate briefly and only in general terms on the significance of that dot, as it relates to Thayer School and the MacLean Center. In the dot, the Human Element is thoroughly integrated with Engineering. It involves: 1) Increasing collaboration – The MacLean Center will foster new ways of approaching collaborative learning, collaborative teaching, and collaborative research; 2) Design Thinking – Design has always been fundamental to engineering but we are seeing an increasing appreciation for the value of design thinking, which imparts a certain intellectual discipline on its practitioners that enhances innovation, regardless of the focus – whether engineering, business, scientific, or socially oriented; … 3) Engineering of the next societal paradigm – … the Thayer faculty together with faculty across Dartmouth have been helping to engineer the current paradigm encompassing Information and Telecommunications; What will the next paradigm entail? Only time will tell, but should I have an opportunity to invest, I’ll put my money on the intersection of materials, biology and information.”