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Wednesday, 04 February 2015 14:42

HCC rolls out rebranded products

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fr hccTrying to create a small logo that encompasses everything Haywood Community College stands for is no easy task. 

But with only three letters and a symbolic leaf, Aaron Mabry, marketing and communication director, thinks he and Lee White Media pulled it off. The old logo said Haywood Community College and featured a gradient leaf, but the new logo was shortened to HCC, features four new colors and a solid-color leaf.

“We’re known in the community by our acronym,” Mabry said. “We are HCC and we wanted to commit to that brand.”

The new logo is just part of the community college’s effort to rebrand — or essentially modernize its appearance on all platforms. The new logo will be featured on HCC’s new website, which rolled out Jan. 30, in-house publications, billboards and print media. 

The rebranding effort coincides with the college’s 50-year anniversary. After 50 years of growth and change, it was time for HCC’s marketing to reflect those changes, officials said. 

“As we celebrate our 50th anniversary, we as a college felt it was a good time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future in an effort to position ourselves for the next 50 years,” said College President Dr. Barbara Parker.

The community college wanted something that would be representative of the entire HCC population — from a 16-year-old Haywood Early College student to someone in their 70s taking continuing education classes.

“We wanted to modernize our look and look at how we touch people in the community on a daily basis,” Mabry said. 

Throughout 2015, the new HCC logo will feature the “50 Years Forward” anniversary insignia, but that will be taken off in 2016. 

The new logo has four options and each features a different color — a dark green, lighter green, light blue and a gray. Mabry said each department in the college could pick one of the four options that best suits them. Faculty members can pick whichever color they like to have on their business cards.

Mabry consulted with teachers and staff throughout the process, something he said was important. Once some ideas were established, a campus-wide survey of board members, professors and faculty was compiled.

“We didn’t want to move forward without everyone on board, and we achieved an 84 percent approval rating,” he said. 

Mabry said the new website is more user-friendly now that it’s been updated. The last update was done in 2007 — a lifetime in technological years. Web developer John Bradley worked with him for about six months on the design and functionality before the site went live last week. 

“The focus was to make it simpler — it wasn’t as intuitive before,” he said. “From a usability standpoint, we want people to find the info they need with as few clicks as possible.”

One of his favorite features is the live chat option that allows students or potential students to speak instantly to someone or submit an email question and receive a response within 24 hours. 

HCC started 50 years ago with a nursing program. That program is still one of the most popular programs, but the college has added and subtracted programs throughout the years to accommodate the workforce development needs of the community. 

Other popular programs right now are the natural resources program to prepare students for a career with the Department of Agriculture or in forestry and many of the professional crafts programs offered in the new Creative Arts Building on campus. 

“The Creative Arts Center is a huge boon for us,” Mabry said. “I think it’s one of the best facilities in North Carolina now.”

Professional craft degrees include clay, fiber, jewelry and wood. The program teaches students a craft skill and also teaches them how to market their product with required business classes. 

HCC has come a long way since 1965. There were 31 diplomas awarded to the first graduating class in 1967. Last year there were 4,392 continuing education students and 2,210 curriculum students.

While its look may be changing, Mabry said HCC’s mission remains the same.

“Education changes everything,” he said. “Education can transform someone’s life, and that’s something we take very seriously.”

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