Charlie Litton notices details.
“I always thought it was remarkable, or interesting, that Lincoln has its own shade of red,” he said. “UNO has a different, slightly redder shade of red, and that UNMC has a slightly brighter shade of red too.”
Despite their differences, the three shades are nearly indistinguishable, even side-by-side.
In 2018, in the unassuming offices of UNeMed, Charlie agreed to help me design a logo for the newly named and conceived UNeTech. The Marketing & Communications Manager for UNeMed, I had worked with Charlie for nearly a decade helping to tell stories about science, innovation, and entrepreneurship. In addition to being a skilled communicator and efficient graphic designer, Charlie surprised me with his appreciation for systematic university branding. Together we sketched logos and googled fonts and, in a few hours, came up with the original design for the UNeTech logo.
It’s probably because we started with what we know. Although he did not design it, Charlie had always been impressed with the UNeMed logo. He liked its use of simple space, breaking up a circle with the overlapping U and M to create the UNeMed bud. In that short description, Charlie articulated what I’d been doing for the past 14 years at UNeMed. I had learned that a well-designed logo is an important tool in a toolkit of professional looking branded design choices. In countless PowerPoints and Adobe-designed documents I’d used the bud by itself, or UNeTech’s word logo alone, or various combinations to different effects.
Charlie and I worked from what we knew to create something intentionally reminiscent of the UNeMed logo. We replaced the bud with an egg to represent our incubator, and Charlie doctored a few fonts to create custom UNeTech text. When UNeTech rebranded as The UNeTech Institute in 2021, it replaced the custom font created by Charlie with a standard font. I asked him how he felt about that choice.
“The only thing that made me sad about the new logo was the amount of time I put into getting the line of the ‘t,’” he said.
Charlie had customized the font so that it matched the angle of the line in the egg logo. Although UNeTech went on to change the font, the egg stayed the same. Charlie iterated on the ‘t’ in the egg logo using the Fibonacci sequence, then added the three very similar shades of red to represent UNL, UNO and UNMC.
The rest is history.
UNeTech’s logo tells the story of UNeTech’s inspiration. UNeTech started out of UNeMed’s observation that inventions need support and development to realize their commercial potential. It grew into a collaborative space where that support expands from technical prototyping to business analytics, SBIR/STTR, and support surmounting all the technical details needed to bring a technology startup to life.