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President passes new purple palette

What the color changes mean for the Taylor community

By Hannah Stumpf | Echo

If you frequent the Taylor bookstores, you may have noticed a gradual change in merchandise. Not only does this have to do with the changing of the seasons, but Taylor University has officially changed the purple. The University’s colors have been purple and gold for as long as anyone can remember. In fact, the first mention of Taylor’s official colors appeared on the front page of an edition of The Echo from 1914! However, the particular shade of purple has changed over the years.

Who decides this change, though? Is it students, administration or sports teams? In reality, the answer is hazy, and happens to be a mixture of these and other factors.

Steve Richardson, the Campus Store Manager, explained the situation more in-depth: “Taylor establishes the color standards, which sets the benchmark for merchandising. Teams and departments make requests for specific items and we do our best to get those in stock. We also anticipate what departments will order and carry those in stock so there is minimal average lead time for bulk orders.”

Students and visitors’ purchasing power also plays a role. Richardson and his staff notice trends in which colors and styles are most popular. The bookstore prioritizes to vendors that best match the school’s colors. This ensures merchandise comes as close to the current purple as possible. The new color (blue-purple as opposed to red-purple) is more common among vendors. With the past colors it was difficult to find merchandise that matched well, hence the variety in the shades of purple merchandise available in the bookstore.

This variety may play into the customer’s’ favor. The bookstore is planning on discounting the  products with the old color scheme in order to make room for new product. Taylor merchandise is always on any student or alumni’s Christmas list.

Ultimately, though, the decision came from the office of newly inducted university president, Lowell Haines.

Ben Wehling, university’s executive director of marketing for five years, confirmed the new President’s decision. The old purple was inconsistent to produce. “It often became brown and it was supposed to be quote on quote ‘purple’. When people think of the color purple they all think different thoughts. But our current, the new purple, is closer, I think, to what a majority of people would consider quote on quote ‘purple’ versus the old color.”

The previous shade was a very difficult color to present consistently unless using a pantone. One method, CMYK, or using multiple colors to create one color, varied its final presentation of the old purple. Using multiple colors to create the previous purple did not translate well to the university’s website.

How fast will the changes in color occur? Already steps are being taken to phase out the old purple.

“It (the change) happened to come to us at a good time where we were updating a lot of our marketing materials,” said Wehling, “So we just switched the color. We can do that too with the web presence, but we are sort of in transition with anything in design that will have the new purple on it. I know there are some high-visibility thing, pole banners for instance, that we wanted to go ahead and make that change.”

Predictions are that this slow “phaze out” of the old purple will not cost more in the long run than it would be to keep ordering inconsistent marketing materials and merchandise.

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