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APSU logo research put on hold

August 28, 2002

How do high school students react to various logos, including the stylized AP logo? Answering that question was the goal of market research begun in April 2002 by staff in the Office of Public Relations and Marketing.

The survey instrument was created by Cristina Henley, communication specialist. Henley administered the surveys in focus-group sessions with 134 students in eight “target” high schools across the state from Knoxville to Memphis. The data, which was tabulated during the summer, was presented to participants at the Leadership Retreat on Aug. 9 and to the President's Council of Advisers.

In general, high school students reacted neither favorably nor unfavorably to the University's stylized AP logo, which was created and adopted during the 1970s. (To view the data, go to From a recruitment and image standpoint, that reaction was less than desirable. Ideally, logos generate excitement and provoke positive feelings.

Although additional testing of the logo with current students, alumni, Governors Club members, donors and community supporters was slated to begin this fall, those plans have been put on hold, according to Dr. Sherry Hoppe, president of APSU.

Hoppe said, “With a successful start to the Peay Pride initiative and the beginning of Austin Peay's first capital campaign, it is not a good time to continue this research project. Because the proposed change has the potential to be divisive, it might be counterproductive to our goal to unify the campus and community.”

Hoppe concluded that Henley's work, although not leading to further logo research at this time, was helpful in analyzing how high school students view APSU. “The thorough and comprehensive research completed by Cristina was beneficial and may serve as a basis for further study at some point in the future.”

Budgetary concerns also factored into the decision to discontinue the logo research.