Feel the Teal

Whether you attend UNCW, are a native of Wilmington, or you just know of the university, it is no secret that our school is near the beach.  Judging by some of the nicknames for UNCW: UNC Beach, UN Sea W, UNC by the Sea, it is clear that our geographical location plays a role in our school’s brand narrative.  This is exemplified through our mascot, Sammy the Seahawk, as well as our school colors.

Believe it or not, the color teal was not picked just because we think it’s pretty (although it’s a plus), neither were the gold and navy blue that help to round out the vibrant color palate.  UNCW’s school colors were chosen to represent the surrounding area that helps define our institution’s brand.  The color teal was chosen to represent the Atlantic Ocean, the dark blue represents the deep ocean, and the gold symbolizes the sand.

This association with the beach has created a community of teal throughout the university.  Everywhere you turn on campus you are inundated with the color teal.  Teal has become synonymous with UNCW and its brand.  We even turned the color into an adjective with a 2009 campaign for the athletic department that asked, “Are you tealin’ it?”  One popular t-shirt worn by students says, “Feel my Teal”.  We have Teal Tuesdays where students wear the color to show school spirit.  This creates a feeling of unity on campus and gives students a way to express their love for UNCW.


While the university’s close proximity to the beach has some influence on creating its brand narrative, there is more to the school than just that.  For those of us who attend UNCW, we know that going to class does not mean sunbathing, surfing, and collecting seashells.  UNCW has a strong focus on academics and that is it’s main priority.  We are well known for our excellent marine biology program as well as our professional school of business.  We also aim to be environmentally friendly and do our part to support the community.  There are many things that make UNCW the school that it is.  Our proximity to the ocean and our love of the color teal are just a few of those things that bring us together as a university.

Eliza Wadson, Jocelyn Walson, Sarah McIntosh, Sean O’Connell

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24 thoughts on “Feel the Teal

  1. After reading a couple of the blogs, this particular one caught my attention because of the teal font and the subject of the colors, nicknames, and brand our school has. Just recently in class I, a senior at UNCW, learned that the colors for our school were not just randomly assigned but actually strategically chosen. I thought it was well planned that our colors coincide with our surroundings. I agree that we are very environmentally friendly although I can’t decide if it is mostly people from UNCW or just the Wilmington area in general. Either way I love it. I am proud to be a student at UNCW and am glad that this blog points out our other offerings and experiences besides just our location.

  2. In a recent class we discussed UNCW as a brand. We wrote down qualities that are most associated with the school and every group had something about the beach. This is a strong aspect of the school that we all embrace and gets a lot of branding attention. I liked how this post said that we do embrace our environment but the school is about a lot more than the beach, tanning, and the color teal. We are a community with a vast amount of different abilities.

  3. As a transfer student entering my first semester at UNCW I was not sure what to expect. I had heard a lot of different opinions about the University. I also heard what it had to offer and the expectation it had from its students. After gathering all the information it was then when I chosed to make UNCW my selection to obtain the education I would need to prosper in the real world. While making my decision I did not fully understand that I was taking the UNCW Brand into consideration while comparing it to the other University brands before I made a choice. It was not clear to me how I came to my choice until I read Branded Nation by James B. Twitchell and we started dicussing the concept in our IMC lecture class. Although I totally believe in frredom of choice I now understand that our choices can be manipulated by a brand.
    While reading this blog and from what I already knew of UNCW I appreciate that we are more than just the University by the beach. That our colors do have a meaning, and we our focused on our academics, the programs UNCW offers and the success rate as a whole. From my experience to this point; UNCW is not just an University, but a community of individuals gathered from all over tring to accomplished the same thing. Which is an education and a better future.

  4. I am a transfer from a university in Charlotte, and after getting the acceptance letter to UNCW many of my friends from my original home town in New Jersey never even heard of the UNCW. However, when they found out it was by the beach they were facinated, and reacted the same way most do… ” You live at the beach, you can go tanning any time you want. How awesome!” Its not quite like that. Once you are at the University the beach becomes an after thought. You get invoved on campus, leadership roles, and the work load that we all face as students.
    After being here for a while you are not just a student at UNCW, the univeristy becomes you, through how we “Bleed Teal”. Yes the color is not too bad, it could be worse, like Clemson orange. Lets face it who looks good in orange… NO ONE! The teal we wear shows that we are a student community all bleeding together as one. We may all be different but we are all here for the same reason, to get a great education, persue our dreams of a well paying job upon graduation, and meet some fantastic friends along the ride. Teal also represents us in the community. When I personally wear it I take pride that I am a UNCW student. We are a brand in this community community. This is our identity. We Teal it Tuesday, we Bleed Teal, Navy and Gold. We are UNCW.

  5. It is my first semester here at UNCW and I can say that I am already feelin’ the teal. I think the beach has to do with our identity as a university but I agree that it much more than that. A lot of people who go to UNCW surf but it’s not like you can major in surfing.

  6. I recently discussed this with a class here at UNCW. Yes we are close to the beach, but like this blog states, that does not mean sunbathing and surfing are classes. I feel many students work very hard and then being close to the beach and being able to enjoy it is their reward. And with the color teal, I really do not care for it, but I am proud of what it represents. I am proud to wear it, and I am lucky to attend such a nice university.

  7. I am a transfer from a school in Maryland no where near the beach. One of the things that I thought was really interesting during the orientation at UNCW was the reasoning behind the school colors. I really think that this ties into the schools brand and the fact that we are a beachy school.
    When I told my friends in Maryland that I was going to UNCW, all they would say was “your not going to get any work done… all your going to do is be by the beach every day.” Well as much as that would be nice, UNCW does have a strong focus on academics and you need to be able to prioritize.

  8. Micale, I agree with you that once you actually get submerged into University life, the beach becomes an afterthought. But I disagree with you as well, I look AWESOME in orange. Anyway, I digress. I think that while the beach itself doesn’t completely encompass our lives as students, it does play off of who we are as UNCW students. We talked in class about the identity of students specifically at UNCW, and came to the realization that we may call ourselves “laid back”, but others might see it as lazy. Although, many people try very hard for their grades as I noticed by my class averages and seeing people grinding away in Randall at 4 in the morning. I think a better term for our student population would be “unmotivated” for certain non-academics. We really don’t seem to become unified around our sports or show up for campus events. I think that relates a lot to the beach mentality. People only go to the beach to relax, and when you think of the beach, you think of relaxing and being calm. We have a tranquil student body that plays off of the University’s brand narrative. As for correcting our unmotivated ways, I haven’t got a clue. ACE and CAIC try to promote events to the best of their ability, but still people never show up in record numbers. Maybe the beach is a blessing and a curse.

    • This is very true that the beach can have both positive and negative impacts on the university. We believe that it is important to focus on the positive and strive to correct the negative aspects like the ones you mentioned above. Thanks for your impact.

  9. I liked this blog in particular because it stands out. I have been a student here at UNCW for the past 3 years and teal has become a brand I am glad to support here in Wilmington. I have learned in my integrated marketing class that the colors that were chosen for UNCW were strategically chosen because of our location as well as our laid back personality. However I also agree that even though we have a laid back personality as a whole our teal driven machine is very dedicated to it success and excellence in academics as well as athletics.

  10. This blog stood out to me instantly because of the different color font and evident enthusiasm within the text. This is my third year at UNCW and my wardrobe has progressively gotten “more teal” over time. I think that it is great to directly relate a color to our university to create a brand because we, as students at UNCW, need a way to show our pride. UNCW is not a traditional school when it comes to many things but I feel like we are headed in the right direction when it comes to our brand. The only criticism I do have is that we need to see our brand more. We not only need to define a clear brand (which you mentioned is already defined) but we need to make that brand apparent to EVERY student on campus. From day one, everyone should know what UNCW is all about. Even people on the outside of the university should feel the pride we have in what we have created!

  11. I transferred here to UNCW last year as a sophomore. I grew up in MA by the water and have always wanted to travel down to the south. When I made the decision to go to UNCW, being close to the beach, did make a decision for me because it reminded me a lot of home. Wilmington and UNCW are like a second home for me. This feeling has developed over the year and a half that I have been here and it has grown so much because of the school…Not because of the “laid-back lifestyle” we live, nor that “our life is your vacation.”
    Students are not on vacation here, we are here to learn and get a great education. And although the beach is a little distraction, we are able to control the temptation, and still receive good grades.

    I feel that mostly every student here is proud to be part of this community.

  12. As you guys talked about in IMC teal is a major part of our brand at UNCW. Although the color alone doesn’t define who we are as a school it certainly helps to bring some cohesiveness to our image. Its great that you all recognize what our brand is to the outside world and that you want to see it expand and grow. Thanks for commenting!

  13. I definitely agree with this post – the beach is definitely a large part of UNCW’s brand narrative, but it doesn’t compose the entirety of the “UNCW brand.” In a recent IMC class, we talked about the brand narrative of our campus, and although we identify a lot with the “chill,” “laid back” lifestyle that is associated with UNCW, it is very true that our academic lifestyle here is, I think, much more important. I think that your observation that “we know that going to class does not mean sunbathing, surfing, and collecting seashells” is spot on – the beach is a factor that may entice us to consider UNCW in the application process, but the strong academics and welcoming community are what makes us want to stay.

  14. As a UNCW student I am very proud of the narrative brand that our school promotes in every aspect. If we weren’t before we are all from the beach now and being the Seahawks and our main color being the color of the ocean we live and die with that beach being right there. I also believe our brand is very non-verbal and runs through the students on this campus. We all live a “teal lifestyle,” one that is very laid-back and approachable. This brand I believe makes prospective students believe that there is something about this school that is unique and would never show up on a paper full of numbers.

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