Case Study

AUTM Rebrand




Association Rebrand

Brand Guidelines

Brand Identity

Brand Messaging

Brand Strategy

Collateral Development

Event Branding


Website Design

Website Strategy

Tagline Development


2020 Communicator Awards: Award of Distinction, Website

2019 EXCEL Awards: Bronze, Rebrand

2018 GDUSA: Winner, Website Redesign

Modernizing a Brand for a Reimagined Member Experience


AUTM, the leading association for the diverse technology transfer field, provides education and inspires a community of over 3,000 global professionals to develop academic research that spearheads innovations.

AUTM partnered with our team to reimagine its brand and create a new identity that reflected a modern narrative on what the organization represents.

AUTM’s original name, the Association of University Technology Managers, marginalized members who represent industries beyond higher education. The name of the association in itself didn’t accurately embody the entirety of the organization’s membership.

With 30 years since its last rebrand, AUTM’s leadership felt that the organization was in need of a name change, a refreshed visual identity to represent its modern positioning within the industry, and a website to reflect its new brand and leverage its core value of bringing research to life.


AUTM’s new brand has an inviting persona and its redesigned website injects life into the member experience and serves as an engaging entryway into the association, highlighting: its members, available technologies for members, collaborations with academic and corporate partners, and success stories of those who benefit from AUTM’s research and development.

In just three months after the AUTM website “Our leadership and our membership are very happy with the rebrand. Bates Creative’s designs have given the Association a more modern and global appeal, and more accurately reflects the innovative and inclusive approach within our Association.” redesign launched:

  •’s pageviews increased 26%
  •’s new users increased 25%
  •’s email traffic increased 102%

In addition, following AUTM’s rebrand, an increase in page views across the site occurred:

  • Annual meeting landing page views increased 29%
  • Annual meeting registration page views increased 34%
  • Webinars page views increased 51%
  • Career page visitors increased 57%
  • My AUTM membership portal page views increased 157%

The organization continues to inject its new identity into cohesive experiences, including its annual conference. Beyond Definition most recently helped to develop the event branding for AUTM’s Annual Meeting 2020.

“Our leadership and our membership are very happy with the rebrand. Bates Creative’s designs have given the Association a more modern and global appeal, and more accurately reflects the innovative and inclusive approach within our Association.”

— LEEF SMITH BARNES, Chief Marketing Officer, AUTM

Phase 1Research & Strategy

We began with in-depth research into AUTM’s current member perception to help inform the new direction the organization needed to head into. Through interviews and focus groups the team discovered that members perceived AUTM as collaborative, informed, engaged and enlightened. The new identity needed to reflect these sentiments.

Phase 2Brand Strategy & Identity

To establish a more inclusive brand identity, we dropped the former acronymically limiting definition, refreshing the association’s name to simply “AUTM.”

Old Logo

New Logo

The refreshed identity was brought to life through a new logo paired with a warm color palette to mirror AUTM’s inviting persona. The primary orange hue represents innovation, along with lowercase letters, reinforcing the association’s approachability, humanity, and warmth.

Phase 3Creative, Marketing & Interactive

We redesigned AUTM’s website experience by seamlessly integrating the new brand identity, creativity, and messaging. The redesigned website reaches all audience segments in dynamic ways, showcases the work of its members,  and drives membership growth and support for the association.

Phase 42021 Annual Meeting

AUTM’s Annual Meeting is the largest gathering of academic tech transfer professionals in the United States. Traditionally an in-person conference, the 2021 Annual Meeting was entirely virtual.

Beyond Definition worked closely with the AUTM team to develop event branding embodying the spirit and value AUTM provides to members. We created dynamic design elements paired with energetic and polished messaging for the conference. The result was an inclusive Illustrative style backdropped by the theme of “The world may have stopped, but your professional development doesn’t have to.”