Saturday, 14 March 2015

OUGD406 - Brief 03 - UCA Re-design (Research)

UCA rebrand 
For over 160 years, we have been at the leading edge of creative innovation in the UK, producing extraordinary art, artists and creative industry influencers who have gone on to provoke change and challenge in the arts.

Our new visual identity reflects our belief in freedom, experimentation, collaboration, criticism and rigour in the creative arts. Designed in partnership with Tony Brook at SPIN (London), UCA's new visual style and brand philosophy aims to reimagine how a creative university communicates about its people, activities and ambitions and reaffirms what a specialist creative arts institution offers through its unique further and higher education communities.





Branding a specialist creative arts institution is tricky, and this was particularly the case for us because we have so many design and marketing experts, all of whom have an opinion and so needed to be engaged in the project and its outcome. This creative and critical audience meant that a particular kind of agency and designer had to be found.
As our Vice Chancellor, Simon Ofield-Kerr explains:
"Spin and Tony Brook just worked right from the start because, rather than pitching their approach, they began a real discussion about the project that immediately engaged us in a collaborative exploration of design possibilities, informed by all of their experience working for clients within and beyond the creative industries.
We are the second largest creative university in the country, with 160 years of history and campuses in Canterbury, Epsom, Farnham and Rochester. Each of these has its own distinctive strengths, particular character and range of courses, and so our new brand needed to be flexible enough to represent all of these and more.
But above all, it needed to embody what we are about - to manifest our commitment to excellent design and to enable, as well as articulate, the creativity that is at the core of everything we do. It was obvious from that first meeting that Tony was genuinely excited by the project, but also, more importantly for us, would find it a fun one to develop through on-going and sometimes challenging engagements with a project team that included designers and marketing experts with strong views about what they wanted to achieve.
Through the initial research phase of the project, Spin established that what we required was a brand that worked with the creative philosophy of UCA, not as a white‐hot imposition but rather a familiar provocation for future creativity. For UCA, the materiality and metaphor of the stencil, which underpins the new brand, is just so well judged with all its possibilities, repetitions and - most importantly - its frustrating limitations, all of which are an incitement to manipulation and transformation.
These coordinates of freedom and rigour underpin UCA's new brand because they are fundamental in the creative development of each of our students, and this has been the case for students in British art and design schools and colleges throughout the twentieth century and beyond. At UCA we seek to develop two key attributes in our students: material and digital skills alongside, and in the context of, a creative expectation that has no prescription for what will eventually be produced. Quite simply, they must make the stencil create something we have not seen before.
Tony and his colleagues at Spin have given us a strong and resilient stencil in the most fundamental lock‐up of our new brand, and, further, they have provided the first exploration of what can be achieved when it is transformed. Most radically, in branding terms, they have initiated a process through which our brand can respond to the creativity of our staff and students as a tool which opens up, rather than limits, individual and collective possibilities for self‐representation."





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