A university's brand has become an important asset in today’s ultra-competitive higher education sector. Universities have to adapt to the changing world we live in, be more agile and think and act more like large commercial organisations. So, the ability to create a strong brand position that can resonate with multiple external audiences and connect and pull together all parts of the university internally is no easy task.
And notably in an institution this size, everyone is at different stages of understanding and interest in how to leverage brand and marketing to meet their own goals.
We approached the project with two clear objectives...
To create a genuine and engaging brand story and to build a visually compelling brand equal to the output of the university.
We made a number of decisions early on in the process - The Queen’s logo needed to be strengthened, not just from a visual or aesthetic point of view, but to something that has inherent value and meaning - that adds to the story of Queen’s with heritage and credibility on a global stage. The typography needed to be bolder and stronger with a more visible ownership of Belfast - one of Europe’s fastest growing cities. And we needed to move from a vast palette of colours led by a dull red to a bright vibrant red as a core colour that the university could take ownership of in their sector.
The existing Queen's 'Q' identity didn't match the needs of a university that had to build on its strengths and heritage to compete in the international student and academic recruitment market. The high standards that Queen's sets and the impact it has on the world carries a seal of approval in the form of their coat of arms that dates back to the early 1900s. This crest is individual to Queen's and embodies the 160 year heritage of the university and symbolises many of the unique aspects and values that we wanted to bring to the forefront of brand and marketing communications.
Queen’s University previous logo
Queen’s University new logo
We re-drew the elements within the crest, increased the width to give it more presence and rounded the base to give it a more unique and recognisable shape - transforming the existing crest into a modern and contemporary brand identity. Central to the new identity would be simplicity, colour and form.
The Queen’s brackets system is a brand device used to bring focus to key insights and proof points of how Queen’s is Shaping a Better World, expressed as either facts, statements, imagery or headlines.
Inspired by the Queen’s crest identity and using the angles of the shield enabled us to create a graphic system that ensures a visual consistency across all of our collateral. The brackets can vary in size, and positioning, creating a flexible approach that encourages a creative expression across all Queen’s University communications.
Our research stage helped us identify key areas for success, values and core brand pillars. We have used these as a foundation to connect the whole university behind one confident statement that forms the brand purpose of Queen’s. The key factor that every academic, student and staff member is engaged in doing every day... and has been since 1845... ‘Shaping a better world’
What we do here at Queen’s touches thousands of lives everyday all around the world. Our leading-edge education and research is focused on the needs of a connected global society and is driven by a culture that’s alive with the spirit of curiosity and a passion for knowledge.
We’re constantly in the pursuit of excellence to find the solutions to real world issues and inspiring research to have real world impact. Together, we meet the challenges of our time head on. We provide answers to questions that reach out far beyond the walls of our university. Answers that come from intensive research, years of experience and expertise forged from some of the most exceptional minds in the world.