With over 25,000 students Ulster is one of the largest universities on the island of Ireland. Internationally, it is amongst the top 3% of universities and within the world’s top 150 young universities. The overall student satisfaction has consistently outperformed national benchmarks and they have established themselves as research leaders, nationally and globally, in many of their areas of expertise. Despite this, a passive approach to brand positioning and communications had left the university without the personality or story to match their strength of output.
As a result Ulster had no competitive edge or clear point of differentiation when it came to competing for new undergraduates, postgraduates and crucially, international students. Our creative strategy was informed deeply by the insights we uncovered in our research stage. In particular we found that there was a culture of determination and ambition that has been a constant driving force within the university dating back to when it was first established in 1984 and is still burning strong today
Powers new ideas and fresh thinking. It’s at the heart of product invention and innovation, healthcare, drug research, financial services, sport, theatre or charity, In fact, every sector, every entrepreneur, every business and organisation everywhere in the world is driven by people who embrace these four words….
We believe personality is a key driver of organisations. People look for personality in an organisation for the same reason they look for it in people. It helps us decide who we trust, who we admire and who we would like to work with.
It’s the tangible characteristics that make us unforgettable to our target audiences and differentiate us from competitors.
Our brand position for Ulster is genuine, unique to them and already embedded in their culture. Ulster University has always been about progress. The idea of moving forward, renewal and growth are woven into its history. Which is why from a standing start in 1984 it is now in the top 3% of universities in the world.
‘We Believe in Brave’ is the new internal mantra that personifies that. When we believe in brave, we spark the ideas that can change the world, create new ways for students to collaborate and learn and researchers to apply their thinking.
It’s the fuel of inspiration that enables Ulster to meet every challenge with courage, curiosity and conviction in a university that puts ambition at the heart of everything it does.
Our design system acts as a unique brand platform that can be continuously creative and different, but always distinctly Ulster University. It’s based on the idea that the university is a multi-faceted organisation with many, many layers across different subjects, personalities, sectors and geographies. Every time you peel off a layer, you will find something innovative, inventive, dynamic and exciting.
It’s a simple, but smart layout system that enables us to modulate our voice from quiet to loud and utilise a great flexibility that mixes images with typography and colour within a grid that allows you to build up multiple layers to tell your story.
Creating the Brand Position
Grid Layout Principals
There is no right or wrong way for laying out designs using the grid. The examples shown here, are all different, but all of them use the layering technique, while also conforming to the structure of the grid.
The grid encourages designers to create exciting, creative outcomes, that answer the brief, but keep our outputs looking fresh, relevant and on brand.