The name UCLAN seems at little cumbersome, but since UCL is taken I guess it makes sense.
A pretty figurative approach is taken on the rendering of the roses, instead of a the more abstract approach often taken by the newer universities. It’s difficult to see past the red rose as a symbol to use when talking about Lancashire since it is so strongly associated with the county. Unsure why there are two. Whilst they sit tidily enough, the placement of the roses and foliage doesn’t seem to add any great sense of tension or balance in the logo. A little bit of Pareidolia has the user vaguley aware of pair of eyes looking out. In fact the pair of red eyes put me in mind of an L S Lowry painting – The Man with the Red Eyes. I think this might be a bit of a reach , but an interesting association nevertheless.
The font looks similar to Frutiger. A legible choice, though used very plainly all in lowercase, giving it a strange, passive voice.
If you look closely (and I hope you enjoyed the reference), you can see representations of the human figure in various states of motion, which combine to make up a rose. You can see this more clearly in the previous version of the logo, which perhaps suggests that the new version is aiming to emphasise yorkshire rose’s prominence rather than the more generic people. Oddly enough, I found that once I’ve seen the people in the logo, I now have a little trouble seeing it as a rose.
Set in all lower case and displayed around the rose, the text is condensed Helvetica Neue Condensed leading to a vaguely utilitarian feel. Not sure about the alignment the text – I feel that a strong vertical alignment might have provided a better contrast with the looser flower style.
Suggestive of a Whirlwind, Orange peel, the Pepsi logo, James Bond’s gun barrel and maybe even some swimming dolphins. This circular mark certainly has some energy to it. With such an open, abstract mark there’s potential for people to come up with more of their own interpretations. The intention is clearly to use a dynamic, eye-catching device to signal a young and fresh institution.
Does it do that? Partly. The colours are bright and allied with the boldness of the painterly marks means it is almost overpowering. It does look like something stopped in mid animation, and the circle is a strong focal point. However, a trade off seems to have been made with a slightly generic abstraction used at the expense of a more specific sense of place.
The choice of the modern Flux Regular all set in lowercase, for the trading name ‘bucks new university’ fits with the idea to make a distinctive, bright first impression. It seems odd to use all lowercase, when the uppercase B of Flux seems to have the quirkiness of the odd shape bowl of the ‘b’ but with a stronger vertical. The ‘new university’ has a tint applied to give more prominence to ‘bucks’.
Delighting in ‘bucking’ convention in a strategy to stand out, the logo does draw on a different visual vocabulary from usual university logos. I wonder though, whether such in your face dynamism can be maintained.
A modern and simplified interpretation of a shield with waves intersecting and reversing out. I presume that the waves refer to the hot water spa that Bath is famous for. The blue and grey (or silver, as it’s referred to in the guidelines) makes for a very light logo. One that reminds me of beauty or health products; the washed out feel is avoided in the black and white version which is altogether stronger.
The wordmark of the logo uses DIN to continue the almost antiseptically clean feel to this logo. The location of Bath isn’t stressed as much as say, the University of Bath, but perhaps that is a reflection of the newness of the organisation – granted university status in 2005 – in this context the word ‘University’ acts as a reminder of the hard won status. The choice of such an open typeface redolent as it is, of signage is to speak in an accessible, approachable and technological voice.
Variations on a theme
When used on the website, the shield is accompanied by text rendered in Arial, making a bolder and dare I say a more confident mark.
On the cover of the prospectus the shield is used without the close proximity of the text and it gains some stature by being a little enigmatic.
Without the obvious visual shorthand of heraldry to draw upon, Bath Spa have gone for a modern almost pictographic device, which draws upon a different tradition of flat colours and graphic shapes used by newer institutions. I think more versatile and successful in monochrome.