Known as ‘the spark’ in the brand guidelines this a bold graphic device. It reminds of a volcano and such an obviously dynamic thing wouldn’t look out of place in a vorticist publication.
I found it vaguely reminiscent of the Illuminati Pyramid (which btw, is an entertaining 10 mins of crazy).
Whatever it suggests to me it’s certainly energetic, though quite a tricky shape to get text to work with. I don’t think the choice of a very heavy Futura provides any much needed variety to the logo. The overall feel is very dense and it would have been nice to see the typeface compliment the strength of the spark.
I couldn’t see anything in the guidelines explaining what the graphic element of this logo is all about. It looks like a scribbled starburst – perhaps signifying energy and dynamism in that oblique and abstract way that logos often claim to.
It certainly is lively and bold and as such a good a mark as any. More problematic for me is the combination of a Garamond-esque Uppercase ‘Solent’ in between some Gills Sans-ish ‘Southampton’ and “University’. The larger serifed S jars against the clean and confident nature of the rest of the logo. Strangely the uppercase serif seems a timid conservative choice in an otherwise sprightly idea.
The original, flat logo is an elegant combination of the letters creating a versatile and lasting brand. As covered on Daivid Airey’s logo love there is also a subtle nod to the historical use of shields in other university branding. I’m not sure what the addition of the gradients and shadow to the logo are meant to achieve. For me. they are just modish distractions from a basic classic.
Also worth mentioning is the University’s misson for distance learning meant that there was a very strong motion graphics component to the brand. Generations grew up with the Open University idents on day time and late night television as seen in this youtube video
Finally, I can’t mention the Open University without linking to this Fry and Laurie sketch.
Using Gill Sans in white on a blue background seems a pretty safe, modern-ish option for this logo, but it’s then accompanied by a particularly awkward gold ‘S’ curve on a pale blue square. It’s not immediately obvious what (if anything) the shape is alluding to which only makes the random nature of the curve worse. It certainly isn’t a graceful shape, not helped by the way that it protrudes out of the top of the box.
The brand guidelines do a valiant job of defending the space around the logo to make it work, but I’m not sure the idea of an abstract shape that can be used to provide some suggestion of dynamism or energy works when the shape is so distracting and puzzling.
I think the shape itself is a pretty appealing, with now jarring sharp angles or edges. It’s a prototypical unthreatening shape. Vaguely dynamic in a clincal way. The typography contained within is a nice contrast. Very specifically, Helvetica Neue LT Pro is the typeface – adding to the medical feel.
The most interesting information gleaned from the guidelines is the system of specific graphic devices designed to use the logo in an illustrative capacity.
Called the ‘river lockup’ the plectrum is combined with a representation of the River Thames made up of multiple coloured circles. Apparently reprsenting a journey of transformation, there are detailed explanations and variations for many different combinations.
I think the idea of a system of graphic devices to support the brand is an innovative one. In addition to the River device, there is the stream and the orbs, which combine with the logo to give designers tasked with creating interesting brand compliant work a solid set of tools. How they put these elements together is the challenge.
Awarded University status in 1992, the University has used the trusty combination of a modern sans-serif combined with a nicely simplified crest. The typeface looks like a Univers – Futura combination, all kicked off with a very pointed ‘A’.
The leaves and bud (or is it an acorn?) – I’m no expert on trees – in two tones of green are arranged to slightly suggest of a letter Y, but not too obviously so. Combined with the thin and even sans serif the overall feel is perhaps a little generic medical. The letter ‘r’s have some pretty distinctive shoulders (I think that’s what they are called) and no dots over the ‘i’s is unusual.
The combination of the differing word order systems of English and Welsh is used to create a word-mark with top – bottom symmetry. Both languages are rendered in a typeface that seems to be a combination inscriptional/sans-serif, that also manages to suggest calligraphy. The subtle curves on the strokes and the different sizes of the letters create a craft-like effect that seems to be a nod to the celtic roots of Wales, similar in feel to that used on the Wales Millenium Centre The simple placement of rectangles above each other, in effect combines two logos, and they are brought together by the muted red.
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.
Vaguely reminiscent of a bio hazard sign, this logo is described in the identity toolkit as a link symbol, it is explained thus –
bq. The Link is made up of three connected Cs, which stand for Canterbury Christ Church. It also signifies the three core activities of the University: teaching, research, and administration.
Again, the detailed toolkit tells us that the Typeface is Humanist 777 by Adiran Frutiger.
The combination of these two things make this logo fairly typical of a new university style. The slightly generic symbol and sans-serif combination makes for a mildly antiseptic logo, though it needs to said the long name makes it a challenge to be compact. Trading personality in this way makes it difficult to imagine any real affection for the logo, instead pursuing a low risk strategy.