Earlier in 2020, the Students' Union gained a brand new Sabbatical team and a new Chief Executive. With these exciting and significant changes, it was the ideal time to look at the Union's brand identity.
We wanted to make improvements so it would better represent who we are and connect us with our members.
The Design & Comms team will walk you through our new visual identity and key points of the design process.
Since 2014, we have called ourselves 'Trinity Saint David Students' Union'. While the name worked for us then, it is not a good fit for us now. The university is not 'Trinity Saint David', it is the 'University of Wales Trinity Saint David', and known commonly as 'UWTSD'.
We carried out some research and realised a few things;
When it comes to acronyms, 'UWTSD' is recognised and used by students across all campuses. Particularly on the London & Birmingham campuses.
Using 'TSDSU' does not benefit us, and there is an increased chance of confusion. By utilising UWTSD instead of TSDSU, we establish a direct connection with the university and reduce the chance of students misidentifying us.
That's why we're moving away from 'TSDSU' and 'Trinity Saint David Students' Union', and embracing our new name 'UWTSD Students' Union'.
Comparing our logo with the university's'.
When the opportunity to rebrand the SU came up, we knew we wanted to update our logo. We looked at it with a critical eye and noticed a few issues;
Knowing what our issues were, we set out to design a new logo. Starting with colour, then moving to type and finally iconography.
Reviewing digital and printed materials: Left: Students' Union, Right: University.
We work closely with the University, so we looked at the design of the materials we produced. We noticed that the colour scheme was similar, which could result in confusion. To remedy this, we wanted to adopt a new brand colour that was different but complementary to the University.
See what colours the university was using in their marketing.
We looked at the spectrum and identified where the university positioned itself. This left us with 3 available sections; red, green and purple.
Red has notions of romance and aggression; this wasn't the right colour for us.
Green has notions of environmentalism and sustainability. While these are key values of the SU, we didn't feel that it encapsulated everything we do; it's more of a campaign colour.
Ultimately, we went with purple. It was distinctive, had notions of being calming and creative, and complimented the university colours. We then created a palette of purple shades;
Accessibility was one of our critical considerations. We wanted to ensure our palette was versatile and met accessibility standards. All our colour combinations are AAA rated on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
Avenir Next has a friendly feel, it's highly legible and is very accessible.
We wanted to go with a sans-serif fonts that came in a range of weights. Sans-serif fonts do not have the little flicks on the letters and tend to be easier to read, especially for people with dyslexia.
After much experimentation, we went with Avenir Next;
Initial text logo development. English only, Welsh only and Bilingual versions. It was more legible, but lack impact.
We striped our logo back to pure typography and embraced our new name. At this stage, we wanted to take a more considered and adaptable approach to logo usage. That's why we wanted to create three variants of our new logo;
In usage, we would prefer to use the monolingual version of our logo that aligns with the content. For example, if we create a Welsh Language video, we use the Welsh logo. And if we create an English language video, we use the English logo. We acknowledge that there may be times where only 1 logo can be used, that's why we created a bilingual version.
After experiencing some designers block with developing an icon, we noticed the apostrophe.
While the new type mark was an improvement, we felt it was lacking a bit of impact. We wanted to create an icon that would complement the type and could stand on its own. This is when we hit some designers block. We were rattling our heads to think of a logo mark that was abstract but could represent the SU. That's when we noticed the apostrophe in 'Students' Union'.
We focused on the apostrophe and used it as a metaphor.
The apostrophe is significant as it indicates student ownership. The shape itself looks like it's in motion and on the upward trajectory, symbolic of a students university experience. We then encapsulated this shape within a circle, which represents the student community and creates emphasis.
This new logo mark gave us the impact we wanted and we hope it will become a signifier of the Students' Union.
Our final logo has 4 variants, depending on usage; monolingual, bilingual and icon only.
How our icon-only logo would be used on social media.
Our new logo scales better and it legible at very small sizes.
Our new visual identity will serve the Union and our students well. It's streamlined, bold and has improved accessibility. We'll be rolling out the update in stages, and hope to have it all completed by the autumn.
✓ Unique and distinctive brand identity.
✓ Adaptable Logo.
✓ Improved Accessibility.
✓ Improved communication.
To sign off, we'll leave you with some mockup of what's to come. - Sarah & Matt (Comms Team)