Designer: Bruce Mau Design
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
OCAD University Visual Identity
OCAD University had achieved degree-granting status. They needed a new identity reflecting that status. BMD's design, inspired by OCAD U's iconic Alsop-designed building, reflects an inclusive, vibrant and vital institution built on creativity, risk and innovation. More system than logo, modular frames hold actual student art and design work.An extensive research phase was key to understanding this complex institution. By facilitating interviews, designing multiple workshops, disseminating questionnaires, leading classroom discussions, connecting through social media—we were able to excavate the stories and spirit of OCAD U. The synthesis of this material led us to a robust set of 5 design principles that would guide the design work. The visual identity needed to be a true reflection of what we heard and saw. We also engaged in a highly iterative sketching phase exploring a wide variety of directions. After a concept was chosen we worked closely with design faculty on the steering committee to finesse the final design.
Core77: How did you learn that you had been recognized by the jury?
We really enjoyed the live webcast announcing those recognized in each category. It was great, about 14 or so members of the BMD studio crowded around one computer as the notables and runner-up were being mentioned. When we finally heard we were the winner in the Graphics/Branding/Identity category a large cheer erupted, this was followed by silence listening closely to what the jury had to say about the work. It was a fun morning, and then well... back to work!
What's the latest news or development with your project?
The OCAD Identity was recently mentioned in an article on interactive and mutable logos on FastCo. Design.
What is 1 quick anecdote about your project?
We understood all along this was truly a collaborative effort with OCAD University, it could not have happened without the insight and support of the administrators, faculty, staff, and students. BMD and OCAD made this identity together. That said, designing for designers (and artists!) is a challenge, one we are glad to have experienced. Further, two of the designers on the project Mike Dudek and Chris Braden are OCAD Alumni. Dudek says, "having your recent past professors and administrators as your client was gut wrenchingly daunting, but in the end it was the most rewarding final critique I could ever experience."
Read on for full details on the project and jury comments.