Simon Fraser University (SFU) is one of the largest universities in British Columbia, it is ranked in the top 1% worldwide for delivering academic and research excellence. Teaching 30,000 students across 3 campuses in subject areas ranging from science, arts, business, education, and everything in between.
SFU had identified that they needed to refresh and differentiate their brand within the post-secondary category. It was felt that the SFU community had a strong sense of who they were but that they needed to better visually express their brand to the world. The university had managed its brand using a decentralized approach which led to a lack of cohesion and poor visual consistency.
Driving the visual rebrand was a refined brand positioning based on the idea of ‘Outside Thinking’ and a new tagline ‘Canada’s Engaged University’, which brought to life SFU’s characteristics of being unconventional, fearless, compassionate and ready.
Working with an existing logo, we developed a visual identity that brought to life what makes SFU unique, and set out to clearly differentiate them from the competition.
– A simplified color palette of red, black and white was created to increase brand recall.
– Bold, hard-hitting typography feels unconventional and ready.
– Black and white journalist style photography embodies the ‘real learning’ model, feels ‘news worthy’ and ‘current’.
– Evocative copywriting engages with thought-provoking statements.
– A new brand architecture ensures brand equity and visual cohesion across the institution.
The brand rollout for SFU is ongoing, however the internal response has been extremely positive. The effectiveness of the work has been proven by the number of units and divisions across the university that have requested that their sub-brand be updated in-line with the new overall institutional brand. These have included high profile and visible university groups such as Athletics & Recreation, Spirit Shop & Bookstore, Public Square (community engagement initiative) and the Charles Chang Innovation Centre.