“Getting in Shape”
Established in 2016, Sydney School of Entrepreneurship (SSE) is a new partnership between twelve tertiary institutions — eleven of them universities and one, TAFE NSW, a vocational school — in the Australian state of New South Wales. Funded by the NSW government and modeled after the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship in Sweden, the SSE aims to attract 1,000 students each year to its program that will be part of existing undergraduate degrees at each partner university with the mission “to establish new generations of entrepreneurs with a wider world view”. The identity for SSE has been designed by Sydney-based For The People.
Driven by data streams from students, the school and the NSW economy, the new SSE brand expresses the personality of the students, the activity within the school and the economic success stories SSE creates. The brand visually reflects the performance of the school in real time, creating a unique logo on a daily basis. It forms both a visual record of the school’s impact, as well as the opportunity to visualise what future successes might look like.
A dynamic generator allows students to create their own personal logo, based upon character traits prevalent in successful entrepreneurs. This is aggregated into the SSE brand, along with data drawing from the physical activity within the campus and the constantly changing economic data of NSW.
The inputs that drive the logo — “students”, “school activity”, and “economy” — are far from scientifically rigorous and highly subjective (other than whether school is in session or not) so they really are just fancy excuses for making a flexible logo system which, to be honest, works for me. I like the results generated by the logo app, revolving around a minimal geometric SSE skeleton that uses shapes from the building where the SSE will be headquartered. The logos also manage to capture the broadness of the notion of entrepreneurship through a set of logos that look “busy” and kind of exciting but you don’t exactly know why or how, just like the hype around entrepreneurship (i.e., I could call UnderConsideration an entrepreneurial venture but, no, we are just out here busting our asses trying to make a living on our own in unconventional ways and don’t try to package it as entrepreneurship, but I digress).
The generative icons lend themselves really well for applications, establishing a bold and vibrant aesthetic that stretches equally well from business cards to website.
Apart from the logo generator, there is a type generator for headlines and other elements of the application. The inputs get a little more douchey — settings like “cognitive” and “micro”/”macro” make my skin crawl — but, again, the results are engaging and cool-looking. More importantly and less relevantly than my own personal sentiments, this literally speaks the language of entrepreneurship in a way that will be empowering for the administration behind the school and the two generator tools are perfect for helping them create materials they can stand behind.
The whole identity uses Px Grotesk, a cool, techie-looking font that makes it clear SSE isn’t your typical university course; I’m not a huge fan of the font but it does have a killer “a”. Further in application there is the inclusion of colorful geometric shapes that are bigger versions of the shapes used in the logos and type. These literally add another dimension to the application that looks cool but maybe starts to get too frenetic. Overall, this has a contemporary, visually exciting aesthetic that may not have a huge lifespan — five years before it changes? — but has the right bombastic-ness for launching this program.