“Going Around in Circles”
Established in 1988 — although it can trace its roots back to Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, which was established in 1833 — the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) is a public university in Sydney, Australia, offering over 130 undergraduate and 210 postgraduate courses across traditional and emerging disciplines such as architecture, built environment, business, communication, design, education, engineering, information technology, international studies, law, midwifery, nursing, pharmacy and science. UTS is part of the Australian Technology Network — a group of five universities “committed to working with industry and government to deliver practical and professional courses” — and has an enrollment of over 40,000 students, making it one of the largest universities in Australia. Launched internally last month and to be rolled out over the next 18 months, UTS has introduced a new identity designed by local firm Houston Group.
Fusing creativity with technology, and born from the idea of visually representing the often intangible world of technology and data, Houston Group has built a responsive and adaptive brand identity, which provides total flexibility across the many functions of UTS.
The logo was evolved first along with a more flexible colour palette – Houston refined and modernised the UTS emblem so that it better reflects UTS’s position as a contemporary, young, vibrant university.
Houston Group provided press release
While the logo hasn’t been significantly altered, the changes are very positive, freeing the icon from the container rectangle it was sequestered in and switching to a sans serif whose weight matches that of the icon’s lines. If you are wondering, as I was, what the icon means: It’s an anchor drawn from the coat of arms of the City of Sydney coupled with one of the spirals of the double helix in the representation of the DNA molecule. The new lock-up is solid and simple and the wordmark stands competently on its own.
Houston developed data visualisation software in conjunction with Mentally Friendly and UTS. This software allows UTS to input unique sets of data about its faculties, students and research, to create intelligent and connected graphics, which will feature prominently in the university’s branded collateral and marketing campaigns. These “infinite” graphics give UTS a living, ever-evolving brand.
Houston Group provided press release
Of all the visualizer/data-manipulation thingies we’ve seen recently — particularly from the neighboring Sydney School of Entrepreneurship — this isn’t the most impressive or yielding of exciting results that could easily be achieved in a day’s worth of Adobe Illustrator work… a week, if you wanted to capture a bunch of different patterns. I would call it more of a layout randomizer than a visualizer as I get no better sense of the school from whatever these graphics are visualizing. The stylistic sets are also very disparate: you have thin white lines on black, pixels, overlapping circle columns, basic triangles and squares… it’s hard to tell what the relationship between any of these is.
Like most visualizers, though, the results are visually engaging and there are some interesting things happening in some of the program covers as well as how the logo lock-up is used inside a square as an accent to the materials. Overall, it feels “tech”, paying off of on the university’s name and it also has a contemporary aesthetic that should be attractive to each incoming generation but, beyond the surface, it falls a little flat and doesn’t offer a more interesting take on visualizer tools than what we’ve seen before.