September 10, 2010
The start of a new academic year is an exciting time across campus, including here at On Campus News world headquarters.
With this issue, we’re resuming our bi-weekly publishing schedule but with some changes. One is a new back page feature we’re calling Campus Close-up, a fun contest that requires keen eyes and audience participation. Check it out, but come right back.
Those with really keen eyes will also have noticed a slight change to the design of OCN. Have a look at our new banner on Page 1, but come right back.
What you see is the visual interpretation of the outcome of the University of Saskatchewan’s positioning project, a process started last year to determine our unique place within Canada’s post-secondary sector. In other words, the goal was to determine what credibly differentiates us from other universities in a way that matters to stakeholders.
In the end, our position was made clear – the U of S is a collaborative and dynamic learning environment that offers the freedom and support necessary to push the boundaries of knowledge. Our interdisciplinary approach gives us unique perspectives on the pressing issues of the day, and our determination and dedication, which some might refer to as our ‘prairie spirit,’ allows us to be leaders in many areas of specialty.
But how do we translate those words into visuals? That was a task undertaken by a group of talented designers from across campus, including OCN designer Brian Kachur. Through an exciting exchange of creative ideas emerged an updated look for the University of Saskatchewan built around vibrant greens and a collection of squares. If you’ve ever flown over this province in summer when our millions of acres of farmland are displaying their trademark patchwork pattern of colour and texture, you’ll understand the inspiration.
Kachur explained that the new look of interconnected squares points to the sum being greater than its parts, as it is at the U of S. The designers also chose a variety of new greens, a modern and more vibrant take on the university’s traditional colour.
The new visuals are being incorporated throughout the newspaper, some uses being subtler than others but all reflecting our position. In addition to the colours and squares, an adjustment has been made to the weight of the type used in our banner, again to modernize the look and feel.
The entire visual package, which will be used in everything the university produces, also relies heavily on outstanding photography and the strategic use of clean white space, both of which give materials an uncluttered and rather prestigious feel. Both will be evident in OCN as we strive to tell the university’s stories in an effective as well as visually appealing way. We, after all, know that a picture is worth a thousand words.
As designers begin to adopt the new visual system, you will be seeing it in many places – other publications, ads, letterhead, the banners on College Drive – but this is evolutionary change rather than revolutionary change. The look of university materials, including OCN, will mature and coalesce over time but we’re excited to be a part of this important first step.