Re 39 UNSW – Bring your difference

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Directors
    Andy Thomas (ECD), Shannon Bell
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Directors
    Annika Weller, Toby Magrath (UI/UX)
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Megan Schierhout, Jane Duru, James Marquet, Sonja Kallstrom, Harry Tuckwell, Sarah Burling, Hilary Smith, Judy McLaughlan, Gerald Torto, Fredrik Torstensson (UX), Sarah Hetherington
  • Kaitautoko / Contributor
    Mark Williams
  • Client
    Livia McKenzie

As a Go8 university, UNSW has a strong reputation for academic excellence within education and research. But while its competitors occupied distinct positionings in the higher education market, UNSW struggled to articulate what made the university special in a way that would appeal to prospective future students. This genuinely world-leading institution wasn’t doing justice to the amazing achievements and stories surrounding its campus. They needed a distinctive, ownable identity that captured what made UNSW unique while appealing to future students.

Part of UNSW’s success is down to creating an environment that encourages people to think, see and do in very different ways. From its eclectic campus architecture and multicultural community, to its cross-disciplinary double degrees, UNSW celebrates difference. This observation underpinned our idea of Collective Difference – the celebration of everything that makes UNSW and its people unique.

Inspired by the quirks of our campus, our brand identity takes its lead from the shapes created when the architecture is seen from unexpected angles. From sharply geometric to soft and organic, each shape embodies a unique perspective, that, when enhanced with pattern and texture allows the brand to flex from highly expressive to more nuanced and understated. A bold colour palette that heroes UNSW’s signature yellow sets us apart in a category known for its more corporate blues and reds, and echoes the vibrant energy of new students.

The brand needed to have a youthful appeal that could live beyond the pages of the prospectus, and work hard across multiple touchpoints such as merchandise, wayfinding and corporate comms. By bringing in a custom typeface we could build extra personality into the identity, while democratising our design by using people to create geometric avatars allowed us to acknowledge and celebrate their individuality.