University of the Arts London New Identity
The University of the Arts London has just unveiled its new identity designed by Pentagram. CR talked to the studio’s Domenic Lippa and UAL’s director of communication Dee Searle about the project, and what it will mean for the university’s six famous art and design colleges.
Pentagram began working on the identity project in January, having been approached to pitch for the work in November last year.
The previous UAL identity, created by a team of students and developed by Lloyd Northover in 2004, was based on a constellation device. Each of the six UAL colleges was represented by an asterisk which showed its relation to the others within the capital. In communications material from Central Saint Martins, for example, the college name appeared in red under the UAL name, with its constituent ‘star’ highlighted in the same colour.
“UAL decided it need to refresh its strategic and visual identity, primarily because the previous one was done when the university was still young,” says Searle. “And it spoke of separations rather than the value-add you get from six of the world’s top art and design colleges coming together.” (Founded as the London Institute in 1986, the collective of five colleges was granted university status in 2004 and remaned as UAL, with Wimbledon College of Art joining in 2006.)
Lippa also observed that, within UAL, “there was a lack of respect for the identity, it wasn’t working for them,” he says. “They didn’t like what they were using.”
The new identity takes a much simpler typographic approach, rendering the university’s initials in lowercase Helvetica, with a colon acting as the bridge between the main university and its six colleges.