It still feels really good to have gotten things so right. After designing a process that was transparent, open, even – altruistic in nature, the feedback is still extremely positive. The PR we got out of the US press was great and has included high notes from über brand commentator Armin Vit as well as a decent review from Fast Company.
Sure, there have been some designers and opinionated individuals who have compared the work to Aol., MySpace and others who have geeked out on line weight and typography to name a few, but the end state ultimately was a product of the process. Recognize for a moment how hard it is to deliver an identity for an Art & Design University.
In designing the consultation process with the team at Bruce Mau Design however, the core concept was that we had to be true to who we are as an Art & Design University. I insisted that we follow best practice and having consulted with both faculty, the Chair of the Graphic Design program and Deans, I am very proud of the fact that we didn’t veer off onto a hypocritical course, saying one thing and doing another. I endeavoured at each point to include more consultation into the process so that we could ensure that the principles were consistent with what we teach in the classroom.
We used a variety of techniques, including social media, email consultation, in class sessions with both graduate and undergraduate students, public forums, interviews with key stakeholders and did our best to ensure that everyone had an opportunity to ‘have your say‘ (the name of our on campus campaign).
Did it work? The results and ensuing media and social media feedback has been extremely supportive of the change. Naturally, this could play out of the weeks and years ahead and we’re prepared for that. The proof for me however also lays within the variety of engagements that netted strong positive bias. For example, our public workshops resulted in participation from Alumni that had not been on campus for over 40 years. That is positive. Our digital survey gathered feedback from stakeholders in a dozen or so countries spread across 4 continents is also very positive. The fact that we have gained so much attention, positive PR for the institution as a result of this – is extremely positive.
This process has also had the markings of having had a galvanizing effect on the OCAD University community. People like it, and together are talking about things in a new way. I had a colleague who has been doing her job for 20 years hug me and while shedding some tears tell me that she had given up on the institution. She commented on the density of bureaucracy weighed on her and how she had generally just become cynical, but when she watched the video she gained a sense of renewed enthusiasm for her job. It really doesn’t get better than that.