Most colleges and universities tend to be pretty restrictive when it comes to usage or alteration of their logos. But Toronto’s OCAD University just unveiled a new look that invites students to play around with it.
The icons shown above are examples of how the new OCAD U logo can become what Fast Company describes as a “mini art gallery” for the school’s art and design students. Created by Bruce Mau Design, the new logo’s largest frame is an open canvas. While the mark provides a nod to one of OCAD U’s most prominent buildings, the Sharpe Center for Design, “its primary purpose,” writes Fast Company’s Suzanne LaBarre, “is to show off students’ creative toils.” The school plans to invite its top students each year to contribute something from their portfolio to transform that open frame into logos for the following year.
It’s a risky approach, and one that could drive brand identity police nuts. But in this era of social media, when so many of us talk about how we don’t “control” the brand, we’ve still been pretty strict about allowing much flexibility with our organizations’ visual identities. Maybe it’s time we brand managers relinquish some control of the visual brand, too. OCAD U is leading the way.
Congratulations to Steve Virtue, OCAD U’s director of marketing and communications, who has been shepherding the design process since the university first announced its partnership with Bruce Mau Design last September.