Brand Communication and Design Principles

Brand Standards

Informed by the UBC Communications and Marketing Strategy and Place and Promise: The UBC Plan, the UBC Brand standards provide direction for marketing and communications staff, designers, and consultants who are responsible for translating the university’s key messages across a diverse spectrum of print and digital channels that target the university’s local, national, and international audiences. The main communication goal is to provide a consistent and engaging Tier One user experience across UBC’s many touchpoints.

Supporting Brand Messaging

UBC is the Tier One international research-intensive university that, better than any other, offers a fresh, open environment that provides the freedom to learn, discover and contribute in one’s own way. Aside from its research excellence, the most distinct and powerful aspects of the UBC Brand lie in its emotional attributes. Brand research indicates that UBC is perceived to have an appealing, open environment that welcomes bold ideas, fresh thinking, and creative approaches. Proof points for the UBC Brand positioning strategy exist as specific words, namely: Bold, Open, Connected, Fun, Adventurous, Globally Aware and Globally Respected. Like the ideas that come from UBC, the communication tone is bold and fresh. Our stories consistently and unabashedly remind others of the influence that UBC’s expansive environment and refreshing openness have on how we learn, explore, and give back.

Design Content and Style

In order to support the key messaging and build equity for the UBC Brand, communication materials generated for the university should reflect the strategic design standards of a Tier One university. This statement begs the question: What does a Tier One university look like? There will be an ongoing and dynamic response to this question as units are challenged to meet the increasingly sophisticated level of communication design competing in the marketplace.

Effective communication design is about finding the right combination of concept, content, words, and images. Listed below are general parameters for communication projects:

  • The design brief has clear communication objectives
  • The solution is based on a sound visual and design strategy
  • The design solution is conceptually based
  • The design solution is clean and handsome
  • The design solution is contemporary and fresh
  • The design solution demonstrates typographic discipline
  • The design solution respects white space and the liberal use of white as a metaphor for open space
  • The design solution meets the communication objectives

Evaluation and Evolution

Designing a consistent look and feel for UBC will require a phased approach for implementation, a strong commitment to quality, and a sound visual strategy. Ongoing dialogues and critical evaluation will ensure improvement of the university’s communication materials will raise the general level of design in all areas and will communicate UBC’s excellence.