Creative consultancy Purpose has rebranded Oxford and Cherwell Valley College Group with a new name and monochrome visual identity.
The group, which is now called Activate Learning, is made up of three further education colleges – Reading, City of Oxford and Banbury & Bicester – and two University Technical Colleges that offer work-based training for 14 to 19-year-olds.
Purpose was asked to create a brand family for the group and give it a more unified, coherent image. The visual identity combines a series of geometric patterns and a ‘symbolically aspirational’ A monogram made up of chevrons.
The new name and strapline ‘Further than Education’ is based on the group’s aim “to provide transformational learning that [is] more than a stepping stone between school and university.”
“We set out to reflect the enterprising spirit of the colleges…present a very bold and energetic identity that would be reflective of the Activate name…and enable the in-house team to design more confidently,” says creative director Rob Howsam.
“Following the newly produced brand guidelines, and with art directional support from Purpose, a small marketing team have produced a host of publications to very limited timeframes. Purpose also provided some digital consultation and a limited suite of web templates which the in-house team were able to populate and build full sites with,” he adds.
While the new identity groups the colleges under one brand name, each will still be able to use their own logos and accent colours. “Black and white is used in group communications to provide a strong unifying backdrop to a broad spectrum of vibrant accent colours. Each college has then adopted its own unique background colour,” says Howsam.
“The group identity and colleges all share the Activate mark and a common graphic approach, but they have flex in the use of content, colour and language. The relationship of the colleges to the parent group is clearly and consistently communicated across all communications, [but] the way the identity is used will depend upon context,” he adds.
Creating a flexible identity that appeals to teenagers, business and the local community on a limited budget is a complex task, but Purpose have devised a bold scheme that can be easily managed and updated over time, and the monogram, monochrome graphics and clear mission statement should help the colleges build stronger, more coherent local campaigns.