This is a very old entry — images are small, formatting is off.
Named after Major General Sir Isaac Brock, who died defending Niagara from the American invasion at Queenston Heights in 1812, Brock University was established in 1964 in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada and now hosts over 17,000 students. Through all these years, I believe, an effigy of Sir Isaac Brock has served as the university’s logo, along with some brutishly old serif typeface. Last year Brock went through a much needed redesign, created by Canadian firm Target Marketing & Communication, based on the research generated by Colorado-based Educational Marketing Group who conducted “town hall meetings and focus groups and one-on-one interviews with almost 700 faculty, staff and alumni.”
We are a unique university, as distinctive as fingerprints. We are not numbers. We are individuals encouraged to make our marks, to develop both sides of our brain. This is where our logo/signature with the fingerprint comes to life as well as our tagline, “Both sides of the brain.”
— Brock’s Brand Positioning
The old logo certainly had to go, there is no question about that and I’m really glad the majority in those 700 people polled didn’t vote for keeping Mr. Brock’s silhouette. In exchange, the university got a fairly decent wordmark — I’m really liking those barely flared serifs! — with a questionable fingerprint embedded in the “o.” When I think of fingerprints I rarely think of universities, so making that conceptual jump is a little hard, even if properly rationalized above. But if we buy their argument, then we at least have to accept that the idea is properly executed: The fingerprint is not complicated and it’s not a literal fingerprint with thousands of ridges but a simple abstraction that works well when small (not so well when big, though).
• Dynamic (versus bureaucratic or slow moving)
• Passionate and energetic: full of life, vibrant, and spirited
• Unpretentious (versus arrogant or self-centered)
• Casual and relaxed (versus stiff, rigid or formal)
• Welcoming, open and supportive
— Brock’s Brand Personality
Completing the transformation for Brock is a campaign with what they call “striking” images — pairing Brock alumni half-faces with halves of other things related to what they do. Sure, they are a little striking, but isn’t this a concept that you first sketch out just to get it out of the system and never present? The result is cool and edgy, in an academic sort of way, but nothing to get too excited about.