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New Logo and Identity for Liverpool Guild of Students by Smiling Wolf
 

before

after

Reviewed Nov. 24, 2014 by Armin

Industry / Education Tags /

Established in 1889, the Liverpool Guild of Students is the student union of the University of Liverpool, one of the six original “red brick” civic universities in the UK. The Guild (as it is commonly shortened) serves the 17,000 students of the university and has its own building that houses restaurants and bars, administrative offices, meeting rooms, and a music hall. The Guild also organizes the over 170 societies for different communities of interest. This past September, after and 18-month renovation and £13.8-million-investment, the Guild reopened its building designed by Nomad RDC and featuring a new identity by Liverpool-based Smiling Wolf.

Returning the name of the organisation from the acronym LGoS to Liverpool Guild of Students (or simply The Guild) was an important part of the transformation. Once opaque and difficult to comprehend, the new name is clear and succinct, and understood by everyone from the mature student from Colwyn Bay to the undergraduate from Kolkata.

Smiling Wolf press release

New Logo and Identity for Liverpool Guild of Students by Smiling Wolf
Logo detail.
Channelling pride, passion and heritage, Smiling Wolf’s Flag symbol runs throughout all branding as the everyday marque of The Guild; a way to reiterate that Liverpool Guild of Students is a united and pioneering one, set in a university of firsts. The first student union in the UK and the first to be student-led, the University of Liverpool was also the first ‘red brick’ university.

Smiling Wolf press release

Logo animation.
New Logo and Identity for Liverpool Guild of Students by Smiling Wolf
One approach to society logos.
New Logo and Identity for Liverpool Guild of Students by Smiling Wolf
New Logo and Identity for Liverpool Guild of Students by Smiling Wolf
Another approach to society logos.
New Logo and Identity for Liverpool Guild of Students by Smiling Wolf
Society logo banners on the building.

The previous logo featured a sphinx, which was the name of the union’s original printed publication but of little relevance in recent years. Represented quite literally, the sphinx wasn’t particularly engaging and the LGoS acronym appeared heavy and overly institutional. The new logo brings back the full name which, despite being many more letters than the acronym, rolls off the tongue more smoothly. The flag approach is nothing very novel and I wager it’s an idea we all have toyed with at some point or another but it feels like such a simple solution that we abandon it easily. It’s no surprise though that it works. It’s not the most differentiating of logos nor is it the most original but, like when conquering galactic bodies, if you stick the flag in the ground convincingly you can claim it as your own.

Typeset in Klim Type Foundry’s Calibre the logo is as straightforward as it gets with the type neatly set in rectangles with even spacing between the stripes that matches the thickness of the mast. Nothing more, nothing less. To me it’s a simple and clean solution, to others it might be the equivalent of a boring lecture. The extensions of the logo for the societies display good flexibility in the system.

Continuing their flag-raising inspiration, Smiling Wolf’s main visual language for The Guild is led by a fun and youthful interpretation of mountain vistas, mossy green (Pantone 362) colour palette, and geometrical, escalating landscapes. Employing a strict isometric grid allows university designers to play with scale, colour and density; creating distinct illustrations to add detail and dynamism throughout Liverpool Guild’s brand.

Smiling Wolf press release

New Logo and Identity for Liverpool Guild of Students by Smiling Wolf
Isometric illustration.
New Logo and Identity for Liverpool Guild of Students by Smiling Wolf
Posters.
New Logo and Identity for Liverpool Guild of Students by Smiling Wolf
Envelope.

The isometric and grid visual language feels like it’s a whole other project and slightly disconnected from the logo. It’s fun and rave-y looking to attract young students but that’s the one part of this redesign that I’m not that fully sold on.

New Logo and Identity for Liverpool Guild of Students by Smiling Wolf
The new logo outside the Guild’s refurbished space on campus.
New Logo and Identity for Liverpool Guild of Students by Smiling Wolf
“The Street”.
New Logo and Identity for Liverpool Guild of Students by Smiling Wolf
The stairs (no quotes).
New Logo and Identity for Liverpool Guild of Students by Smiling Wolf
Refectory (dining room).

The abstract diagonals and triangles work a little better in the context of the new building and the interiors look like a cool place to hang out. Overall, accentuated by a well-funded renovation of the building, the identity presents a vibrant approach for what appears to be a rather active student union and hub of activity.

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