Responses by Matt Baxter, creative director, Baxter & Bailey
Background: Nottingham Trent University (NTU) in Nottingham, United Kingdom, has offered a range of exciting, innovative and entertaining cultural events and activities for a number of years. NTU was determined to bring all of its activities together and communicate the overall contribution made as a University, with a clear and distinct campaign identity. Beyond this ambition, NTU aims to play a leading role in the social, cultural, economic and environmental development of Nottingham, the East Midlands and the United Kingdom. The campaign caters to not only current and prospective students, but also to a wider local and national audience.
Reasoning: The central N-shaped device performs a number of design functions. First and foremost, it’s an N for Nottingham. It’s also a line that connects a series of points; our aim was to help audiences connect the dots between different cultural events and activities, to encourage them to try things they might not otherwise try and to see things they might not otherwise see. And finally, the central diagonal bar of the N-device combines two different, often intentionally eclectic images. Pink is also NTU’s core corporate color, a color we think they should use more. The bold black and white supporting palette is intended to provide a simple, singular “canvas” so that a wide range of images can be presented boldly and strikingly.
Challenges: Bringing this broad ranging cultural offering to an equally broad audience, encompassing regular arts consumers as well as first-timers. As the events range from highly visual art exhibitions to spoken word poetry nights, it was vital we found a bold, simple but most importantly, flexible graphic framework that could illustrate and highlight the various cultural events offered on campus and in Nottingham city.
Favorite details: The concept. We found the perfect solution to show what an amazingly cultural place Nottingham is. Within our graphic system, we’re able to show a singer at a gig alongside a beautiful piece of sculpture, for example, perfectly illustrating the cross-pollination.
Specific demands: As with any campaign identity, its look must work within existing brand guidelines. Sometimes that may feel like a constraint. However, we often find it incredibly rewarding to work with restrictions, but end up with a solution that feels new and exciting.
Anything new: Of the eight people in the Baxter & Bailey team, two are NTU alumni, which gave us a great steer on what kind of place Nottingham is. Through the project process, we all enjoyed learning about what Nottingham has to offer today in terms of cultural events, and getting more familiar with the city and the University. We’re excited about visiting again very soon.