Responses by Abbie Edis, designer and Simon Elliott, creative director, Rose
Background: Three prestigious global universities—King’s College London, Arizona State University and UNSW Sydney—have joined forces to create the engineering university of the future called TEDI-London. This new university asked us to create its identity to fulfill its ambition to challenge preconceptions and encourage greater diversity in the engineering sector. TEDI’s long-term vision is to revolutionize education in engineering in response to the sector’s growth into new areas of technology and to enable the engineers of the future to find solutions to worldwide issues.
Reasoning: Rose worked closely with The Value Engineers in London, who undertook global research to create the positioning and naming. The company had an appetite for higher education engineering courses that could both provide the practical education needed to help graduates tackle real-world problems and innovate for a global community. We needed to show audiences how different TEDI is from other engineering universities, in order to attract students who may have been previously deterred by a future in engineering. So, we devised a bold and distinctive graphic language and took inspiration from the three partner universities. We developed a responsive website, advertising, communication materials, environmental graphics and merchandise to reinforce the message that TEDI-London truly is a university for the future engineer.
Challenges: The idea that the three parent universities, all of whom offer a myriad of engineering degrees, creating a new type of engineering university to disrupt the traditional perceptions of engineering initially suggested a potential conflict of interests. The key challenge was remaining true to their desire to recruit a more diverse pool of students, while remaining respectful to the heritage and gravitas of the three cofounding institutions.
Favorite details: The visual manifestation of the three-barred E. We replaced the conventional E with three lines, to represent each of the founding universities and ensure they would be acknowledged throughout the identity. There’s a relevant and important story behind it, in addition to being a strong and recognizable asset for the brand.
Visual influences: Disrupting the traditional perceptions of engineering was an integral part of the brief, so it was imperative that the campaign imagery didn’t succumb to the visual interpretations people often associate with engineering: nuts, bolts and hardhats. Instead, we were inspired by all kinds of natural and man-made innovations that elicited awe, amazement and complete curiosity. Those were the images that excited us, and that we felt would inspire future engineers.
Specific demands: We were specifically asked to create a brand campaign to attract prospective students who may not have previously considered a future in the sector. For this, we drew upon the use of bold photographic portraits and identified each individual as a “future engineer.” And, in a world where everything and everyone seems to get a label, our label of future engineer is one to be worn with pride, whatever your background may be.