A new brand for Imperial College Business School

Imperial College London is one of the world's most respected universities. Imperial College Business School is a faculty within the College. Its leadership wants the Business School to be globally recognised as a distinct institution by all audiences.

Imperial College Business School had recently identified its new positioning, drawing on its reputation for innovation in science and technology.

At the heart of the positioning lies the School's unique fusion of business and tech. The brand identity had to reinforce the School's attributes – robust, dynamic and data-driven – along with the central positioning: 'Imperial means Intelligent Business'.

Communicating change

We benchmarked the brand identity not against other academic institutions but against the contemporary world of business. Instead of Penn State and Stanford, we looked towards brands like Google and Greylock to more accurately reflect the central proposition.

With the brand on a journey towards autonomy – moving from Imperial College Business School to simply Imperial Business – the identity needed to facilitate its transformation and reflect the School's intelligent approach to business.

The purest expression of this comes in the IB graphic. Through it, we match the School's strategic journey while acting as a lens through which to show the fusion of business and technology at the brand's core.

Intelligent imagery

Due to the School's positioning, and because the brand would live primarily online, it had to appear completely at ease with technology. This meant a digital-first approach to the brand identity.

Colours were chosen to work on screen. We developed a visual language with the simplicity to perform seamlessly across multiple platforms, from favicons to video animation.

Our approach to imagery was informed by business, not academia. We use the contemporary language of business, science and technology popularised by publications like Wired, to reflect the way business shows itself today.

Informal portraiture elevates regular students to the status of future business leaders and the inclusion of alumni demonstrates what they can achieve.

We leveraged London as a location, too, appealing to global students by framing the city as a hub of business and tech.

Results

The brand identity was rolled out over the summer of 2015 in time for a day one launch at the start of term in September.

All templates were updated, including wayfinding and signage solutions, programme marketing and key comms. We are also developing online guidelines to allow Imperial College Business School to evolve its brand independently.

In its first academic year, anecdotal feedback was very good. And focus groups held with key stakeholders throughout the creative process yielded positive results.

"When entrusting OPX with the development of our visual identity and subsequent brand campaign, there seemed to be a genuine desire to help us achieve our strategic goals. The team are a pleasure to work with and demonstrate great creativity and professional client servicing, all under Frances' impressive leadership."

Ed Whisker, Marketing Manager

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