On Feb. 24, University of Victoria president Jamie Cassels unveiled UVic Edge, a new way of defining the university to prospective and current members of the UVic community—“A critical new milestone,” Cassels said at the unveiling.
UVic Edge is the culmination of a two-year research process, the UVic Difference Project. The result is a new aesthetic way for UVic to present its goals and core messages. It strives to unify the University’s diverse values within design guidelines, font (Myriad Pro), colour scheme (blue, gold, and red), tone of voice, and materials such as business cards, PowerPoint templates, and more.
“In a way, it’s not a new brand,” Cassels said in an interview with the Martlet. “It’s a better and sharper way of drawing on what we already know about ourselves, [and] about our strengths. It’s important that universities be accountable and open to their students and their communities—what can you expect when you come here?”
The new direction is not “radical,” Cassels said. Rather, a way to make UVic more distinctive through visual communication and explain the University’s strengths as clearly as possible. “Over the next few months, it’s for people to try it on, get used to it, and then get proud of it,” he said.
Bruce Kilpatrick, project manager fora the UVic Difference Project, lead the qualitative and quantitative research which resulted in the UVic Edge.
The UVic Difference Project’s goal was to find a way to position UVic in a competitive environment among thousands of Canadian and international universities. As Director of Marketing and Communication, Kilpatrick said the task fell into his area of responsibility. “You can appreciate that things have become increasingly competitive for universities over the last number of years, whether it comes to students, faculty, staff, financial resources, reputation, [or] partnership.”
According to Kilpatrick, over 10 000 individuals have been spoken to or heard from during the project. “The process itself was absolutely critical,” Kilpatrick said. “It needed to be highly participatory. We needed to find a lot of different ways of talking to people, and giving our community and communities outside the university an opportunity to weigh in.”
The feedback included prospective students and parents from B.C., Alberta, Ontario, and the Pacific Northwest in the United States. The project also reached out to business and public sector leaders across the country, and current UVic students by using stations around campus. The project received nearly 4 000 survey responses from current students.
“What we ended up with, as a result, is something that is a very authentic statement about what UVic is all about,” he said.
UVic Edge is expected to take several years to firmly take root, due to the University’s size and complexity. The Communication and Marketing Department will be meeting with faculty and departments to answer questions on how to use these tools in their area, provide support, and explain how they can work together.
“It’s a statement of commitment from UVic about what you know that you will be able to see, experience, feel, and hear,” Kilpatrick said.