Logospotter Review

Posted May 19th 2010 Updated Jul 17th 2016

Cranfield University

The animation about the new logo talks about how they have created -

a mark of distinction for a global brand

but generic design rationale aside, the interesting nugget of information was that they were inspired by their history of strong links to the RAF, and the consequent reference to RAF roundels. It’s certainly a strong foundation for the new logo. Surprisingly few universities have opted for a nice modern serif face - used well, it manages to be modern without being antiseptic and more interesting that the safe classic serif choice. There’s a pleasing balance with the type and the boldness of the ‘C’ all brought together in a strong whole.

A big upgrade from the old logo.

Retro future treatment

The Cranfield logo is a typographic treatment, that seeks to occupy a different space than the previously reviewed Brunel logo. Primarily a Science, Management and Technology institution with an interesting Military and Aeronautical history, Cranfield offers postgraduate qualifications and as such appeals to a slightly different audience from the usual fresh faced udergraduate.

The graphic ideas in the brand guidelines develop this theme with an overtly technical feel, created through angular layouts, modular blocks, patterns, a minimal palette and a very distinctive typeface. The overall feel is of a retro-futurism from the viewpoint of the 1970s - a style I happen to like very much.

A rooted wordmark

Ironically, the Cranfield wordmark contains no reference to this. The only obvious connection to the futuristic feel is in the grey, which is used extensively. Instead it is a delicate lowercase serif split with a ligature that has an extended stem that anchors the uppercase of ‘university’.

It’s a very controlled feel, no doubt aiming for a confident, relaxed and a perhaps a little aloof tone of voice. Difficut to talk about the wordmark without reference to the guidelines where a font called Defused is used. It looks very similar to ITC Bauhaus and nice to see such a bold contrast with the wordmark.

Part of a system

On the face of it a uninspired logo, but when taken as part of the wider system it creates a distinctive look. However, I don’t know whether to be impressed or scared by the idea ‘Brand guardians’ in the corporate brand guidelines!

Tagged : English , Monocolour , Serif , South East , Circle

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