It’s often easy to mock the overblown language you find in branding guidelines, but I particularly like the silliness of this passage.
We’re classical … and contemporary; tranquil… as well as vibrant; energetic… and also relaxed; We think… and we do.
You have to give credit to the team at Bath Spa for being so open in their brand guidelines about the ideas behind the logo. I find it a bit of a stretch to say that the Inscriptional type found around Bath shares much a of a lineage with stencil fonts and neon signs, but that is part of the rationale for the new logo.
I find the the ‘monoweight’ version of custom typeface - Bath Spa New Roman Headline (btw, available as a Creative Commons download) interesting in a clinical,futuristic way - Perhaps the corporate typeface of an imagined dystopian medical corporation?
The choice of ‘Bliss’ as a secondary font is a pleasant and simple face that works reasonably well with the odd stencil feel of Bath Spa New Roman.
This brings me to the logo itself. I’m not sure the typeface is being done any favours being placed in a solid blue block with some strange alignment of the words within. It seems crowded and ruins one virtue of the typeface is it’s visually interesting cutouts. Contained within the block it looks like a logo, you’d see on some kind of hair product. The effect is more marked when a colour ‘shadow’ is used, which serves to emphasise the label feel.
Overall, seems like a novel approach on the type undermined by a loss of nerve.
Not a heraldic shield this time
A modern and simplified interpretation of a shield with waves intersecting and reversing out. I presume that the waves refer to the hot water spa that Bath is famous for. The blue and grey (or silver, as it’s referred to in the guidelines) makes for a very light logo. One that reminds me of beauty or health products; the washed out feel is avoided in the black and white version which is altogether stronger.
The wordmark of the logo uses DIN to continue the almost antiseptically clean feel to this logo. The location of Bath isn’t stressed as much as say, the University of Bath, but perhaps that is a reflection of the newness of the organisation - granted university status in 2005 - in this context the word ‘University’ acts as a reminder of the hard won status. The choice of such an open typeface redolent as it is, of signage is to speak in an accessible, approachable and technological voice.
Variations on a theme
When used on the website, the shield is accompanied by text rendered in Arial, making a bolder and dare I say a more confident mark.
On the cover of the prospectus the shield is used without the close proximity of the text and it gains some stature by being a little enigmatic.
Without the obvious visual shorthand of heraldry to draw upon, Bath Spa have gone for a modern almost pictographic device, which draws upon a different tradition of flat colours and graphic shapes used by newer institutions. I think more versatile and successful in monochrome.