The University of Sheffield

Why we need a visual identity

The way the University represents itself visually can enhance its reputation, raise its profile and contribute to its success.

The University didn't used to have the benefit of any real consistency in the way it tells the outside world about itself.

That lack of consistency included its visual representation - in publications, on our website, at exhibitions, in presentations, on signs and vehicle liveries. Even the coat of arms, our only widely used visual symbol, exists in many different versions and it wasn't being applied consistently. In itself, it has little or no meaning for people not already connected with the University.

Perceptions research showed that the University of Sheffield has suffered from a weak, diffuse public image compared with those of its immediate competitors, being significantly less well-known than they are. People were unsure what the University really stands for or what it's outstanding at.

Visual communication can be very powerful, and many people respond more strongly to visual than to aural communication. So the visual identity we have now is designed to add an extra dimension to verbal messages about the University's heritage, credentials and excellence, and about the opportunities it offers to students, research clients, business partners and others.

Our visual identity is an essential part of a planned approach to building the University's reputation and raising its profile; a planned approach that will also guide what we say to whom, where and when we say it, and the choice of appropriate language and tone of voice.