The Carolina Union is an organization of students, student staff, and professional staff dedicated to providing programs, services, and facilities for the UNC campus community. As the “living room of campus,” it gives students a place to express their social, recreational, and cultural interests. Through programs sponsored by students, the Carolina Union Activities Board, and University departments, the Union brings campus together to engage in debate, conversation, and education. When I began to rebrand the Union, I wanted to enliven its aesthetic to better convey the Union’s dynamic, spirited culture, expanding on the existing “More Than A Building” tagline.
Because the Union is both a student and professional organization, the wordmark was developed to be both approachable and mature, able to function well in either casual or formal contexts. The new wordmark, which is more horizontally compact than the old one, can function in a wider variety of print and digital media and at a greater range of sizes. Where use of the full wordmark is not practical or desirable, the monogram can be used on its own (for example, in a social media avatar or on the mug below).
Because the Union is primarily funded by student fees, much of the new brand hinged on a challenge posed to students: “It’s your Union. What will you do here?” Banners displayed on electrical poles and the building itself emphasize different Union resources and ask students how they will use them. Fresh colors and new typography, paired with a witty, playful illustration style, are aimed more purposefully at engaging the student population.
The identity update was comprehensive, covering all building signage, wayfinding, internal documents, applications, and web forms, including styles and templates for each. A thorough style guide keeps all designers working in a consistent fashion.
First Place, Professional Promotional Campaigns, 2012 Steal This Idea National Design Competition, Association of College Unions International (ACUI)