Monday, November 30, 2009

  • Previews of Waterloo’s new public dress
  • . . . in a range of fashionable colours
  • Green: UW and other universities make pledge
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Banners on ring road]
Previews of Waterloo’s new public dress

A new-look Waterloo is letting itself be seen these days, from the already familiar ring road banners (above) to the graphic design of the alumni magazine and other publications.

And it’s all being done without a new logo, after design efforts last summer were followed by controversy and an eventual decision that devising another full logo to replace the familiar word-and-shield version wasn’t going to happen easily or quickly.

Meg Beckel, Waterloo’s vice-president (external relations), says she decided to move ahead with a new graphic style, one that will eventually touch on everything from recruitment publications to office letterhead. “This direction,” she says, “takes into account the feedback from students, staff, faculty and alumni who made it clear what resonated and what did not.” The goal: to give specific audiences (such as potential students) and the general public an impression that matches the reputation Waterloo wants to enjoy.

“We need to continue to talk about the who, what, why and how of Waterloo,” says Beckel. And about the identity project that’s been going on for more than a year: “This process is all about telling our story and inspiring people to participate in the Waterloo vision.” The identity task force will continue to provide advice as the elements of a new identity system are worked out.

In a phrase that’s been approved at multiple levels in the UW hierarchy, the “vision” for Waterloo is “to build a better future for Canada and the world.” It’s a line that goes with the “attributes” now regularly used in Waterloo’s publicity and marketing materials, which stress that Waterloo is “innovative”, “unconventional”, “creative”, “courageous”, “collaborative” and “entrepreneurial”.

It was also intended to accompany a new logo, but Beckel says she’s now taking a different tack — abandoning logo plans and making use of other graphic design elements that, she says, have been more favourably received. “The current marketing logo, which has the shield with the words ‘University of Waterloo’ over top in Eidetic font, will be phased out in favour of using a stand-alone wordmark, as well as using the university seal where a link to tradition is important.”

Instead, we’ll be seeing a lot more of the name “University of Waterloo” and “Waterloo” in the typeface Gotham, which came to prominence in 2008 through its use in the Barack Obama presidential campaign and which one critic calls “assertive but never imposing, friendly but never folksy, confident but never aloof”. The new style, being developed by designers in UW Graphics, also involves such features as curved-line accents, seen in the banners and in the fall issue of Waterloo Magazine, which started reaching readers last week.

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[Colour swatches]. . . in a range of fashionable colours

The new system also includes a palette of colours that doesn’t stop with the traditional black, gold, white and red as they appear in the UW coat of arms and flag. From now on, the faculty of mathematics will often be represented with a particular shade of pink (nothing very new there) and environment with a particular leaf green. The other faculties have also settled on specific colours: teal for applied health sciences, blue for engineering, a darker purplish blue for science, orange for arts (right).

“The colours can be used to differentiate faculties,” says Kelley Teahen, associate director of communications and marketing, “and also can be used as part of a design palette without direct faculty linking, such as the use of the colours on the ring road banners.”

Says Beckel: “We will build on the advances made to date with the banners, the faculty colours, the bold use of lines and the wordmark. We will take a pause on a new symbol for now.”

She gives some background about UW graphic symbols: “Our shield was used in the past to anchor our position relative to more conventional universities. The shield remains a symbol of our founding in this region and will continue to be used as a ceremonial mark as part of our seal.

“Our broader stakeholder consultations tell us a simple wordmark system with bold use of colour, lines and the ceremonial mark is all that is needed.”

[Ceremonial logo]A new “visual identity guide” will be on its way, developed in Graphics and setting out the way the colours, the typeface and other features are supposed to be used. It will also call for “edgy photography”, says Beckel, “and broader use of the ceremonial mark to keep the shield in use”. (What’s been dubbed the “ceremonial identity”, left, is now chiefly used on diplomas, but it will start appearing on a few publications and memorabilia as well.)

Items such as stationery and business cards will be available in the new look in the new year, and units creating new publications or replacing signage will use the new look. “We’re conscious of everyone’s budget restraints,” says Beckel. “People will adopt the new look as they can, throughout 2010.”

Also moving ahead is a website redesign project, announced earlier this year, that will use the new graphic features to help deliver Waterloo’s image and messages. Plans are for the top levels of the website to be moved into a look consistent with the new designs by fall 2010, with deeper levels moving to the new look as resources permit. “We need to harmonize our message as well as our look and feel,” Beckel points out. “This will take collaboration, integration and co-operation.”

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Green: UW and other universities make pledge

UW and other Ontario universities have made an environmental commitment in a “sustainability pledge” that was publicly presented to officials of the provincial government last week.

It’s signed by Waterloo’s David Johnston and the presidents of the other institutions that make up the Council of Ontario Universities, and includes a promise to “work in partnership with governments, the public, businesses and others in the academic world so that we may together create an environmentally sustainable Ontario”.

The pledge, titled Ontario Universities: Committed to a Greener World, declares the university sector’s commitment to the environment and the well-being of the province. It was presented to the government at a luncheon reception held by COU at Queen’s Park.

“Ontario universities are deeply aware of the challenges that face the world arising from climate change and the degradation of natural environments, and we accept the responsibility of helping to find solutions, share knowledge and incorporate principles of sustainability into our operations,” says Sheldon Levy, chair of COU and president of Ryerson University.

The Ontario government has been a leader in green initiatives, and the presidents of Ontario universities are committed to realizing the same goals, a COU news release said. It quoted Bonnie M. Patterson, COU’s interim president: “Beyond teaching and research that cut across virtually all disciplines, our universities are incorporating environmental sustainability in our operations and important policy areas. Our sustainability practises are helping the environment and also strengthening the learning environment for students.”

A comment from Dan Moulton, president of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance: “Ontario’s students appreciate this pledge and are supportive of initiatives undertaken by university administrators to ensure our campuses embrace modern attitudes, focused on sustainability. We look forward to working with our university presidents on continued progress in this important area.”

The “pledge from the executive heads of the universities” says they accept the responsibility “to assist in finding solutions to the challenges of environmental sustainability; to share knowledge about sustainability and climate change; and to incorporate, wherever possible, principles of sustainability into our own operations.”

It goes on: “Ontario universities will work together to develop and implement multi-pronged strategies to reduce energy consumption . . . promote reuse and recycling in all aspects of our operations . . . ensure the availability of locally grown and fair-trade foods and beverages on our campuses . . . build new facilities in accordance with principles of sustainability and energy efficiency . . . seek to preserve green space on our campuses wherever possible . . . develop institutional environmental sustainability plans with measurable objectives.

“We further accept our responsibility to provide forums for the discussion and development of solutions regarding sustainability issues . . . share research insights and best practices regarding climate change and sustainable development.”

Examples of initiatives that are already under way are highlighted in a summary report, entitled Ontario Universities: Going Greener, which was also presented to government. The initiatives cover nine key areas: policy and administration; integrating sustainability concepts into curriculum and research; buildings and green space; recycling and waste management; energy management; water management; transportation and fleet; purchasing and procurement; and partnerships and other initiatives. This report and a full report of environmental and sustainability activities underway at 20 Ontario universities are now posted on COU’s website. UW also has its own “sustainability” site.


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Link of the day

St. Andrew

When and where

New faculty workshop: “Preparing Your Finances for the Upcoming Financial Year” Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning. Details.

Communication, Leadership and Social Innovation lecture: George Anderson, Insurance Bureau of Canada, “Elements of Transformational Leadership” 5:00, Festival Room, South Campus Hall, all welcome.

Google Pittsburgh director Andrew Moore speaks on “Extreme Data Mining: Machine Learning in Adwords” 5:00, Institute for Quantum Computing, Research Advancement Centre, 475 Wes Graham Way. Details.

SoundFM (Radio Waterloo) corporate general meeting 6:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Instrumental chamber ensembles end-of-term concert 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC chapel, admission free.

VeloCity “Start Up Day” with exhibition of student projects, Tuesday 11:00 to 4:00, Student Life Centre great hall.

Music student recitals Tuesday, all 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC chapel, admission free.

Web content management system information session for the UW community, Wednesday 11:00, Davis Centre room 1302. Details.

Imaginus poster sale Wednesday-Thursday, Student Life Centre.

Catharine Scott, associate provost, retirement reception Wednesday 3:30 to 6:00, Festival Room, South Campus Hall, RSVP ext. 38425.

Stratford Campus community update by Ken Coates, dean of arts, and Ian Wilson, Stratford Institute strategic advisor, Wednesday 5:30, Stratford City Hall. Details.

Accounting and Finance Student Association presents Brenda Halloran, mayor of Waterloo, speaking on student leadership and the city’s Student Advisory Council, Wednesday 6:00, Humanities room 1101.

Perimeter Institute presents Michael Peskin, Stanford University, “Top Quark: The Elusive Truth” Wednesday 7 p.m., Waterloo Collegiate Institute. Details.

Central web servers (info and strobe) will be down, affecting UW home page and most administrative applications, Thursday 6 to 7 a.m.

Staff association pension, benefits and compensation subcommittee, open meeting Thursday 12:00, Needles Hall room 3001.

School of Computer Science Distinguished Lecture: Fran Allen, IBM Watson Research Center, “High Performance Computers and Compilers: A Personal Perspective” Thursday 2:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Canada’s Technology Triangle networking dinner with consular trade representatives from foreign markets; keynote speaker Thomas Homer-Dixon, Balsillie School, Thursday 5:30 p.m., Waterloo Inn, tickets $100. Details.

Orchestra @ UWaterloo fifth anniversary concert: Gershwin, “Rhapsody in Blue” (Jason White, piano), plus Hatch, Ravel, Beethoven, Shostakovich, Thursday 8:00, Humanities Theatre, free tickets from box office 519-888-4908.

Lessons and carols service with Chapel Choir, Friday 5:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC chapel.

Fall term classes end Saturday, December 5 (Monday schedule that day). Exams December 9-22; unofficial grades begin appearing in Quest December 23; grades become official January 25.

National Day of Remembrance and Action: 20th anniversary of École Polytechnique shootings, memorial lunch sponsored by Canadian Federation of University Women, Sunday 12:00, Holiday Inn, Kitchener, tickets $50, information 519-740-5249.

English Language Proficiency Examination Tuesday, December 8.

WatITis one-day conference for information technology staff, December 8. Details.

Carol sing led by UW Choir, Chamber Choir and Chapel Choir, December 8, 12:00, Davis Centre great hall.

‘Managing Grief Through the Holidays’ workshop presented by Employee Assistance Program, December 16, 12:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Fee payment deadline for winter term, December 17 (promissory note), December 29 (bank transfer). Details.

Christmas and New Year’s holidays: UW closed Thursday, December 24, through Friday, January 1, reopening Monday, January 4. Winter term classes begin Monday, January 4.

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