UCASU is the students’ union for the University for the Creative arts (UCA), a specialist art and design institute in the south of England.l
The SU represents students at a committee level within the University, voicing an opinion and measuring the quality of experience. It is a lifeline to those that need support and also provides opportunities for students to volunteer, take part in sports and clubs, join events and activities.
In 2013 I launched a campaign to lead the Students’ Union in a bid to become elected the next ‘Campus Officer’. I called on fellow friends, designers and illustrators, to help me with this campaign.
We parodied a popular meme at the time, ‘How to draw a horse’, which became ‘How to draw David Lewis’.
During the campaign period, there is a lot of noise, posters cover the walls, flyers litter the hallways and students, the voters, became poster blind.
Whilst developing our strategy we found ourselves tired of seeing the same old paste-ups… everything seems glamorised or decorative, what we wanted was a means to explain our position, our policies, without confusing, with a clear message and subtle suggestion to ‘vote David’.
Life as a Campus Officer
During my time as Campus Officer (Vice President in practice), I was a part of numerous projects which included designing posters, flyers, presentations for training events, surveys, as well as large format POS style boards for research projects.
The student’s union has a semi-established identity, it is aimed at engaging with students on a variety of topics, such as politics, sport, fundraisers, events etc. However, there was no procedural design process to follow – any promotional material was organised and often produced by the officers, or students, with little resources, a variety of styles emerged, often campaigns and activities became sub-brands in a bid to compete with the hundreds of other projects you might find happening at the university. I started in a similar fashion, making bits here and there, it wasn’t consistent and was bogged down by red tape and other malarky. However as a graphic designer I recognised the important of brand recognition, I took onboard the brand and used elements in some of the most recent projects. See below this post for earlier renditions.
In the long run, I think it would be best for the SU to concentrate on using one style, to mould the brand to whatever project or campaign, to provide consistency in what it communicates. It should set up a process to ensure this works, and that new officers in the future can use without fail, using their time effectively to concentrate on helping students, not behind the screen. Perhaps they will be inspired by Spin’s gorgeous rebrand of the University.