Making the most of an ambitious new space

Students joining the University of West of England in 2015 have been welcomed by a stunning new Students' Union building and a reinvigorated service that sets a whole new standard in the sector.

With a purpose-built new home for the Student’s Union under construction, rbl were asked to work with the student officers and professional staff members to create a stronger, more coherent identity for the Union.

This was about much more than a new logo and we worked with the team to debate and define what a great students’ union should be like in 2015 and beyond. The call to arms – Join In, Speak Up, Be More – is the simple expression of that shared ambition.

Budgets are tight for any student-led organisation and rbl agreed to work closely with the in-house design team at UWESU, supporting them as they created much of the materials needed for the new intake of students. We created some basic guidelines and then provided light touch creative direction only where it was needed.

Meanwhile, Harriet and Andy at rbl turned their attention to applying the brand to the interior and exterior of the new SU building and other campus venues.

The joy of a blank canvas

The new building was large, airy and defined by dramatic, open plan spaces. The walls were huge and brilliantly white. The perfect blank canvas. We knew we were going to have to be bold to bring the identity to life. Critically, it had to be fun too, creating the backdrop for a broad community of students looking to get the very most from their time at university. Large digital projectors display a constantly changing record of life at UWE onto the main wall so the graphics are truly dynamic.

With thanks for additional photography to Dave Pratt Photography

The completion of the new Students’ Union building on the Frenchay campus combined with a significant staff restructure provided the catalyst for a long overdue rebranding of the organisation. The work done by rbl in empowering the team at the SU through the development and implementation of an in-depth brand voice incorporating an iconic logomark has been a game changer for the SU staff, the university partners and critically the students, developing the Union into something the students can be truly proud of. I would wholeheartedly recommend rbl to any organisation.

Tim Benford, Chief Executive Officer, The Students' Union at UWE