Meet, Design Co!

TL;DR Design at UCSD is now Design Co. We’ve changed our name, brand, and visual identity, and we’ve updated our mission statement and values. Visit us at www.ucsddesign.co

Design Co
Design Co
Sep 28, 2019 · 6 min read

Background

Today’s a very exciting day for our organization. We’re turning the page to a new chapter. In 2013, our founders knew the University’s offerings for students who were interested in design weren’t enough. They took action, and what started as small weekly gatherings to talk about design and munch on tacos has evolved to much more.

Since our founding, the University has introduced the UC San Diego Design Lab, a strengthened curriculum, and a design minor. Because of this, the design community has grown rapidly in the last 5 years. As a result, our organization has evolved from a small group of friends teaching human-centered design to each other, to a vibrant pre-professional design organization that prepares students for careers in design.

Design Co students listening to a lightning talk at Design Frontiers. Design Frontiers is an industry sponsored design sprint that exposes students to design methods practiced in industry.

With growth from 20–30 friends to a bustling community of over 200 student designers in just 5 years, we needed a new name, brand, and visual identity that better reflected our updated industry focused mission and values, and the students who make up our community.

Meet, Design Co! Design Co is a pre-professional student organization at UC San Diego that bridges the gap between designers and industry. Our mission is to cultivate a space that fosters opportunity and growth as an inclusive community of designers.

The “Co” means Community, Collective, and Collaborative. We believe that fostering an inclusive design community means collaborating with others and growing with everyone.


So Why a New Name, and Why Now?

When we decided it was time to craft a new brand, one of the questions that surfaced was: “Do we need a new name?” We didn’t want to change our name just to change it, or risk losing or confusing our current community members. After chatting with our community and alumni, and debating internally for months, we came to the conclusion that a rename was needed for a few main reasons:

  1. Our old name was constantly mixed up with the UCSD Design Lab.
  2. Many students mistook Design at UCSD as the design community as a whole at UC San Diego and not a student organization. This meant that for some, they didn’t attend events until they realized our organization hosted and offered a wide range of opportunities.
  3. Lastly, with a design major pending release, Design at UCSD will become synonymous with what students say when describing their majors: “I study design at UCSD”. This creates further confusion amongst students trying to figure out if Design at UCSD refers to our student organization, the design major, or the design community as a whole.

Our New Brand and Visual Identity

Our previous logo got the job done, but here’s why we decided to change it. Our previous logo featured 8 total colors: 4 core colors and 4 secondary colors. While each color in the logo strongly represented a core value of our organization, placing the logo on anything but white or black looked plain bad. Additionally, the colors lacked enough contrast and proved to be in-accessible to those with color deficiencies.

Placing the 8 colored logo on anything but a black or white background looked bad and proved to be in-accessible to those with color deficiencies.

The 4 core colors made up our primary palette and were utilized in all our brand collateral. An 8 color logo and 4 color palette greatly constrained the creativity of our visual & brand design team. As a result, much of our brand collateral looked similar and our audience had trouble differentiating our offerings.

Much of our marketing collateral looked too similar, creating confusion amongst our audience.

Additionally when we surveyed our community, many people did not understand what the four icons in our logo represented. Because of this, we wanted to create a new logo and brand that was more flexible, recognizable, and easily understandable.

To kick-off our rebrand, we invited members of our community and alumni for a brand sprint. After aligning on an updated mission statement and set of values, we made moodboards to draw creative inspiration.

In April 2019, members of the community, alumni, and our leadership team gathered for a brand audit & sprint to kickoff the rebrand.

Taking inspiration from the buildings that make up our campus, we crafted a brand that is as refreshing and bold as the students that make up our young and scrappy organization. Our new brand is grounded in the very architectural foundation that makes up UC San Diego — it’s notable brutalism.

The Design Co logo.

Our new logo features a simple word mark that boldly states who we are. An arrow pointing forward and up symbolizes the growth of our community and students as they venture forward with pursuing careers in design.

To complement our new logo, and allow for a flexible and extendable brand, we decided that it would be best to avoid a defined color palette. We’ve decided to use the full Material Design color palette by Google for our brand. The palette boasts 266 colors, which creates tremendous flexibility and offers limitless creativity for our visual & brand designers. Additionally, the Material Design color palette prioritized accessibility, something that was top of mind for us.

Some examples of the thousands of color combinations we can generate using Material Design’s color palette.

For our typefaces, we pulled from the brutalist inspiration of our campus, and chose Neue Plak and NB International for their boldness and strength. In addition, they offer unique contrast when paired together.

Our headings are set in Neue Plak and our body copy is set in NB International.

Finally, we wanted our brand to have a focus on photography. We wanted our photography to showcase the best part of Design Co, the people.

Additionally, our image choices also symbolize the many aspects of our mission statement and values.

A photo of a plant symbolizes the growth of our community.

Thank You For Your Support

Starting today, you’ll see our website, marketing, and all visuals align in this new brand direction. Thanks so much for sticking until the end, and we are so excited to continue building and fostering the design community at UC San Diego!

Cheers,
Your friends at Design Co


To see our new site, visit www.ucsddesign.co
To learn more about upcoming events, visit facebook.com/ucsddesignco

Design Co

Design Co is a pre-professional student organization at UC…

Design Co

Written by

Design Co

Design Co is a pre-professional student organization at UC San Diego that bridges the gap between designers and industry.

Design Co

Design Co

Design Co is a pre-professional student organization at UC San Diego that bridges the gap between designers and industry.

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