This famous digital media and design institution has recently undertaken one of the biggest transformations of an educational institution, ever. From a sleepy, suburban, low-rise brick campus on the outskirts of London, they planned a move right next to The O2, to a purpose-built open-plan architectural wonder built on ten floors with an exterior meticulously covered with 30,000 interlinked tiles.
The Johnson Banks Design Agency was set the task that with both words and pictures, they had to find a way to reposition the institution externally whilst bringing the internal community on board. At the same time as pitching their positioning into the future and reflecting all of this with an identity change.
They started experimenting with the institution’s name thrown at angles through the tiles, originally neatly linking together. But then discovered that by slightly rotating the tiles, they could create a sense of movement and restlessness that seemed to fit well with the college’s future ambitions. From countless permutations, they settled on half a dozen examples, in both colour and black and white.
They realised that Ravensbourne, like many other design institutions, struggled to make their images and photos of students and student projects particularly unique. Every library, every computer shot seemed the same, especially after you’ve looked through a handful of prospectuses. So they developed a way to take the tiling pattern and incorporate it into student photographs. Almost overnight, they gained an identity approach to logos, typography and images that could ‘glue’ together elements such as folders, reports and prospectuses, and has been applied extensively online.
As the new building took shape and it quickly became apparent that signage and wayfinding would prove critical to the building’s success, as a viable work-and-play-place. Producing over-sized aluminium logos was one part of this challenge.
Because of the slightly confusing interior architecture of the building, they opted to use vast painted and stenciled shapes derived from the tiling pattern. These incorporated large floor numerals to make it clear to visitors exactly where they were at any stage of their visit.