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Recommendations

  • To move away from architectural colours, but use the previous palettes to prompt and inform decisions.
  • Start afresh with a revised palette that leans towards a bolder and more contemporary set of colours
  • Limit the new palette to a core set of 5 colours (alongside a base of neutral tones)

 

Rationale

  • Our colour palette represents the University and its values
  • The University of Bath is not the city of Bath. Our palette should not be limited by geography or locale.
  • The palette should embrace innovation and forward thinking.
  • Our traditions are but 50 years old. We are different. We should *be* different.
  • We are young and smart, swift and concise, honest and proud of what we are.
  • Our colours are bold but not brash, and each bright stroke is tempered with a cool, considered anchor.
  • Our palette should have impact.
  • Our palette is limited, considered and carefully curated.

Key words/phrases

  • Human - Approachable
  • Ambitious - Bold
  • Assured - Solid
  • Inclusive - Accessible
  • Relevant - Contemporary
  • Focused - Clear

Thoughts

Bath and the university

The current colour palettes all draw inspiration from the city of Bath and its surroundings.

Aside from University blue (#004489), key colours are predominantly drawn from Georgian architecture (Bath stone and roof slate) along with muted green and blue accents that continue that naturalistic theme. These colours successfully suggest: Tradition, architecture, history, heritage, foundations

The deep, traditional blue is a primary brand colour of Oxford and a number of other venerable institutions. Whilst the original 'pure' blue has continued in use in very select places the more traditional dark blue carries more gravitas and has superseded Uni blue in most places. 

Contrast and accent colours stem from similar roots, with rich reds, greens and pinks from the flora in Sydney gardens. Over time these accent colours have been 'tweaked' for digital usage so that they remain accessible in most situations.

Problems with the current palette

The current palette lacks dynamism, modernity and, above all, any sense of emotion. It feels cold, unapproachable and overwhelmingly traditional.

Heavy usage of the brand blue gives the sense that the University aspires to be more like the older, more traditional institutions. 

Whilst making our digital palette fully accessible (AA compliant throughout - with minor exceptions) we have lost the vibrancy and excitement of a purer set of colours.

The palette is still constrained by trying to play too heavily on the University’s locale. Our brand colours should represent the University itself not the city of Bath. Colours might reference to the tones and shades found around the city but we need to stop trying to emulate them.

For consideration

There are a number of sub-brand colours that have been developed independently of the main UoB brand and are ‘fixed’. The main university palette cannot be limited by having to design around these pre-existing colour ways.

How respectful do we need to be with regards to the academic heritage of this organisation? The bright, vibrant palette that typifies a ‘modern’ colour way is not remotely academic, traditional or restrained.

Granite and slate are neutral colours which can be widely used and work alongside most colours effortlessly.

A modern palette

There appears to two approaches to developing a modern brand colour palette

  1. A set of strong but muted colours, tending towards a matte sheen
  2. A very limited but hyper-saturated set of colours combined with neutral background shades

A modern approach to colours

  • Over-saturation
  • Bright 2-colour gradients
  • Off-blacks, off-whites
  • Colour overlays
  • High contrast
  • Over-tinting

Contrast colours tend towards an artificial look. Colours are no longer extrapolated from naturalistic colours but have hyper-saturated accents.

Out-of-scope

Existing brand colour palettes that will remain unchanged in this palette revision:

  • University blue for leadership stuff
  • That yellow and off uni blue for Team Bath
  • Gold for the fiftieth
  • Red for open days
  • Pink and cyan for alumni