University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Visual Identity Design Elements and Concepts

School of Social Work

The design concept and visual approaches were developed to present the School as a leading national program known for its innovative research.

The design concept for the School's visual identity stemmed from the perspective of its students and where they will find themselves after they graduate—the places they will go and what they will experience. This includes students finding themselves in environments that reach the depths of innocence, despair, violence, homelessness, loss, aging, and vulnerability. Design elements were chosen that suggest these ideas without being blatant or graphic; i.e., city graffiti, children’s drawings, and eroding textures. The imagery was not meant to show the student in school, but to engage them in the passion of the profession after graduation and to depict how they can see themselves as an advocate, healer, mentor, and arbitrator—a “voice of calm.”

The dichotomy of how these two worlds coexist was integrated into the visual identity to show where students as social workers can play a role—how they can be at the core of the two worlds to bring about change and enhance the lives of the people for whom they advocate.

The layering of the textures represents the complexity of issues and solutions and has the softness of color needed to communicate care: purple for strength and passion, green for dissonance and attention-getting, and soft orange for kindness and comfort. The darker, muted blending of color shows the ever-present underlying current of the difficulties that exist in our society. The use of handmade marks and child-like drawings enhances the human texture element.

Presenting these contrasts visually guides the viewer to the strongest element, which is the engaging and compassionate faces of the students.