OCAD University unveils new visual identity

OCAD University has formally unveiled a new visual identity intended to reflect its status as Toronto’s fourth university.

OCAD University has formally unveiled a new visual identity intended to reflect its status as Toronto’s fourth university.

Previously known as the Ontario College of Art and Design, OCAD University received government permission to include the university designation in its name last June.

Toronto’s Bruce Mau Design won the subsequent RFP and was charged with creating a visual identity around the name, which was unveiled at the school’s 96th annual Graduate Exhibition last week.

Steve Virtue, OCAD’s director of marketing and communications, said that there was a strong desire to hold onto the OCAD name, which he said has built up considerable brand equity throughout the school’s 135-year history.

“We’ve been very well known for years as the Ontario College of Art, and a number of our alumni have gone on to do amazing things under the OCA banner,” said Virtue. “For a period of time we were known as OCAD and now OCAD University, and the things we’re doing now are very different from what we were doing 15 years ago.”

Inspired by OCAD University’s iconic Sharp Centre for Design building, the new visual identity consists of three interconnected black and white blocks, one housing the letters OCAD, a smaller block holding the letter U, and another block blank to incorporate student art and design work.

“The frame itself becomes a canvas for our ability to showcase our students,” said Virtue. Each year, graduating student medal winners will be invited to design a logo that will be housed within the blank window.

OCAD received government permission to confer degrees in 2003, but Virtue said that being able to include the university designation in its name helps in everything from attracting faculty members from international markets to establishing partnerships with other educational institutions and possible business partners.

Virtue said that OCAD has historically been the “quiet fourth university in Toronto,” but said that plans are underway to raise its profile. “We are really going to be ramping up our efforts in making sure people are aware that there is a fourth university in the city,” said Virtue.

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