Western Sydney University

The client
Ranked among the top two per cent of universities in the world by the prestigious Times Higher Education World University Rankings in 2014, Western Sydney University has a reputation for student-centred learning, a track record in delivering impact-driven research and a growing international reach and profile. Located in Australia’s third largest and fastest growing economy, the University is helping its students, staff and the communities it engages with, tap into a global perspective and unlimited opportunity for success. 

The brief
 In 2014, the University appointed Citizen to develop its new brand identity as part of a major repositioning and rebranding exercise. With a bold new vision for its future underpinned by its ‘Secure Success’ strategy, the University sought to further strengthen it’s international profile and standing in Western Sydney. An extensive research exercise discovered that the things that matter the most to potential students were the same values and characteristics that are important to the University and the Western Sydney community. The brief was to capture the essence of those values – hard work, determination, optimism, boldness and creativity – in the University’s new brand identity and expression, encapsulated as ‘unlimited’. 

Our solution
We set ourselves the task of going beyond the brief to create a new organisational identity that would also become the social brand of the University. In taking this direction we asked, ‘how do we create a perfect balance of a brand with academic excellence, partnered with a youthful vibrancy that befits the University?’ 

The answer was to create a master brand that had a strong sense of place in positioning Western Sydney in the first line, and an implied confidence in the simplicity and boldness of the design.

Responding to research insights that students wanted a symbol that reflected academic excellence and was more formal in nature, the logo design incorporates a shield as the platform for the typographic ‘W’, with a unique curved based referencing the landscape.

Through the unexpected colour palette – using deep red as the primary colour, partnered with ‘non-traditional’ tones (such as fluro orange and vibrant purple) – and an approach to photography that is both modern and student focused.



The result
On Open Day 2015, Western Sydney University unveiled its new brand identity and positioning. Reflecting the pride the University takes in its place and role in the community, the rebrand also realigned the many rich sources of equity and reputation, such as The Academy and Research, under the master brand of the University.  

At the completion of the project Citizen had delivered: the new brand identity, supporting visual and verbal guidelines and assets (including photography, video footage, language guidelines and story banks); creative conceptualization, design, writing and production of the University’s Undergraduate and Higher Degree Research Prospectus; art direction, supporting collateral and way-finding strategy for Open Day.