Fachhochschule Brandenburg

Contributed by Enrica Corzani of London-based Thomas Manss & Company.

With the founding of Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences in April 1992, Brandenburg upon Havel became a university town for the first time in its history of over a 1,000 years. There are nearly 3,000 students enrolled at Brandenburg University, all studying degree courses in three disciplines: engineering, business administration and economics as well as information technology and media.

Thomas Manss & Company’s new symbol for the university replaces the abstracted depiction of the college building with a mark that is less literal without betraying its roots.

FHB main building

Both, the old symbol and its successor, are inspired by the architecture of the former army barracks the university calls home to 3000 students in Brandenburg an der Havel. “The gate depicted in the old symbol might be the formal main entrance of the college but very few members or visitors actually use it. Nevertheless, the identification of staff and students of Fachhochschule Brandenburg with this architectural feature is high,” explains College President Dr. Hans Georg Helmstädter.

FHB old logo
Former logo

However, while the old mark could be associated with the three disciplines of study, it was felt that it also presented a staid image of an institution that prides itself on its progressive programme of global cooperation in research as well as teaching. Students enjoy partnerships and exchange programmes with 50 international universities in Europe and overseas.

“The challenge was to evolve the existing identity, building on the existing goodwill invested in the architectural symbol, yet, conveying the state-of-the-art nature of the educational programme,” according to Thomas Manss & Company partner Andreas Lerchner.

Initial focus group research revealed that, in addition to the academic programme, the idyllic surroundings with their myriad waterways and leisure facilities were a big draw.

The newly designed mark takes into account these findings and adds the water theme with a simple design intervention that leaves the symbol still proudly displaying its architectural origins.

FHB symbol
New symbol

College President Dr. Hans Georg Helmstädter comments: “For the uninitiated punter the new mark represents an instantly recognisable, abstract, calm and modern shape. For people familiar with the campus, it evokes the main building and the four squares are also reminiscent of the gates depicted in the shield of the city — illustrating the college’s unequivocal commitment to Brandenburg an der Havel.”

FHB city emblems
City emblems, recent and former

The new Fachhochschule Brandenburg symbol has been implemented across a wide range of applications including stationery, posters, brochures, presentations and the college website. Andreas Lerchner explains: “The visual identity had to be implemented easily and efficiently by college staff as well as numerous external suppliers.”

FHB logo

FHB logo

All designs and templates have been documented in an easy to use design manual and were presented to staff and students alike during a dedicated launch event.

FHB guide

FHB guide

FHB guide

FHB guide

FHB pin

View more identity work on the Thomas Manss & Company website. Follow Thomas Manss on Twitter.

3 responses

  1. I’ll be honest, it doesn’t excite me. But it’s functional, unobtrusive, nicely executed and fitting. I’m not sure it screams “state-of-the-art…educational programme”, although I can imagine the difficulty in trying to express both modernity and tradition. I think the logo is much stronger when paired with the text, rather than by itself, which I can’t help but think looks slightly unfinished and oddly unbalanced.

    I originally really liked the look of the brochures, although I’m confused as to their purpose. Are they purely for the launch of the identity or are they in the form of a prospectus? If it’s the latter, then they appear very nice. If it’s the former, then I can’t help thinking it’s a bit of a waste.

    And then there’s the website…

    It’s frankly horrible (sorry). Again, where is the state-of-the-art feeling? It looks very dated and I can’t help but balk at the fade, the reflections on the social media icons, and the general layout and look. It seems a shame that a sleek(ish) logo seems to have simply been whacked on the website which appears unchanged in quite some time (in fact it says on the bottom of the website that it was last updated over a year ago, which hardly seems “cutting-edge”).

    It’s a shame. A strong identity demands application across all media and should be supported. The website could be wonderful and reflective of the image, atmosphere and kind of education the university seems keen to foster and promote. The website of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences is more of what I would have imagined (http://www.international.hva.nl/). Sadly, it looks dated, with uninspiring copy to match.

    In short: I’m not jumping up and down about the logo, but it’s nice enough. The website should be completely renewed and be more like those nice brochures.

  2. I agree with Richard, it’s just so bland. I actually prefer the old symbol, without the type it would make a much more interesting yet abstract shape. Plus the use of Gotham, it’s everywhere these days (I’m just as guilty) but too obvious. Not a big fan of french folds either, I just find them annoying.

  3. Wow! I can’t believe the comments, so much whining, seriously guys!!!

    The new identity is not intended to Designers and other people in related fields, it’s intended to potential students, parents, teachers, partners ect. It’s a University not Disney, so it doesn’t have to be “Exciting”, it has to be appropriate and nothing more!
    The website was not done by them by the way so why whine about it!

    Nobody else than Graphic Designer cares if it’s Gotham or Frutiger! Honestly!
    “Oh by the way, my University uses Gotham and it’s so oversused that I don’t feel like going to school today! Ridiculous, again it’s not meant for you but for the public, and you know what?
    They don’t care!

    The type is actually great, it gives a clean feel to the mark. Great work!
    It’s not about being oversused or not, it’s about being relevant, it does the job? then who cares?!
    If they picked Gotham it’s probably because it’s one of the most versatile Geometric typeface out there, if not the most.

    I say Great work!

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