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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.