I was approached by an old friend from The University of Tulsa, who is now at The University of Oklahoma, about designing an identity for their annual student academic publication: The Journal of Global Affairs.
The University of Oklahoma has a rather robust International Affairs department, with a number of professors nationally respected in their various fields.
Masthead with University Name
One of the strongest elements of this identity system is its flexibility. Flexibility is one of the primary reasons for my preference of type-based logos in general, but it is especially powerful in this system.
Every year, the Journal has a new set of editors, contributors and staff. This makes for a unique set of voices with every edition. Adding to this annual uniqueness, the Journal hosts a student cover art competition with the winner’s artwork emblazoned on that year’s volume.
For this reason, I wanted the identity of the Journal itself to be classic, traditional, even somewhat staid, allowing the brand to have a preserved voice over that season’s style. The greyscale color palette echoes this thought process.
Zekiel Johnson is this year’s editor for The Journal, and had this to say about the project:
“The Journal of Global Affairs is a very new publication at our university, so one of our first hurdles was branding it as a professional, academic work, to be taken seriously in the field. We wanted a logo design that conveyed authority and power in the field of international relations academia. The logo would be recognizable, and would signify the gravity of its content. Our previous edition and attempts at design had left our publication with a kind of unserious — almost playful — feel, and we wanted to change that.
“The logo package fits us perfectly. Its sharp styling conveys the seriousness and authority of our publication, and gave us multiple options [lockups] to choose from so that we could also brand all of our correspondence, paperwork, and promotional media. The branding gave us what our previous editions seriously lacked — staying power.
“As for the layout of the Journal itself, the professionalism the logo conveyed on the cover was carried out throughout the inside of the publication as well. The simplicity and minimalism of the design on the inside allowed the content of the publication to show through without being muddled by the design overall, and fit very well for the academic feel we hoped to achieve.
“Altogether, the branding and design of the Journal produced our most successful edition so far, and we look forward to using the leverage it gives us in the field to make even greater strides in the future.”
Thanks, Zeke. And many happy returns. As he mentions, I also laid out the interior of this year’s Journal. I actually composed my review of this project before he sent me his, and it was encouraging to see my thought process and solutions echoed in his review. Here are a few more lockups for the Journal’s use.