The UTS Business School in Sydney embarked upon a new strategy in 2009 – when it’s Dean set an agenda for a Knowledge Future. This led to a rethink of the course structures, stronger ties with the business community and alumni, brought voice to the academics and business leaders, and built a new campus to enable innovation and collaboration.
To enable this transition, the creation of a multi-channel knowledge and community platform (physical and digital) and its brand was required. It included well attended events, expert articles on global issues and new technologies, community channels, video presentations, weekly podcasts and newsletters, a quarterly magazine, and presence on social platforms. Our work also led to Frank Gehry designing the new business school, with funding from a member of our business community – the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building.
The creative process and my role
My responsibility for the Business School was to lead the digital product and brand creation. I assembled the creative and technical team, specified the structure and User Experience of the platform and its features and functionality, and oversaw the creative development of all branded touchpoints.
The branding reflected the disquiet brought about by the Global Financial Crisis, set against the optimism that innovation and creativity through collaboration could be a solution. It’s a mixture of dark unknowns and dramatic high-colour symbolism. This graphic language successfully connected the business community with the youthful student body.
On the website I wanted a few key experiences to be done well.
1. A calm and focussed reading experience for articles and features. This was achieved with a clean design in line with Read-later applications that were becoming prominent
2. A focussed watching experience. For video and interactive features we enabled all other page content to visually fall away, leaving only the attention on the content.
3. Easy social sharing. We coded custom social buttons, prominently anchored on all pages, to share our content. This helped build the conversation around ideas, and dramatically increased website traffic from around the world.
4. Knowledge mapping and data visualisation. We created, commissioned and profiled data visualisation and non-linear narrative content. These interactive features and data points brought journalistic clarity to our stories and new ways to explore ideas.
5. Personal profile pages. All our academic and business contributors were highlighted on the site. This achieved a sense of pride and connection, and showcased the talent and ideas of our community.
Development team and technologies
I worked alongside a head of marketing and head of content. We had a key designer for web and key designer for print. One highly talented developer built and maintained the website and its evolving features. An editorial team and lead editor produced the quarterly magazine. And a production house in Sydney supplied the camera crew for the video filming.