If you spend any amount of time on the UPEI campus, you quickly realize that visual communications is not the institution’s strong suit: campus maps are out of date, building signage is subtle enough to be invisible, and there appear to be three visual identity programs in simultaneous use (The Crest, The Big U and Rust and Gold).
It seems there is a move to bring some clarity to this hodge-podge: a Task Force on Visual Identity has concluded its deliberations, and the result is an refreshed visual identity program for the institution.
While the project is laudable — I’m one of those people who think this stuff matters — I’m somewhat perplexed by the typographic emphasis of the new wordmark. I heard it referred to as “the University Island” today, and sure enough in the guidelines for the identity is the comment:
The type appears in a straightforward and easily readable presentation, and the colours have been chosen to bring attention to the words “University” and “Island.”
Perhaps there are more profound reasons for this emphasis, but it seems to me that what’s being emphasized is separateness — after all UPEI already is a sort of “academic island” floating aloof in the sea of the civilian community that surrounds it, and surely this isn’t something you’d want to typographically draw attention to.
If anything it sould be the word of that is emphasized, for it is the most important if you feel that the interplay between UPEI and the community should be strengthened: UPEI as an institution of the Island. And yet there it lies in italicized ignominy, almost hidden.
To say nothing of poor downgraded Prince Edward, once Duke of Kent and Strathearn, commander-in-chief of the forces in British North America, Governor of Gibraltar, and Knight of the Order of St. Patrick, now reduced to Pantone Gold 143 rendering half the size of the ISLAND to which he lends his name.