Ryerson University, located in the heart of downtown Toronto, has undergone a dramatic shift from a practically-focused polytechnic to a comprehensive academic destination. Now home to 38,000 students across six faculties, the school has pioneered entrepreneurial, zone-based learning and has established itself as the “city-building” institution—collaborating with the public and private sectors to accelerate change in the community and beyond.
Ryerson’s brand, both verbal and visual, had not kept pace with this evolution. Bruce Mau Design was invited to bring the brand’s communications in-line with the new reality of the university. The work needed to capture the true spirit of the institution, bring clarity to a complex brand architecture and create space for ongoing evolution.Bruce Mau Design engaged in extensive research, consulting key stakeholders, current students and alumni, while leveraging significant quantitative data collected by the client team. Research synthesis laid the groundwork for the new brand platform, including a re-energized mission and vision. BMD also conducted positioning workshops with each faculty to help align their message with the larger university brand.
The team then developed a strong yet flexible identity system, incorporating high-equity elements of the legacy brand while visualizing the new brand positioning. The result is a bold visual language that celebrates the school’s collaborative and high-energy character through a system of graphic layers. With the new brand in place,Bruce Mau Design developed a brand video and creative campaign and messaging framework for a multi-year university communication plan. The campaign reverses the traditional inward-facing narrative of higher education, focusing instead on those who benefit from the work being done by Ryerson, its students, and its faculty.