As a high school senior, I participated in a one-day workshop offered through the Ontario College of Art & Design. Unfamiliar with downtown Toronto at the time, I remember wandering past a store with a giant cardboard sign shaped like a condom, pizza places and convenience stores, naively wondering where the college was …. one glance, and I had no more questions — it was more than obvious: a mosaic of black and white panels resembling a behemoth rubik’s cubic balanced on multi-colored metal legs, hovered several stories in the air over pedestrians. No questions asked — this is OCAD.
Five years later, and the college has a flexible identity by Bruce Mau Design, which is as memorable as its architecture.
The visual identity needed to be a true reflection of what we heard and saw – an inclusive, vibrant and vital institution built on creativity, risk and innovation.
With this in mind, we asked ourselves, ‘can the visual identity reveal the extraordinary creative energy that lives at OCAD U?’ Inspired by the iconic and transformational Alsop-designed building, BMD created a base of black and white pixel ‘windows’– modular frames to hold actual student art and design work. It is through these ‘windows’ that we see the core of OCAD U that is often hidden from view – conceptually strong, diverse, and compelling. This is a dynamic and modular identity where every year, graduating student medal winners will be invited to contribute to the logo within the basic window framework, providing a set of logos for that year. As OCAD U grows and matures, a living library of identities will necessarily emerge, recording the ideas and aesthetics that have shaped our culture over time.” - Bruce Mau Design
I love that the identity reflects OCAD’s memorable architecture, as well as the spirit of the institution as a whole.