How do you show the world the true you?


A bold rebrand for Solent University

The time was right for a change

Solent University were (and still are) a university on the up. They were rising up the league tables. Growing in reputation and stature. And investing in an even brighter future. They’d come a long way, and their existing brand was getting left behind. As a university that was pioneering new approaches to education, they wanted a look and feel that challenged the way people thought about them.

It didn’t feel right, or big enough, for the university they now were. It was too complex, and lacked clarity. It wasn’t giving them a proper voice in an increasingly competitive, busy and samey marketplace. It was definitely time for a new message, and a whole new look.

And this is where we came in.

We started to get to know the university

We got right into our research. Speaking to over 700 people, from students and staff to business partners and public bodies, we gathered opinions from far and wide. And, as we did, a full and positive picture started to emerge.

In particular, these five main themes came to the fore:

  • The excitement and positivity about the future
  • The high quality, real-world learning
  • The atmosphere of openness and accessibility
  • The supportive and nurturing environment
  • The feeling of dynamism and energy

We turned these into brand attributes, and then built a proposition on top of them. Which meant that all we had left to find was the ‘essence’ of Solent – the one special thing that summed it all up. We came up with two, but there was one clear winner.

There’s only one word for Solent. That word is: UNSTOPPABLE

Why? Because it sums up their energy and progress. Their confidence and their ambitions. And how their students feel after studying there.

We brought the essence to life

A bold essence like this demanded a bold look – which is exactly what we came up with. Using vibrant colours, bright gradients and a signature circle, we captured the energy and optimism of the University.

Although relatively young, the new brand is already making the right impression. It’s been eagerly adopted across the University, and has started appearing on campus and in key communications.

The new Brand now sits proudly at the heart of all Solent’s communication, giving everyone a sense of the clear, confident message of Solent’s offer.

Partnering with the University Marketing Team, we’ve enabled them to create a wide range of assets, and helped deliver the internal communication strategy, including a short animation explaining the change.

The story of the Solent brand has a long way to go.

For now, we’ll end this chapter here, by giving the final word to the client…

Our brand project was a key element of our growth strategy, so we really had to get it right. SMRS have given us a professional brand that not only contains all the necessary foundations and building blocks, but also captures our spirit. It feels absolutely right for who we are and where we’re heading, and it’s giving us the confidence to achieve our goals in a competitive marketplace. Working with SMRS has been, and continues to be, a very positive experience.”

Leonora Clement
Head of Marketing and Digital
Solent University