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Early Start is a $44m initiative based at the University of Wollongong in Sydney Australia.
Based on research that demonstrates that social disadvantage is strongly tied to children’s access to opportunities in the earliest years of their lives, Early Start seeks to pioneer new links between children, parents, schools, research and students studying early education.
Key to the brief was developing a brand and identity that could span this diverse range of audiences and across a wide range of applications including digital learning and a Children’s Discovery Centre where children engage in hands-on developmental play.
Following a series of workshops Frost* Design developed the brand idea of “exciting potential” to capture the idea of using play and engaging experiences as a way of overcoming disadvantage and stimulating not only children’s potential but also wider social opportunity.
Working from the brand platform our creative team developed the idea of “Imaginaction” – to embody how imagination can be a force for change.
The identity was realised through the adoption of a dual approach that encapsulated the two sides of this creative idea, with a cloudburst representing imagination, and a starburst representing action.
The logo is designed around these two elements – with a cloud on one side and a star on the other.
As part of the logo design, an original typeface was developed where each letter is either sharp edged or rounded to further accentuate the cloud and star idea.
The cloud and star are also the foundation of the creative system for the visual language. Words, symbols and photography feature inside the two objects, creating a simple but effective way of demonstrating inputs and outputs.This system is also reminiscent of pop art, making it highly appealing to adults and children alike.
In place of using primary colours which are the norm when it comes to brands for children, we incorporated research that children relate more effectively to tactile surfaces and textures, and these formed the basis for the secondary colour palette. A key part of the project was applying the brand to the Childrens’ Discovery Centre and the new building on the University’s campus.
As part of this work we workshopped signage systems with children to understand how they relate to typical icons and wayfinding systems.
This resulted in a highly engaging system based on characters, that again draw on the cloud and star forms.
These characters help deliver information and add to the experience in the space, literally bringing the logo to life as characters that people can relate to.
The partnership between UOW and Frost* Design has been a very fruitful one and the new brand is currently being rolled out on the building by Urbanite, the environmental graphics specialists in the Frost*collective.
Frost*collective’s client, Pauline Lysaght has said the following of the Frost* experience:
It was wonderful to work with the very creative team from Frost* Design on the development of a distinctive signage and way-finding solution that so clearly reflects our brand... also generated by Frost* Design. Their designs reflect the Early Start concept perfectly, enhancing the internal and external architecture of our new building very effectively. The fact that we have adopted their innovative designs without change is a tribute to their skillful approach. “