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Multibrand Designathon – the next steps

On 4 April the Design System Product team ran its first collaborative, co-design event – a Designathon, bringing together 37 participants from across our University.

The aim of the session was to:

  • start thinking creatively about ways to address the design and technical challenges associated with representing multiple brands on our digital environments, whilst retaining the integrity of the University of Edinburgh brand
  • use our collective experiences, to surface core/common problems and to highlight aspects of this complex issue that to prioritise and focus on

The work the Design System is doing on multibranding has a goal to convey brand more consistently across our web and digital estates. Achieving this goal will help us provide effective improvements and shape the range of design patterns and components available within the Design System.

Outcomes following the Designathon

Following the Designathon, Emma Horrell (UX and Content Designer within the Design System and WPP product teams) and myself met with our close partners in Communications and Marketing – Deepthi de Silva Williams (Head of Brand) and Steven Ross (Head of Digital Marketing). We discussed the outcomes from the session and looked at the next steps. Communications and Marketing are already looking into legal and contractual aspects of the way brand is represented and are guiding and helping us understand the parameters around this work.

From our meeting with Deepthi and Steven, we identified two main themes, that we agreed would be useful to look at in a follow-up Designathon session:

  1. Governance and process – development of procedures to follow/rule setting.
    This would enable the community to have a way to evaluate what they have, know where to start, have some clear steps to follow and know who to consult.
  2. Hierarchies and aesthetics – provision of practical support and guidance to show how logos need to be represented correctly in different hierarchical scenarios.
    This would offer solutions to the design and technical challenges encountered when applying the University brand in varying contexts.

Further outcomes from the Designathon:

  • Identifying our community’s need, for brand empowerment. There is a need to ensure that the tools provided through the Design System equip and empower those working with brand, to be able to make decisions and give the rationale and reason for approaches, that do not dilute the brand.
  • Development of a working group, to help achieve the aims of the multibrand work we are developing on the Design System, especially as we move into prototyping component designs.

Follow up Designathon

We hope to run a follow up Designathon session in June/July. All are welcome, regardless of whether you attended the first or not. The Design System Team look forward to your comments, feedback and questions on our work in this area.

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