New website continues Huron rebranding effort

In preparing to celebrate a century and a half of academic excellence this December, Huron University College has launched a new, fresh and streamlined visual identity that will reflect the school’s tradition, as well as its deep-rooted connection to Western.

This month’s launch of Huron’s new website, huronuc.ca, was the final installment of Huron’s visual identity update, and it reflects an important part of the institution’s strategic direction, aiming to improve student experience by making information easier to access, said Huron Principal Stephen McClatchie.

The site is easier to navigate than its predecessor, allowing users to easily connect with Huron’s social media platforms. It likewise incorporates two colours, Huron red and Western purple, reflecting a longstanding connection between the two institutions – one not all students are aware of, McClathcie explained.

“We developed a (strategic) plan called Critically Engaged, and we set out our goals, giving priority to the intensive and immersive student experience,” McClatchie said.

“One of the things that we discovered, not all of our students understood how old Huron was. The word ‘college’ has been confusing to some people, with the relation to community college. And not everyone understood our relationship to Western, being older and being the founding college, and those students that come to Huron graduate with Western degrees. That’s a very important part of our partnership and we wanted to signal that link that we have.”

The website’s updated fonts and redesigned logo – one with an updated colour palette, a slightly modified shield and the school’s founding year – likewise tie in with a new look developed for Huron’s student viewbook and promotional materials. The school’s promotional tools are now all streamlined, reflecting the history and tradition of Huron, as well as its link to Western through the use of purple and the shift to the Hellmuth font, McClatchie said.

The redesign process started in fall 2011; Academica Group conducted interviews, surveys, and focus groups with Huron faculty, staff, students and alumni.

The following year, Toronto design firm KerrSmith was hired to create visuals that reflected the findings of Academica Group, complementing Huron’s key messages, its history and and the connection it shares with Western. KerrSmith developed Western’s new brand, launched just last year.

“(Huron) adopted the Western purple and the home typeface that was part of the Western rebrand. (Bishop Isaac) Hellmuth is Western’s founder, and our first principal and purple was chosen because it was the colour of bishops – it was deliberately chosen as a colour that makes sense for us to have,” McClatchie explained.

“Now we have a website that is clean and professional looking, and much easier to use. It’s the consistency of look, and projecting a professional image. We were very intentional, just as Western was, in launching its new logo, replacing signage, print and web materials – it’s all freshened up.”