Pentagram has developed a comprehensive identity system for the Tulane School of Architecture (TuSA), the highly regarded college of architecture at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Tulane University offered its first courses in architecture in 1894 and a full four-year professional curriculum was established in 1907.
Iñaki Alday, who became Dean of the Tulane School of Architecture in 2018, initiated the development of a new brand identity for the school to coincide with the complete renovation of Richardson Memorial Hall, the 113-year-old building which houses the college of architecture at Tulane. Dean Alday received a Master of Architecture degree from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in 1992 and is the co-founder and principal of Alday Jover Architecture and Landscape in Barcelona, Spain. The firm is renowned for its leadership in the relationship between cities and waterways. That area of focus and Alday’s emphasis on multidisciplinary, research-based architecture makes his new residence in New Orleans fortuitous for the university, the region and the world.
Dean Alday, who reached out to Pentagram directly, said this about the working relationship: “The Pentagram design team brought an impressive level of expertise into the collaborative process we undertook to conceptualize the school’s mission and focus as a university uniquely located in the heart of the Gulf Coast.”
Pentagram’s charge was to develop an original identity for the Tulane School of Architecture that differentiates the school from the other colleges at Tulane but also distinguishes itself from other prominent architecture programs nationally. At the same time, there was a desire for the identity to visually acknowledge the parent institution and to feel related as part of the Tulane family. Additionally, the Pentagram team was asked to redesign and completely overhaul the Tulane School of Architecture website and to design a suite of print collateral materials infused with the new look and feel of the rebrand.
With these parameters in place, the design team explored a number of approaches and eventually landed on a new mark that takes the form of a blue letter “T.” Half of the new mark borrows from the Roman cap “T” of Tulane University’s main logotype and half references the contemporary art and craft of architecture. That half also recalls an old-school T-square, the drawing tool that was the basis for architectural drafting before AutoCAD.
The vibrant, cobalt blue color of the new logo further differentiates the mark from Tulane University’s mostly green identity system and references the Tulane School of Architecture’s focus on the relationship between cities and waterways. An extended color palette provides new pairing options for the school of architecture and shares a selection of secondary Tulane University brand colors.
The Tulane School of Architecture “T” icon is paired off with a contemporary typeface called Rigid Square by Dharma Type to form the primary expression of the brand. The angular letterforms of the font subtly recall (once again) the lost art of draftsmanship. The distinctive Rigid Square is complemented by Freight Sans Pro, a no-nonsense sans-serif typeface, and Caslon 224, a traditional Roman typeface the new TuSA identity shares with the main Tulane University brand to build consistency across the two identities.
A flexible set of wordmark configurations and a sub-brand system are provided in the simple but effective brand guidelines. An animated version of the new identity developed by the Pentagram design team shows the traditional Roman letter “T” of the Tulane University logotype morphing into the new Tulane School of Architecture icon and then the contemporary architecture side of the mark filling with still or moving pictures of cities, buildings, structures, waterways and other architectural imagery. In this way the new mark can act as a dynamic identity that can be changed and customized to fit the subject at hand.
Now with a new modern identity, updated vibrant colors, an overhauled website, a completely renovated building on the way and an energetic upbeat attitude moving forward, the Tulane School of Architecture is ready for its next century.