The University of Dundee places a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary learning, where students often work outside their areas of expertise to broaden their experience and education. Coupled with the focus on peer-to-peer content, our visual identity will express ‘non-linear learning’, where influences and experiences come from multiple sources.
A large volume of user-generated content, based on testimonials, images and video, will be gathered over time to help promote the University. This content will have a mix of practical and emotive messages. Throughout the lifespan of the brand, students, alumni, staff and partners will be encouraged to add to it and enhance it with their own stories and images, helping to paint a genuine picture of the University and all it has to offer.
Our photography style should reinforce the idea of peer-to-peer communication and should not feel too removed in style from user-generated content. This means authenticity is key, capturing moments with a reportage feel.
All top level photography will feature people, with individuals and groups both featured. We should always use ‘real people’, never models or actors.
All communications will have a sense of modernity and an ‘eye on the future’. High exposure will help the images feel ‘airy’, modern and positive.
The main objective of our photography is to create a stronger ‘mental picture’ of University life - snapshots of people, campus activity and all that helps make the city special.
Primary photography: people focused
When representing university life, people should become the core focus. Shots should feature real people in real situations.
With our peer-to-peer strategy in mind, the target market should be able to identify with the featured individuals. When selecting or commissioning a photograph, consideration should be given to the subject’s age, gender, nationality and location.
It is important that people shots should generally have a shallow depth of field to create an ‘indistinctness’ and pronounced blur around the focal point. There should be enough free space around the focus point to enable the design team to overlap the images.
Individuals / small groups.
Reportage / genuine, not staged / natural, not posed / ‘fly on the wall’ / lost in the moment.
Intimate / imagination / possibilities. Excitement / energy / enthusiasm / seize the moment.
Shallow depth of field / blurred background and/or foreground.
Strong point of focus / wide blurred edges / generous free space / unexpected angles / a new way of looking at something.
Light and bright / feeling of positivity / sense of space.
Composition and depth of field
Our visual identity is built up using layered stacks of content to give an impression of progress, action and multiple influences from different directions (see section 2). Images will often bleed off the page or be partially obscured by layers above them. By following these rules for composing primary photography the design team have the flexibility to overlap and manipulate the images to best follow this style.
Examples of people photography
Secondary photography: spaces and places
When representing the campus or wider city, our focus is to showcase the University and Dundee as modern, lively and energetic. With big plans for the future, the city is an exciting place to live, study, socialise and work.
Unexpected, interesting angles capture attention, creating strong, lasting impressions. Where possible, people should be in the shots, engaging with the spaces, although this is not mandatory.
- interiors and exteriors
- landmarks and wider city
- 'fly on the wall'
- intimate, inspiring or grand
- surprising, interesting place
- shallow depth of field for intimacy
- wider shots full focus
- unexpected angles
- a new way of looking at something
- light and bright
- feeling of positivity
- Scotland’s sunniest city
Examples of spaces and places photography
Tertiary photography: functional
In many instances, we will need to use photography in a more practical level. The shot should clearly communicate the subject matter in a way that is functional and usable. It is inevitable there will be instances where we are not able to take the photographs and need to use content from external sources.
Careful consideration should be given to crops, and composition to ensure maximum effectiveness. Functional photography can often be tied into the overall brand identity style by using gradient maps (see next section)
- subject specific material
- informative applications
- practical resources
- clear and descriptive
- optional and flexible
- practical and functional
- good balance of light and shadow
Examples of functional photography
Photography used for staff directories and profiles should be high quality and follow the corporate style. Avatars are not permitted.
To help make our photography more recognisable and ownable, we have the option to apply gradient maps — a post-production treatment that adds a subtle overlay of colour and helps reflect the vibrancy of the University and City.
This can be used to add a stylistic element when required, or can be applied to make the photograph more harmonious within its environment, for example, to match a colour-themed composition.
To bring archived and existing image banks into line with our new identity, we have the option to retrospectively apply gradient maps.
Using gradient maps
When using gradient maps, the core colour and highlight colours (excluding grey) should blend into a block colour, or white.
Core colour blending into block colour 5
Highlight colour 1 blending into block colour 4
Highlight colour 2 blending into white
Please avoid using photos and images that feel posed, staged or use models and actors. If it isn’t authentic and natural, please discard and seek a more suitable alternative.
For more in-depth support and guidance, please contact Creative Services.Contact Creative Services