It is fitting that Manual’s rebrand of an architecture school should reflect its structural environs. For its rebrand of CCA (California College of the Arts) Architecture Division, San Francisco design studio Manual looked to the faculty’s home – a large, open-plan, double-height room built around a series of A-frame columns.
“Existing as a separate division within an art college, [the faculty] needed to establish its own identity within the college and strengthen its communication materials aimed at various audiences – from prospective international students, to faculty, to visiting lecturers,” explains Manual’s creative team, on the roots of the brief.
“We developed a graphic identity and [printed] materials to match the programme’s international status,” the designer continue. “At the heart of the identity is a reductive ‘A’ mark that directly references the A-frame architecture that is highly prominent in the college’s spacious atrium. The mark, which can be typed, also subtly references the digital nature of the program through its forward slash/back slash visual language.”
This process has seen the design team, led by Tom Crabtree, boil down the structure to its simplest form, an icon that is simultaneously distinctive and personal to the school, and adaptable to a range of outputs. The comprehensive rebrand expands this device of architectural lines and frameworks to a unified graphic system, used on programmes, posters, signage and digital applications.