News / Film

Pentagram’s Naresh Ramchandani has produced the definitive university checklist

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Pentagram: University of Sussex

Ah, A-Level results day!

You remember, don’t you, how it felt all those years ago as you traipsed towards your sixth-form with a head full of dreams, a heart full of hope, and a stomach full of hellish, backflipping dread. You remember your hands trembling as you picked up the manilla package that contained your fate. You remember, too, the waves of relief that plashed over you as three little letters confirmed that you would be hot-footing it down to London or up to Manchester to spend three years watching Coach Trip and occasionally going to lectures. Memories!

Pentagram partner, Naresh Ramchandani remembers it too, which is why he and his team have worked with Pentagram client University of Sussex to create an “an almost unbiased alternative university checklist” which eschews academic league tables, student
satisfaction surveys and graduate employability rankings in favour of K-pop, Lord Richard Attenborough and photogenic concrete signs.

“University advertising has many formulae,” says Naresh. “They include pompous stats, images of grinning diverse students, pictures of well-manicured lawns, giddy promises of employment. Not only does this information lack any insight into the lived experiences of students, its somehow both dull and intimidating at the same time.” And so he decided to go down a more engaging route, using site-specific, less stereotypical and more unusual experience as the bedrock of the campaign.

Talking about his own results day experience, Naresh says, “Because I grew up in another era, my results day was reasonably relaxed. I had a pretty low offer to do a pretty great course which wasn’t stigmatised for not leading me straight into a profession and wasn’t pressurised for saddling me with a £50,000 debt for the rest of life.”

The short video clip intends to, so Pentagram says, “give the viewer a valuable insight into
Sussex’s distinctive spirit.” As higher education becomes an increasingly corporate sphere, it is refreshing to be reminded of the fact that university can be fun, and universities themselves can be fun too.

That spirit, Naresh believes, “comes from its founding purpose – to make the future.” He says that, “they have done all they can to change things, though recruiting fantastic, free-thinking academics, by commissioning world-class research and by challenging the status quo, be it through intellectual rigour or much-needed protest.”

The industry giants were responsible for refreshing the academic institution’s visual identity back in 2017.

Any prospective students looking for a university that offers rhythmically inclined robots alongside the usual nights at the Student Union can watch the clip below.