With a new Vice Chancellor about to take post and a renewed sense of purpose in its senior team, the University of Leicester initially approached SERIOUS to conduct research into perceptions and awareness of the university’s brand, reputation and offering.

Internally, the university believed its purpose was to empower people to explore through passionate dedicated teaching and

innovative world-changing research. When the Times described Leicester as ‘elite without being elitist’, the term became a popular, though sometimes contentious label for the university.

Although well-placed in domestic and world rankings, with a clutch of awards, the senior team believed that Leicester’s true offer and spirit was not communicated as effectively as it could be – both externally and internally.


Our brief was to conduct research with students, prospective students, the management team and members of the local community to:

  • Identify core benefits of the University
  • Test core messaging, including the motto ‘So that they may have life’ ; ‘elite without being elitist’; Discover…’and others
  • Build perspective – understand which perceived characteristics resonate and are motivating
  • Understand what is working and what isn’t in the positioning, to strengthen and develop new ideas and concepts

Thus ensuring that the university brand would from hereon be clearly telegraphed and all of the brand’s communications would be built upon a relevant and strong foundation.
SERIOUS had already conducted similar research for many education institutions including Henley Business School, London Business School and the University of Reading. Over a period of nine months we embarked upon a series of workshops which typically lasted three-four hours and comprised visual stimuli of competitor universities; plus interrogation of many aspects of the University’s offering. Finally we distilled our findings into a white paper for discussion with the board. These findings dovetailed into a second project:



To coincide with the launch of the University’s Strategic Plan 2015-2020 on 22 September this year under the new Vice Chancellor, SERIOUS was charged with developing:

  • A refreshed shield and logo for the university (consulting with all stakeholders to test shortlisted design concepts)
  • A new colour palette
  • New fonts
  • New overarching brand message and sub-brand messaging
  • A compelling narrative


A refreshed logo needed to represent the history and heritage of the University but not feel stuck in the past. On a practical level it had to work well in print and online, notably on social media, as well as reproducing clearly on a range of merchandise including embroidery on clothing. Two key historical elements of the logo were explored in detail: the shield and the griffin.



It was important that the typeface worked in harmony with the shield creating a sense of balance when used together. Neither element is overpowering, yet each element has the impact to stand alone.  The two elements complement each other.

A seraph typeface was chosen that reflects the traditions of the past and remains legible even when small. Using capitals which are not tightly spaced maintains impact without having to increase size.



The updated logo respects the legacy of the University’s original coat of arms while simplifying and emboldening its presence. The new design freshens the logo, and represents the University of Leicester as it is today—dynamic, contemporary, and relevant for a digital age.

CIM Marketing Excellence Award shortlisted IPA Award Winner
THE Awards shortlisted    Guardian University Awards nominated  IPA Member
CPD accredited    ISO 9001 certified