We are thrilled with the work that the team at Barlo have delivered for us on the re-branding of such an important higher education programme as RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning). They built a real understanding of the programme and how it needed to engage with our different target audiences. Their creative approach and design management were excellent – always looking at the fine detail in crafting the new identity, but also recognising the macro picture of how the brand would come alive when launched through multiple channels. We believe our new brand marque represents our vision very well. The reaction we have had to the brand and the interim website launched has been so positive from all our different stakeholders. We would highly recommend Barlo as a brand and design partner. Grace Edge, Project Director
Barlo has recently completed a branding overhaul for The National Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in Higher Education. The aim of the project was to put in place a consistent and coherent brand for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) across their network of 19 Higher Education institutions.
One of the challenges for this project was that RPL had been in use in Higher Education for decades and yet had poor awareness and was difficult for learners to access and higher education staff to implement.
The vision for the programme was to make RPL an integral part of the Higher Education system to develop a more joined up proposition which would develop strong brand recognition amongst its core audiences – potential students, educators and the business community at large.
The cornerstone of the project was the newly created RPL brand. The new identity was to reflect a learner centric approach and when extended into different marketing communications to deliver a joined-up sectoral approach.
The Barlo team set about gathering as much market data intelligence to inform the creative process.
A vision report developed by the client stakeholder team outlining its vision for the future provided initial background information for our team.
We then examined the RPL programmes in over 30 countries worldwide. We paid particular attention to those geographic regions in close proximity to Ireland – the UK and Europe. This provided rich data in relation to the international programmes that had succeeded and struggled with their RPL offering.
Our team developed keywords which captured the different aspects the new brand needed to stand for. They included;
Be human,Accessible, Approachable, Open, Flexible, Welcomed, Cornerstone of learning, Integral, Vibrant, Humble, Connected, Informal, Inclusive, Access, Paths to education, Totality of, Learning, Learner focus, Shared Journey, Clear, Transparent, Quality, Diversity, Continuous Learning, Outside In Learning, Equity in education, Consistency
“Humanity is diverse, therefore learning must be flexible. People have different backgrounds, opportunities, timeframes, personalities, resources and styles. Wouldn't it be something if.. [higher education].. could recognise this?” RPL student
The new marque:
The new brand identity we developed for RPL took it’s inspiration from the diverse nature of the people looking to access it. This was depicted in the different shapes that are used to create the RPL icon. The concept reflected the many types of persons, with different experiences who could embellish their lives through RPL
Our use of colour also enhanced this idea of different elements coming together to deliver a new meaning. The primary palette was made up of a deep purple reflecting an established body. This was coupled with a vibrant lime and pink delivering energy and vitality to the new brand.
A set of 6 secondary colours was developed to work in tandem with the core palette and ensure there was flexibility and breath to the overall colour palette available for the brand.
Good typography aids clear, distinctive and memorable communication. The primary typeface chosen was Source Sans Variable and will be used across all communications material published by RPL. It is a font with excellent legibility and is available in a variety of forms and weights to give flexibility across different communication pieces. The secondary typeface was Source Serif Variable. It will be used to support the primary typeface on all communications materials. The primary digital typeface was Calibri supported by Cambria as a secondary type. These typefaces were selected for use on electronic applications such as Emails and Microsoft applications such as PowerPoint and Word documents.
Our team developed a new tagline for the RPL programme. Working through a process of tagline development we arrived at the chosen line “Your Experience Counts”. This line captured a core aspect of the programme - that previous work experience counts for something and that that experience was unique for each person.
We wanted the brand to be vibrant and distinctive and used the style of imagery to set it apart. We looked to capture the nature and scale of RPL through its imagery. People and locations look real and genuine, captured at an interesting moment that catches attention and makes a pause for thought. We wanted to use action and environment shots to deliver a broad
As part of the extended visual language for the brand, we developed a suite of graphic icons in a bespoke RPL style.
The different shapes and forms of the brand design were extended into the styling of page and screen formats. The flexibility of the concept can be seen in the many different template forms that can be developed giving the brand a fresh and dynamic look and feel in different media.
The work Barlo delivered around support communications such as image and template form styles has also been very valuable to the RPL team and out partners since its launch. Grace Edge, Project Director
A new website was developed as part of this Phase 1 of branding where the core message and processes associated with the programme were captured and communicated.