New visual identity for the Utrecht School of the Arts (KMT-HKU)

by Tarek Atrissi

For the past couple of years we have been working regularly on building the visual identity for the Faculty of Arts, Media and Technology at the Utrecht School of the Arts in the Netherlands (HKU). Since then, we have designed several of their publications as well as a series of sub-identities for specific academic programs initiated by the school as part of the whole visual identity.


Early in 2009 we were asked to develop a new visual identity for the Faculty in Hilversum. The school, with its expanding new programs, aimed at lifting its house-style through a new image. Their main objective was to visually accentuate the Faculty’s independence from the central school in Utrecht. Our creative process focused on achieving this goal by creating a solid and consistent identity, which we have been using this past year on a variety of printed and digital promotional material we designed for the school.


The visual style developed from combining rough manual sketches with bold tight-set typography and a bolder set of colors. The variety of hand drawn doodles used highlights the creative process of the students, and is meant as a contrast with their final outcome of digital media projects: Emphasizing hence on the sketching part of the process as a fundamental aspect in conceptualizing and visualizing digital media art. Our main challenge with the identity was to allow the usage of visuals from students’ projects, often stylistically different, without loosing the school’s visual identity or consistency throughout. This is another reason why typography acts as a main component of the identity, as it unifies different visual material regardless of variation in styles.

Among the different materials we designed were the vertical signature brochures of the school, which we printed on heavy-stock rough paper to enhance the raw feel of the visual identity and complement the bold typography and colors used. Other items we designed varied from animation, packaging, postcards, posters and stationery.