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UCL Public Engagement Blog



Co-creating our future: How should our brand and website look and feel?

By Rory, on 13 September 2020

As a network of co-producers we’ve been busy co-creating our new name, brand, logo, and website. All of which will be key to the future of the Centre and in helping ensure our long-term sustainability. The next session is coming up on Thursday 17 September and after this we will be working together offline for a few weeks, we would love it if you were able to join us in this work!

One of the big takeaways from our strategy co-creation sessions this summer, where we have been working on plans for the future, has been the importance of developing an identity for the Centre. Of course at the moment, with current social distancing limitations, this mainly means having more of a virtual presence (via video calls or offline co-creation), rather than a cosy spot for all of us to come together but never say never… this is something we are all keeping in mind as a possible to do for the future.

Having a stand-alone website has been a long-time ambition of the Centre, a key part of us developing an identity and way of promoting the work of the Centre. It’s been wonderful to see us take our first steps towards it: writing an invitation to tender, selecting the right people to work with, and now coming together to make it happen!

One of the slides presented during the 26th of August session, explaining the meaning of brand identity to us - brand identity is the visible elements of a brand, such as colour, design and logo, that identify and distinguish the brand in the consumers' minds

One of the slides presented during the 26 August session, explaining the meaning of brand identity to the group

Meeting the team

On 26 August, we held our first ‘Co-creating our brand’ session. Introductions kicked off just after 2 pm, as everyone shared how they first got involved in co-production and why they are here today. Usually this is the part of Zoom meetings where a lot of names, job titles, and acronyms fly around and I find myself retaining none of it. But ever since we started developing the Centre, one theme has been consistent: introductions should be fun, not formal. Whether we’re having a quick chat over a cuppa or talking serious business like working on plans for the future of the Centre, our strategy, I’ve been very happy to see that no event went ahead without this personal element in place first. For this co-creation session we welcomed two new collaborators.

Sam, who is a working mum and used to be a gymnast, is part of the team of developers and creatives at Big Lemon and to announce our collaboration with them, she even made a video! Emily also came prepared, sharing a presentations with us about how she found her passion in graphic design and starting her own company, Studio Hicks. We’ve had really positive feedback about working with Sam and Emily from the people who attended the sessions, so a big thank you to all of the co-producers who were on the interview panel in August and selected the right company for us to work with!

Emily sharing with us a graph of the stages of brand development early on in the session on the 26 August, so we have an idea of the work ahead (please email coproduction@ucl.ac.uk if you are interested in the detail)

Emily sharing with us a graphic of the stages for our brand development on the 26 August, so we have an idea of the work ahead.

Emily and Sam made a huge effort to bring the basics of branding to us in a way that was not just easy to take on board, but also very exciting and enjoyable. One of the elements I appreciated greatly was the emphasis on asking us about how we feel about a certain colour or a font. Which may sound silly, but this is actually the key to a successful brand. For one thing, it was lovely to participate in this personal sharing of first impressions. I thought it was funny how we strongly we reacted to just “simple” colours or shapes. And, apparently, that’s not surprising as branding is supposed to be the mix of rational and emotional, which we may call intuition. It’s our almost childlike knowing if something feels right or wrong. So, making a website that people can really connect with is all about intimate understanding of the people you want to speak to, work with and their stories.

Sam is showing us a selection of different websites to gauge our interest - currently we are looking at the IDEO website which is shown in this image (the page says Work - Journal - Tools on it and there is a Zoom image of Sam)

Sam is showing us a selection of different websites to gauge our interest – currently we are looking at the IDEO website which is shown in this image

Chat box voting

My favourite part of this session was how much use we got out of the chat box. This function was used to vote about the images, colours, themes, and fonts that Sam displayed to us in quick succession. The image below is an example of this, we voted on how these two different styles of font made us feel – very different, but… they are saying the same thing and displayed in the same colour! Everyone had enough time to input to each question but we were also able to whizz through an impressive number of questions, considering the entire session lasted just two hours. One of the attendees couldn’t use the chat box but Sam made sure they still felt welcome and were able to take part – it only took a few extra seconds to ask them individually so we could hear their comments through the audio and record their valuable input. For our second session on the 1 September, Lizzie helped out by summarising the comments as they were coming in, which was not just super impressive, it was also a nice informal touch to the whole process.

During one of the short exercises, we were asked to vote on two messages, displaying the same words 'You'll always be mine' both in red but in different fonts. Sarah's comment flashes up on the screen as she votes as to how the first image makes her feel - Loved

We were asked to vote on two messages, displaying the same words, in the same colour but in different fonts. Sarah’s comment flashes up on the screen as she votes as to how the top image makes her feel

Get involved!

Speaking of stories and connecting in a real way… have you heard about our brand new project, Share Your Co-pro Story? Well, now you have! It’s open for anyone with any level of experience with co-production, whether you are a person with lived or living experience, a service user, student, researcher, decision-maker, carer, patient, or volunteer. We want to hear from you!

To stay up-to-date with the Centre, sign up to our newsletter to hear firsthand about any upcoming events we are organising. Email Rory at coproduction@ucl.ac.uk if you would like to join or if you have any questions.

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