The result of many months of consultation and collaboration is the development of a clean, modern, visual identity for SOAS to be used in print, digital media and around our campus. It features a redrawn SOAS tree created from the leaves of nine trees indigenous to the regions of Asia, Africa and the Middle East in which SOAS specialises, and a tenth leaf to represent SOAS here in London.
As part of a refreshed SOAS visual identity the tree retains its original symbolism and connotations but has more meaning and relevance. It is also unique, like SOAS itself, and is one way in which we can reflect the School’s values and aspirations as we look forward to our second century. You will see the visual identity roll out across our campuses, in our publications and online.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed their thoughts and ideas to this extensive project and who have helped position SOAS for our exciting future.
A tree has been used to represent SOAS since 1989. A positive symbol in many countries, a tree conveys strength, shelter and sustenance. It also symbolises a tree of knowledge - fitting for a global academic base synonymous with intellectual achievement. Over the years the tree has become an important part of our identity.
In the changing higher education landscape and on the cusp of the School’s second century it was important to establish how SOAS is perceived today and how that compares with our own views and plans for the future. Over 18 months we asked students and staff, alumni across the world, colleagues in peer institutions, research council funders and philanthropic donors, employers of our graduates, recruitment agents, the media and the general public for their thoughts and opinions about SOAS – and what our identity says about us. Over 1000 people took part, and as colleagues across the School who have been involved in the project know, results were both reassuring and surprising.
One clear conclusion was that while there is huge affection for SOAS among those that know about us, we needed to address a wider lack of clarity about who we are and what we do. In particular, staff, students and alumni felt strongly that we need to present ourselves in a way that befits the vibrant, world-leading institution that we are today. Through open consultation, via surveys, group and individual meetings, many have contributed their thoughts about how we could develop our visual identity to say more about us, our work and values, and to reflect our regions of expertise.