We promoted the University of Northampton’s newly-built Waterside campus with an impressive Visitor Centre design. Installed in only three weekends, it was a big hit with students and staff.
The University of Northampton is a vibrant campus that serves roughly 13,000 students. By September 2018, it will move from its current location and begin accepting students at its newly-built Waterside campus, just outside Northampton’s city centre.
The new 58-acre site represents the next stage of the University’s growth, providing updated living and educational facilities to meet the needs of today’s students. To help promote the Waterside campus, we were asked to create a new design that would drive future enrolment and encourage both current students and staff to embrace the transition to the new location.
The brief required us to deliver a design that would appeal to three primary audiences, but achieve a different objective for each:
- Current students: the client wanted this audience to see the move as a welcome upgrade to their campus experience, highlighting the University’s investment in its facilities and student amenities.
- University faculty and staff: as an important stakeholder group, our client needed them to embrace the move, focusing on the positives of relocating to a new campus rather than feeling apprehensive about any potential inconvenience or changes to internal systems and processes.
- Future students: to ensure maximum enrolment for September 2018, the University needed to appeal to students who would be taking their A-levels in the coming year, helping our client outshine other more established universities in the region.
Our Creative Director and Exhibitions team provided two concepts for the Visitor Centre design. The client loved both and asked us to find a way to combine the two and “bring the outside in”, so we presented a hybrid concept that focused on the theme “We’ve arrived,” while also championing environmentally-friendly aspects of the new campus.
We divided the space into three distinct areas: the Build, Campus Life and Location. The Build introduced visitors to plans for the Waterside campus, and progress in construction. It featured two projection booth screens, complete with CGIs of the completed project as well as a 3D model of the finished site.
The Campus Life section was targeted at students and focused on the amenities and lifestyle options that would be available. Featuring a full-size recreation of a bedroom, it provided a close-up look at the University’s high-quality student accommodation.
The Location section helps students familiarise themselves with where the new campus is in relation to Northampton, as well as the various on-site transport options available. Emphasising the more environmentally-friendly ethos of Waterside, it included a life-size bus stop with backlit posters and maps, as well as a bicycle with information on the campus cycle hire scheme.
- A 9x9m ContraVision one-way graphic was created for each of the two Visitor Centre entrances. This allowed us to brand the exterior windows of the building without restricting the interior view or preventing natural light from filtering into the building.
- In the Build section our creative team brought the outside in by laying down AstroTurf and floor decals, acting as a continuation of on-screen visuals and helping guide visitors through the site. The area also included three full-size picnic tables and a six-seat breakfast bar – all with power for internet access.
- Interactive stations, featuring large touch screens and iPads, were developed for each area. Our team designed them to look like they were in the process of being unpacked from shipping boxes, further emphasising the “We’ve arrived” theme.
- Careful messaging was integrated throughout the Visitor Centre design to appeal to questions and concerns of each of the target audiences.
- A mini version of the Visitor Centre design was created with supporting wall graphics at another campus location.
- We also created a 6x2m UCAS stand design in the same style, providing a mobile experience that could be easily installed at a variety of events.
- Two 2x1m twist system exhibition stands were designed to support teams at smaller higher education events.
The client was thrilled with the result as it was extremely well received by students and staff. We also received feedback that the mobile stand was a hit at UCAS events, making it easy for recruitment teams to attract students.