£130k to get rid of ‘of’ and stick ‘Ulster’ first

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Northern Ireland’s second university spent at least £130,000 rebranding from the ‘University of Ulster’ to the ‘Ulster University’ because the new name better reflects “who we are and where we are,” it’s been revealed.

Ulster University, which has campuses at Magee, Coleraine, Jordanstown and Belfast, officially changed its name in late 2014.

Now, in response to a Freedom of Information request, the university authorities have revealed the total cost of over £100,000 for the move, which included consultation fees, communications activity and new signage at Magee and elsewhere.

“From September 2014 onwards the new visual identity was introduced in an appropriately phased way, largely as and when materials were due for renewal or new materials were being created in support of the business of the University,” a statement from the Ulster University explained.

“The cost of brand development and communications activity was £55,000 and the cost for brand qualitative research was £12,500.

“The cost of new signage for the Belfast campus was factored into the original specifications for the new campus buildings and did not result in any additional cost being incurred.

“New signage installed during Autumn 2015 at Magee, Coleraine and Jordanstown campuses amounted to £63,000 - various elements of this signage project were related to necessary development and maintenance of the University estate, rather than a direct consequence of the rebrand programme.”

The statement suggested simplifying the brand as ‘Ulster University’ gave it a stronger identity although legally the institution remains the University of Ulster.

“The introduction of our new brand marked the point from which the institution is known as Ulster University. Our name now leads with ‘Ulster’ to reflect who we are and where we are - an organisation effective throughout an entire region.

“The creation of a strong, central visual identity enables the University to unify and simplify our multi-campus identity and make the most efficient use of resources through synergies and a streamlined approach.

“The legal name remains University of Ulster.”