Case Study by Ben Hagon RGD, Creative Director at For Good Intent
Founded in 2009, Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI) is a non-profit partnership between Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the University of Waterloo. The mandate of WGSI is to promote dialogue around complex global issues and to catalyze the long-range thinking necessary to advance ideas, opportunities and strategies for a secure and sustainable future through Equinox Summit Series, Equinox Blueprints and Impact Activities.
WGSI got in touch with Intent through a referral to help brand the biannual Equinox Summit and produce the document created as an outcome of the event: the Equinox Blueprint. The Summit brought together an international, interdisciplinary and intergenerational group of experts to explore best practices and promising initiatives in education, aimed at empowering students in their creativity and emphasizing their potential. The Equinox Blueprint is a document providing clear recommendations for building a learning environment that fosters critical thinking, problem-solving and innovation.
The primary audience for this publication is a global community of education decision-makers and action-takers – policy-makers, superintendents, school trustees, principals, student leaders and teachers in the classroom who are ready to tackle change. The Blueprint has to work for anyone anywhere, regardless of what resources are available to them.
Concept / Design Process
In September of 2013, Intent helped establish a look and feel for the Perimeter Institute's Equinox Summit – “a biennial gathering of experts from around the world aimed at tackling tomorrow's biggest challenges and seizing opportunities today”.
A custom cornerstone graphic was developed to evoke the Summit's over-arching theme, Learning 2030, aimed at exploring the ideas and practical implementations of a more student-centred educational model based on collaboration, student engagement and real-world problem-solving. The model would target its focus from the student out, rather than the antiquated institution-down model that's been around since the agricultural age. The supporting colours, typography, imagery and custom infographics helped to underpin this globalized, inclusive way of thinking.
Based on initial research, the academic community's previous efforts to produce publications addressing the subject of evolutionary or revolutionary shifts in the educational model were dry and dull. Striving to push beyond this pervasive, traditional research publication format, Intent's challenge was to visually propel the forward-thinking methodologies presented by the Equinox Blueprint in a credible manner that wouldn't alienate the primary academic audience. Continuity in the look and feel established by the earlier Equinox Summit was also imperative.
The design solution incorporated custom illustrations that introduced each of the publication's 10 chapters and their respective topics. Supportive infographics, callouts and pull quotes were used to pace larger sections of text and help the reader navigate through the content while highlighting key messages along the way.
1,000 print copies of the document have been distributed via two international events and through a targeted mailing. The resource is also available as a downloadable PDF, which allows WGSI to continue working on the long-term distribution of the document. The success of the resource has been evident to the client, who has already seen a few dog-eared copies full of notations at meetings with school boards.
The most common feedback received by WGSI relates to the readability of the document, which is one of the most important elements. As a resource, the longevity of its success will depend to some degree on citations and word of mouth.
“Intent came on board this project as a true partner. They understood our goal and our project constraints, delivering a publication that is enticing from the moment you hold it in your hand. You can’t help but open it up to see what’s inside.” - Julie Wright, General Manager, Waterloo Global Science Initiative at the Perimeter Institute