From Concept to Creation: behind the scenes of the rebranding project

The Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) at the University of Toronto is an organization with a long and rich history.  Founded in 1965, it has grown tremendously in order to reach its present state and has, with the help of Allah, managed to accomplish many amazing feats along the way. In 1972, the MSA was an active proponent in the movement to  support women’s full access to Hart House. Keeping with tradition, the MSA continues to be open and responsive to change. In recent years, the MSA has strived to create an open and inclusive environment for Muslims and non-Muslims in which they will be able to connect to Islam and to one another. As such, the time has come for the MSA’s outward image to reflect this recent tradition while remaining true to its rich history.

At the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, members of the MSA team embarked on an exciting two month long project with the aim of crafting a brand identity that reflected the dynamic, adaptive nature of the MSA, whilst remaining true to its essence.  What followed was a conceptual and design challenge, pushing the team to discover contemporary design techniques that could successfully encapsulate the vision and values of the organization.

The Rebranding Team

  • Vice-President Communications: Haneef Ghanim
  • Director of Graphic Design: Aiman Batool
  • Graphic Design Committee: Azizah Arif, Ifrah Akhter and Nilufer Hoque
  • MSA Executives and Directors (2013-2014)

Timeline

 

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Logotype Process

The new logo is a combination of iconography and typography. It embodies a convergence between the essence of the organization, maintained through symbolism, and its adaptability, projected through contemporary design techniques.

Iconography

The emblem is a fusion between the carefully crafted negative space serving as grounds for symbolism, the selected colour palette evoking desired psychological perceptions, and adapted design techniques giving the brand a contemporary edge.

 

Iconography

Typography

Influenced by the proposed emblem, the typographic end of the logo embraced an inviting and professional font. Use of this typeface was intended to maximize recognition and readability.

 

Typography

 

The Grand Finale – MSA Eid Dinner Launch

The new logo was released at the Annual MSA Eid Dinner on October 24, 2013. The launch was marketed through an Apple-Parody styled video, followed by a photo booth featuring the logo as a backdrop! A design analysis was later published in The Muslim Voice Magazine Vol XIX Issue II to shed insight on the new design!

 

 

As the director of this rebranding project and having had the honour of working alongside incredibly talented and insightful individuals, this logo carries a multitude of meanings to me. The image, to me, symbolizes the entire project: the dedication of those involved, the deep levels of reflection, the gentle and selfless advice, the melange of individual perceptions and cohesiveness of the team, and much more. Though above all else, it invokes a sense of deep and strong connection to a greater whole. Having been a part of the MSA for over 3 years, I see the imprint of each individual that has in some way interacted with this organization over time, shaping the greater mould. I sincerely hope that with the passage of time, as the MSA continues to inshaAllah grow with every individual touch, this connection and sense of unity stemming from the beauty of Islam resonates with every perceiver of the logo and every soul that the MSA touches.

Note about the author: Aiman Batool is a fourth year Cognitive Science and Psychology student. Inspired from her MSA learning experiences, she has taken her graphic design hobby to the professional realm and offers design services through her company Aumbre Studio.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the articles posted on the website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official positions and opinions of the Muslim Students’ Association.