University of Toronto, Research and Innovation

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Challenge

Paul Fraumeni, Director, Research Communications and Editor, Edge Magazine, University of Toronto: Innovation is a popular theme in university research but it is often used without any clarity as to what it means. Our goal was to produce a publication demonstrating how innovation manifests itself in the University of Toronto’s research activities. We needed to make innovation real to our readers—those in government and business, as well as prospective students and faculty members. H&W’s challenge was to communicate two things: how our research projects benefited people around the world, and the statistics that underpin the university’s capacity and leadership. Simply put, we wanted people to say “wow” when they saw the piece and to understand immediately that U of T research innovation makes a positive difference in everyone’s daily lives.

Process

H&W: This project was about effective storytelling through words, facts and images. We wanted the reader to directly make the connections among the faculty members, their research, and the impact their work was making on our world. This micro-to-macro idea led us to create a series of interleaved smaller pages to illustrate the discrete nature of each story—an approach that added texture, drama and greater focus for the reader. Next we overlaid primary source material (such as a professor's own handwriting, formulas, or data) over the pages to further demonstrate a research-to-society progression. Finally, we used stock and original portrait photography, as well as large factual call-outs to further build out the visual narrative.

Outcome

Paul Fraumeni, Director, Research Communications and Editor, Edge Magazine, University of Toronto: U of T Ignites Innovation was an immediate hit with our key audiences (many of whom did in fact say “wow” when they saw it). It would eventually win major recognition within our industry, a CASE District II Ovation award. But just as importantly, our colleagues and readers were taken with the clarity of each spread and how the text and photography told the story so well. The print edition is now being used by many offices throughout U of T to give to key contacts in government and business, in Canada and abroad. I’ve since recommended H&W many times to colleagues—emphasizing that H&W is not just there to ‘pretty up your message’, but is a group of communications professionals who are true strategic partners for us, marrying text and superb graphic design so that our pieces have maximum impact on our audiences.

Scope of Work

Conceptual framework
Design & production
Art Direction
Web architecture & design

When we thought our project was completed, H&W saw an opportunity in our opening spread to insert some key messages  that could better set the stage for the rest of the piece. We did it, and people loved it. But we wouldn’t have done it if H&W hadn’t seen that opportunity and pushed us toward it. This is an excellent example of how the people of H&W are not just designers, but story tellers.

Paul Fraumeni
Director, Research Communications and Editor, Edge Magazine, University of Toronto