Benjamin Wood, designer of the CFFN logo and graphic materials, as well as designer of the current interim OUN logo, has designed a new logo for OUN to adopt. He says, “the interim logo that is currently in use, like the OUN Initiative itself, was always meant to showcase a concept that would later grow into a full-fledged design. Here is that design.”
While at the OUN office at the ministry of Education in Nepal, Ben has collaborated with the OUN volunteers on many variations to evolve the current design. This document will highlight the strongest design that he believes best conveys the themes and goals of OUN, while offering variations for consideration.
- Near-square design: Whether in the corner of a PowerPoint presentation or on the side of a building, the logo will scale easily and look sharp
- Seal Quality: “Open University of Nepal” can appear in a circle around the logo for official stamps and seals. There is room on the ring for an establishment date to be added.
- Two colour design: Flexible for printing various documents, screen printing on clothing, creating stencils for painting, etc. Works with a monochrome palette if only one colour is available, as well as black and white.
- Modern approach: Like the OUN breaks conventional university paradigm, this logo uses a modern design unlike anything being used by other universities in Nepal. It follows a trend in the logos for other open universities (Athabasca University, The Open University, Open Universities Australia, Open University of Israel, Open University of Japan, Korea National Open University, and others) that use abstract forms and interplay on negative and positive space to convey meaning.
- Memorable: Once people see it, it’s easily recognizable upon other sightings, even without OUN text.
- Three bands at the bottom: These bands and the spaces between them represent the land. They from terraced rice fields. Not only does this symbolize the reaches of the OUN, which aims to help educate those in villages where farming is a means of survival, it also reflects the grassroots approach behind the construction of the institution. Like the harvests that grow and are collected every season, OUN will have students cycling through its virtual doors annually.
- Like the rice growing in these fields, education is a renewable resource, a staple that is essential for living and growth, and requires great care and dedication to maximize the yield.
- White Mountain Peaks: Between the bottom and top elements of the logo, there is a silhouette of two mountain peaks. This element captures that for which Nepal is known around the world. Together with the terraced lowlands shown below, the mountains at the top visually show the inclusiveness of OUN as well as the geographical diversity of Nepal. It also states the solidity and permanence of OUN, a contrast to the cyclical changes shown in the fields.
- Solar Lotus: Rising from behind the mountains are the petals of a lotus flower. The lotus flower is a beacon of beauty that emerges from mud and swampland. It has long been associated with the purity of spirit, achieving enlightenment, rebirth, compassion, wisdom and logic.
- Here, it also represents the sun, which in its North-Easterly summer rise provides the strongest source of energy to grow the crops that feed the people. The petals radiating in all directions spread the light of knowledge, which is the fundamental underlying objective behind everything that the OUN does.
- Five Petals: Five petals were chosen to represent the fingers of an extended hand offering and sharing knowledge. It is also representative of a foot leaving its impact on the land.
- Shape: The overall O-shape of the logo, with the U-pattern in the terraces subtly embed the letters of “Open University”.
- Acknowledging Roots: Lotus flower petals are used in many other education institution logos in Nepal. The use of lotus petals here continues this tradition. Most institutional logos also use two triangles that form a hexagram to represent the human soul and growth. While not in a traditional hexagram form, the two triangles that form the mountains are also a nod to this tradition.
- Prosperity and growth – education as a tool to drive Nepal forward. As the crops grow, they are green (also meaning it inexperienced, not yet ready)
- Nature and environment, education as a renewable resource; minimizing the OUN’s impact on the environment
- Grassroots spirit of the development and execution of OUN
- Peace and harmony – the ability to exchange and debate ideas in a way that will benefit everyone
- Golden yellow
- Energy, flow, the light of knowledge
- Wealth and strength
- Idealism and imagination, key ingredients in development
- Foreshadowing the maturity of the cops and of the land – once they grow, they turn yellow and are ready for harvesting and consumption, like the students who will leave OUN ready to contribute to society.
This is a variant of the primary design. Here, a sun is used outright, clearly rising over the mountains, the light of which is reaching the fields. The lotus metaphor is removed in favour of a more overt light metaphor – bringing the light of knowledge to the margins of society!