A NESA-ssary update
The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) is the state government education board in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. It sets and monitors quality teaching, learning, assessment and school standards. This includes responsibility across NSW public, Catholic and independent schools, for Kindergarten to Year 12 curricula, accreditation of teachers and teaching degrees, the internationally-recognised HSC, school registration and home schooling. (Our story)
We designed the new brand to be bright, stimulating and iconic while communicating the significance of the change in policy and name.
The old logo, by Marmot Inc., comprised both the acronym and full name of the board, so there was a lot going on. (And FYI, that name came about after a merger of the Board of Studies NSW and the NSW Institute of Teachers in 2014.) Above BOSTES were three stacked parallelograms, which I suppose could be interpreted as sheets of paper and therefore somewhat relevant to education?
Looking at the text, BOSTES was set in Swiss 721 Bold Rounded, which seemed out of place against the hard corners of the parallelograms. The full name – set in Myriad Pro Regular – had wide letter-spacing, as if the name wasn’t already long enough. And in the overall tonal weight of the logo, it appeared very light and just seemed tacked on. Had BOSTES been in a smarter, non-rounded font, and the full name been omitted, this logo could have been more robust.
The new name isn’t quite as long as before, but it’s still (necessarily) an initialism within an acronym. The new typeface is Rubik, a slightly-rounded sans-serif with squarish forms that lend the logo a bit more authority. Once again, the words have been tracked wider than normal and it’s entirely unnecessary. The designer has also used justified alignment for the last three words, and although the words are similar lengths as they are, the alignment makes the overall shape of the text block too rectangular, and draws attention to the awkwardly short NSW. Another aspect of the text is the use of progressively lighter weights of the typeface for each word. Again I ask, y tho?
The accompanying graphic appropriately looks like an open book, and is engaging with its vivid colours. As with logos for other NSW departments, it also has a hint of the shape of the state itself, and it fits in fine here.
On applications, the colours are used to great effect, splashed across documents like certificates and awards. I tell you, if my Higher School Certificate looked like these, I’d probably be more inclined to frame it! (See the old look of the Certificate here.)
Overall, the new look is an improvement, largely because of its more confident use of colours. The logo is fresh and vibrant and reflects a new era for the board. I do have some issues with the typographic choices, but I’m glad the name has been shortened somewhat. I would like to see more examples of applications though, perhaps ones demonstrating other ways of utilising the coloured bands, something that gives this rebrand more legs. For now, I award this update a grade of Credit.