The University of Monterrey, Mexico (Universidad de Monterrey or UDEM) commissioned a design agency, Reset, to provide a new visual identity for their annual report.
The award-winning 2019 version of this graphic proposal focuses on UDEM’s communication objectives and differentiating value of soft skills. The university teaches emotional intelligence-based soft skills as well as hard skills and “inspires the best version of its community.”
That is the basis of the content inside the report. The agency applied the university’s campaign of communication consistency to the development of this unique piece of graphic design.
Reset went to great lengths to make this fact sheet stand out: a custom-made alphabet and numbers based on the Work Sans font “created shapes that reinforce the UDEM pillars as windows into the university to visualize its achievements.”
The typography sticks to the traditional Neo Sans font to facilitate easy reading. The Nexa font, the campaign's trademark typeface, is present in the titles and bullet points.
All throughout the report, a brand new color palette for the university, consisting of bright, vibrant shades, symbolizes the development of soft skills and how they affect UDEM and the community as a whole.
UDEM’s annual report is divided into different sections or pillars. Each of the seven sections comes with its own two-tone color scheme: one color is used for the copy, while the other is used as a background.
Every two-tone scheme is carefully chosen with considerations of legibility. Contrasting schemes include:
The resulting look of the report comes across as not only distinctive and helpful for readers to easily locate particular sections, but also radically different and more casual than any other publication of this kind.
The colors of UDEM’s report are decidedly modern, ushering the educational institution into the 21st century by complying with the best practices of color use, both in psychological and branding sense.
UDEM annual report’s typography of choice belongs to the Nexa family of fonts.
It is a non-serif typeface, very contemporary-looking and fit for print publications due to its high degree of readability. The paragraphs are very legible and the print quality accentuates the aforementioned contrasting quality of colors.
Although very modern, it is not like some faceless and depersonalized corporate fonts. It appears youthful due to its curvatures and spacing, which makes it a spot-on choice for an institution that educates young adults.
Different types and subsets of Nexa typeface are used in chapter numbers, titles, subtitles, numbers and folio numbers. The size, bold, italic or standard layout keep the font’s consistency throughout, regardless of the slight differences.
Arranged in neat pie-charts, line-graphs, bar-graphs and other types of visual figures, the report contains vital data in easy to understand, bite-size chunks.
The publication is bursting at the seams with research data, numbers, percentages, estimates, forecasts, rates and generated results. In order to make all of this adaptable and coherent, Reset divided pages with horizontal and vertical lines.
These boundaries form spaces within which graphs and charts do not “collide” with one another and instead take up their own, natural position. The result of this arrangement is that the reader is able to focus more easily on individual segments of the page that contain figures and data.
To break the “sameness” of a string of pages with similar content, the report creator implemented pages with high-quality photography that add illustrative value to the publication.
These particular pages have filters applied to them that keep them consistent with the dominant color scheme of their section/pillar.
University of Monterrey’s 2019 annual report is an exercise in graphic design that is current, topical, relevant and slick.
The last thing a reader expects a report to be is extremely visually appealing – and yet, this publication is. Sporting a uniform layout through and through, it somehow still weaves enough creativity and variety through clever use of color palettes and a top-notch choice of fonts.
The print quality is also off the charts. Printed on a matte paper that reflects a stylish shine under certain angles, the publication feels and looks high-end.
On Reset’s official website, this print design description reads:
“Composed of multiple graphics and striking elements, this annual report shows the trajectory and the new face of the university without losing the essence that it has built during these 50 years of history.”
The agency even went so far as to make a series of accompanying videos that summarize key aspects of the report, while keeping in line with the original layout:
“To make the students aware of some of these achievements, a video was made in which emblematic scenes from the chapters, and the most relevant data is shown through graphics, icons, and photographs to make it attractive, dynamic, and easy to understand.”
This link between the half a century of academic tradition and future outlook found its realization in this report, which is just as exciting and revolutionary as any.