The winnig team from NTNU and Agendum together with the minister of trade and industry, Trond Giske. Photo: Erlend Sæteren
Oslo: The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) is Norway's second largest university with its 20,000 students, has received the Honours Award for Design Excellence from the Norwegian Design Council for his pioneering student campaign, "The best brains".
- It's exciting that someone who are in the knowledge industry like us, can win such a big and important design award in competition with big industry players. Although there has been a lot of work to bring about the campaign, it has definitely proven to be worthwhile, says a surprised and very happy Catharina Lindheim from NTNU, who has just been up on stage and picked up the design award along with design agency Agendum.
The Chair of the Jury, Hilde Britt Mellbye, believes the new campaign profile has helped change young people's views on NTNU, and allowed the university to attract new student groups.
- Even artistically inclined people are now getting interested in NTNU, and that should mean that have reached their objective to reach out to a broader group of youths. The illustrations in the campaign are well done and convincingly carried out. They give associations far beyond what we normally associate with the science and engineering disciplines, commented Mellbye.
The jury was impressed by the innovative expression that NTNU and Agendum have created in a field where it may be difficult to stand out.
– They invite us into a universe of creativity and dreamery, but at the same time there are clear mathematical undertones in the expression. This is simply a very good piece of design work, emphasises Mellbye.
Giske: – Norway needs know-how
The Honours Award for Design Excellence was presented by the Norwegian Design Council Wednesday the 17th of March during the Design Day, the most important design event in Norway. NTNU was nominated for the prestigious design prize together with Statoil, Kongsberg Maritime and Synfiber.
The Minister for Trade and Industry Trond Giske had the honour of presenting the winner of the Honours Award for Design Excellence. Giske comments: – What we need in Norway in the future is defintely the best brains. This is why it is very positive that NTNU dares to think different in order to recruit students to higher education. The winning campaign demonstrates what happens when professional designers and a daring client uses design as a tool for creativity and innovation.
The campaign "The best brains" was designed to raise brand awareness among young people between 17 and 21 years of age. Project Manager Eline Strøm-Gundersen from the Norwegian Design Council believes that there is a clear connection between what the campaign communicates and what NTNU can offer its students.
- Through thorough and in-depth customer insight, NTNU, together with the design agency Agendu, has managed to create a brand and a campaign that communicates to all the different students NTNU wants to reach, says Strøm-Gundersen.
For NTNU, a good head can mean many things, ranging from musical ability, good grades, creativity, organizational skills and community involvement. - We want to attract students who wants to develop their good heads with us, says Catharina Lindheim, who heads the section for recruitment and admissions at NTNU.
In need for something new
The university's old recruitment campaign had been going for some years, and had begun to lose stop-effect. At the same time, the university felt that the current campaign failed to embrace and show off all the faculties and study programs at NTNU.
- We needed something completely new. Although we have had a steady increase in the number of applicants in recent years, we wanted to avoid resting on our laurels. There is great competition for students in today's education market, and we wanted to separate us from the other institutions that offer higher education, Lindheim explains.
Thinking outside the "science-box"
As NTNU is a public institution, the mission was put out to tender, and the Oslo-based design agency Agendum was chosen as collaboration partner. Several surveys among new students from the recent years was thoroughly reviewed, and knowledge of the target group was combined with a good knowledge of NTNU as an institution.
- We realised there were a number of potential applicants that we did not reach. Some people still put us in the "science-box", even though it's been 14 years since the Norwegian Institute of Technology (NTH) merged with the College of General Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and the Fine Arts education programs - and become NTNU, Lindheim says.
Together with the design agency, a coherent and comprehensive campaign was designed. A traditional form of expression was ruled out, in order to highlight NTNU's character and identity in relation to other institutions offering education.
- It was crucial for us to involve the entire university in the process, and we were able to do that. The result is that the entire organization, from top management to the various faculties, has taken ownership to this new campaign, says adviser Camilla Prytz at NTNU, who held the strings along the way.
– The campaign was used in the last admission process, and we registered an increase in the number of applications by 7%. We experienced a very good response in the organisation, among students and potential students, explains Catharina Lindheim, now busy recruiting new students before the application deadline on April the 15th.