NUTech Ventures: Innovator's Handbook

Print - editorial


NUtech Ventures is the intellectual property and commercialization unit of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. NUtech’s mission is to facilitate the commercialization and practical use of innovations generated through research activities at the University of Nebraska.

My Role: Design Lead, Art Director

Teammate: Abner Pizano-Parra 

Step 1: Establish Design Brief

NUtech Ventures has an existing brand identity system. However, the previous promotional materials that I tried to reference to ensure the consistency of the brand identity had a range of personality elements — from cute to professional. It wouldn't be the right move to just make a decision without considering the target audience and how the brand wants to build a relationship with them. I decided to start with establishing the design brief for this Innovator's Handbook project.

In addition to familiarizing myself with previous designs and brand style guidelines, I attended meetings between NUtech patent managers and the researchers. This is to understand who the target audience is. 

I also conducted stakeholder meetings with each patent manager and the executive director. 

After analyzing the interviews, I concluded the design brief.

Design Brief

Brand Personality: Relationship builder, achiever, trustworthy, cheerful, and valuable.

Brand Archetypes: magician, caregiver, sage.

Target Audience: Researchers at UNL.

They are passionate about their areas of research. They spend most of their day working on their projects and love what they do. They are rational, critical thinkers, and they are some of the most intelligent people on campus. "They like plain, clean things."

Tonality: Energetic, technical and intellectual, and innovative

Design Process/Challenges

After the UNtech stakeholders approved the Design Brief, I started to lay out some pages. 

The copy (text) part of this Handbook was still in writing and editing mode. I needed to adapt to this condition while keeping the project progressing.

I also prepared for a scenario where I graduate from the university but the text is still incomplete, and another designer needs to take over. So I decided on a few things: 

  1. Since most pages would be traditional magazine editorial layouts, I would lock the layouts once our style is approved. So, hopefully, the new designer can easily update once the text is finished. 
  2. Have systematic and minimal stylized graphical elements (see below: arrow styles, dots numbering, etc.). So it would be easy to onboard, follow, adapt, and re-imagine to keep the Handbook style consistent.         

I started with some pages where I could play with some creative layouts. This is to test and reference the creative boundary with the NUtech team. I wanted to first offer some playful layouts so the brand stakeholders can see what might be possible that they didn't imagine for the brand.   

Here are some of those pages: