04 / 03 / 2021

The One


Gabrielle Jones




Absolute has launched its latest work for York St John University wrapping up a project that has included brand development, digital and campaign.

The work is the latest in a line of higher education projects from the Bolton based creative agency, with previous clients including The University of Manchester, Keele University, Queens University Belfast and University of Glasgow.

Established in 1841, York St John has been at the forefront of higher education for more than 175 years. It has won accolades for its teaching quality and inclusive approach, achieving a place in the Stonewall 2020 Top Employers list and in Stonewall’s Top 100 Trans Employer list.

The One campaign, a recruitment drive for 2021, centres around this focus on individuality and inclusivity, and is the completion of a project that included the overhaul and relaunch of the University’s website last year.

The current campaign takes a digital-first approach, with the focus firmly on York St John’s website, however Absolute also handled the design of the university’s 2021 prospectus.

This latest work replicates the brand tone and feel created by Absolute in February 2019, after the agency won the tender to redesign the university’s website.

Absolute Creative Director Simon Allman explains: “The work with York St John is a great example of our collaborative approach. The original brief was for a new website but after initial conversations it became apparent that we first needed to look at a brand refresh and messaging.”

Rejecting traditional academic designs, instead taking inspiration from the fashion and lifestyle sectors, the resulting website for York St John is contemporary and dynamic in design but simple in usability.

Breaking common higher education conventions such as the use of a large block header and traditional menu format, Absolute created a series of new brand assets including colourful animated patterns which added warmth and movement to the mostly black and white website.

Using Absolute’s own CMS system, Absolute Control, as well as the agency’s pattern library, a component based design which ensures consistency and agile delivery, Absolute created different module layouts that could be added or removed, meaning the team at York St John can easily amend the site without losing the integrity of the design.

The full 360 approach resulted in a strong campaign designed to relate to, and attract, modern students, executed with a visually stunning future-focused website.

Allman adds: “We love the results, a modern and dynamic brand identity and a website which is fully future proofed so the team at York St John can update the site as needed. We’re creative and solutions focused at Absolute, it’s about producing work that elevates a brand, while also making the client’s life easier.”

Dominic Billington, Head of Marketing and Digital Experience at York St John University, said: “Absolute were quite literally - a joy to work with. The team taught us to think completely differently about our business - they invested a lot of time in us, and provided truly unique ideas and visions. The work delivered is bold and unexpected and early indications for the current clearing campaign are positive, despite the strange circumstances we’ve found ourselves in these past few months.”

York St John’s website has just been nominated for Best Website in this year’s Heist Awards. It follows on from Absolute’s success in last year's awards, where the agency picked up Gold for its work with Keele University.