Test Driven DesignTM

No maple leaf for the university

You are the chairman of the committee in charge of creating a new logo for the University of Ottawa. Your positioning is “Canada’s university”. Of the two finalists, there is one with a maple leaf — highlighting your positioning — and another one without it. The opinions of the different committees are divided as regards the inclusion of a maple leaf in the logo.

What would you do?

The problem

Should we include the maple leaf or not? That was the question that David and Goliath was faced with after having been retained, along with three other agencies, to redo the logo of the University of Ottawa. The specifications were very precise regarding the mandate and its objectives, since the university had decided to position itself as Canada’s university and, to be understood in both languages and avoid repetition, they were considering the expression uOttawa without knowing if it would be understood.

What the Test Driven DesignTM allowed us to understand

The creation of a dozen prototypes presented in a test to a panel of citizens showed that the expression uOttawa used with certain icons was immediately associated to a university, while the presence of the maple leaf associated to the word uOttawa seemed to be related to a political or government organization.

The results

David and Goliath® presented not only several logos but also statistics on the perception of each of them and their meaning to the general public, and won the creation of the logo and the advertising campaign. Ninety-six per cent of the approximately 200 executives who had to vote and whose opinions were divided about using the maple leaf or not voted in favour of the logo proposed by David and Goliath. The University of Ottawa hired an independent research agency to make sure they were on the right track. The agency arrived at the same conclusion as David and Goliath's tests.