One toolbox for the University of Amsterdam


A special client: the University of Amsterdam (UvA). It is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest range of study programs. An ‘intellectual hub’ of 34,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 PhD candidates.

The UvA is also an atypical institution because most students are articulate, which is both appreciated and encouraged. This is reflected in UvA’s outspoken and opinionated campaigns.

The challenge is to provide communication for this major player in the field of education and research that appeals to both current and future students, policy makers and researchers. But not only that: there also needs to be a powerful unity online, for corporate and marketing communications.


We brought all communication stakeholders together in the Thonik Loft for a series of sessions. It resulted in a digital-first toolbox. A new system that uses one graphic language, one color scheme and one central font for print, social media, web, corporate and marketing communications. The sliding scale that extends broadly between a corporate and a more expressive style for specific campaigns makes the corporate identity unique. All faculties can use this to express themselves, but first and foremost to represent the entire UvA together.


In this way we managed to clarify the confusing overload of information from all individual faculties and were able to give the recipient (the student) a powerful handle.

Examples of the first two different expressions created within the same new system with the toolbox, are the corporate Graduation Map of master’s and bachelor’s students and the expressive on- and offline campaign for Humanities Lab (Faculty of Humanities) in which the Artificial Intelligence program Dall-E was used to generate images from textual descriptions about the research on ethical consequences.