Black and White Alright (The University of California, Office of the President, 2019-2020)

The Office of the President is the headquarters of the University of California, which is itself made up of 10 campuses, five medical centres and three national laboratories. Distributed among these institutions, the University of California currently has about 300,000 students and, through its long history, boasts 71 Nobel Prize winners.

The University of California’s Office of the President (UCOP)’s investment arm, UC Investments, publishes an annual review of investments made in the name of the university. Their 2019-2020 report is a dynamic, monochrome exploration of type and space.

Inspired perhaps by Rudy VanderLans’ ÉmigrĂ© magazine layouts and the Post-Modern typography movements of the 90s, UCOP’s report is a feast for the eyes, from its varied use of type, to finely constructed icons, to a bold use of space. Thankfully, the design by Mucho, avoids the legibility pitfalls of the 90s, making the report’s flamboyance easy to parse.

Portraits are processed in a way that leans into high contrast, to echo the stark monochrome of the rest of the report. For the financials, the report deftly switches from black-and-white to black-and-yellow, retaining the sense of a monochrome design, while slyly breaking the pattern as well as drawing a distinction between parts of the report. This is a report worth studying for its sheer exuberance as well as its craft.


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