New University of Sydney website

When the university launched its rebranding last year, I was quite pleased: a glossy brochure explaining the kind of image the university wants to project to the public, a new logo, new momentum for change on superficial and deeper levels.

Now it’s all ruined. Take a look for yourself (click to enlarge):

Yes, this is the new University of Sydney website template. I kid you not. A generous person might call it “functional”. A less generous person might… well, let’s leave this blog G-rated. It’s grotesque. It has all the charm of a late 90s website. It carries none of the personality that the university aims to project, and all of the air of design-by-committee and oh-look-I-learnt-css-in-24-hours. There’s no warmth; the design alienates.

For bonus marks, it even displays in Arial on a Mac.

(For comparison, here’s a screenshot of the website as at 5 January.)

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  1. Dan’s avatar

    It is goddamned atrocious. It’s increasingly apparent we went to a third-rate institution, and it shows up in everything they do: the quality of education, the quality of facilities, the relationship between the governing bodies of the uni and the students, and now the barely-tepid effort they put into their website.

    Who the hell thought it was a good idea to have the logo jutting out to the left? what is this meant to represent? That if you want to achieve something, Sydney Uni will jump out of left field to block you?

    Why is there is logical grid or spacing to effectively manage the masses of information? Why is it so boxy? Why is the typography so bad? All-in-all it looks like some “designer” spent a couple of hours trawling the 1990s internet for some “cool scripts” and hacked together a Frankstein’s monster.

    And this is after a very promising branding pitchbook that actually looked like it was going to unify the hitherto haphazard branding strategies. I’m really disgusted. I fully expect Sydney Uni to have slipped down the rankings in the next decade, all the while funnelling massive amounts of corporate money into its coffers.

  2. M2’s avatar

    I want to get this template!
    Could you send me the one?


  3. APaul’s avatar

    I loved the old website!

    It really gave off that sandstone presence on par with Melbourne.

    To be honest, before the change It was actually quite emotionally compelling before; as a nice clean quality website that had the hallmarks of a site with excellent and helpful content.

    As an institution it was one of the best websites of any institution in Australia (i have seen them all) and of those I have seen – it also met the standard of many larger institutions internationally.

    While it wasn’t even near a factor against me choosing not to study there, It did give me a clue about problems in their internal processes for something so bad to be brought to life.

    Why update? unless it’s actually better? There’s only losses going to be made, If you can’t beat your old efforts. Note: we are in an age where great A class web development is around and fantastic technologies are so cheap to employ, there are simply no excuses.

    If anything, it makes the uni look less prestigious, and therefore more accessible to more people thinking of University. This could drive enrollments, but really, the down sides outweigh render this view null.

    I will congratulate the head of school via email the day it is reinstated/actually improved.

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