Touchless Stationery . . .

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    Touchless UBC Brand Business Cards

    The University of British Columbia*
    UBC Supply Management

    Communication Challenge
    To deliver a touchless tier one, branded stationery system to 13K+ UBC faculty and staff

    The UBC Brand touchless stationery was a complex design challenge that resulted in an automated delivery system for a diverse range of institutional requirements
    . The process required a balance among the critical issues of Service (automated), Cost (low) and Quality (high). The vision challenged the old adage: “Do you want it fast, cheap or good? Pick two.” Our mandate was to achieve success in all three areas. This was one component of a larger project.

    Delivering a Branded Stationery System to 13K+ Faculty and Staff
    Excerpted from the CASE VIII Conference Seattle Presentation by Arlene Cotter
    Presentation deck by Arlene Cotter with Ping Ki Chan and Amanda Fetterly

    “If we’ve all done our job right, no hand will ever touch your business cards until they’re trimmed and shipped.” This was a big promise and the shared vision of UBC Supply Management, UBC Public Affairs and Xerox Global Services for the automated fulfillment and delivery of all items in the institutional stationery catalogue, and it’s how we collectively saved money for the university. It was a formidable challenge to design and deliver one business card format that could work for over 12,000 UBC faculty and staff members; some with three-line requirements for credentials, long faculty or department names, and personal names as long as 29 spaces and characters. Some people wanted uncoated stock and high sustainability metrics while others were disturbed by impurities (speckles) in the recycled paper stock and demanded bright white, coated stock and metallic ink. The result was a new UBC Brand Business Card format designed to accommodate content for all but the most unexpected outliers while meeting best practices for sustainability and costing metrics. Once the design was approved, focus shifted to pioneering a “touchless” business card and stationery portal. Two people from the design team and one indomitable colleague from the marketing team shared the awful weight of this task. The UBC Brand Online Stationery Portal represented a hard-won journey from the previous decentralized and messy UBC business card and stationery landscape where items were ordered through many vendors with design, price and delivery times that varied from unit to unit. At that time, the delivery solution we developed didn’t have a real, concrete industry equivalent. This is likely still true. UBC now boasts the one-stop automated delivery of standardized cards (increasingly printed digitally and in print runs of less than 250) and system stationery (letterhead and forms are increasingly delivered as digital templates). And, yes, the system accommodates the Faculty of Medicine and unique institutional partnerships.

    Design System
    Visual Identity Standards
    Stationery Catalogue
    Forms Catalogue
    Print and Digital Templates
    Online Order System

    * A Note from Arlene
    This project was created during my five years as Design Manager for UBC Communications and Marketing (previously Public Affairs). During that time we pioneered and developed a series of design systems (and programs) that built a solid foundation for a unified UBC Brand. This project was designed in collaboration with my colleague Ping Ki Chan, another systems thinker.

    Photograph of business card box by Amanda Fetterly © 2018

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