The Digital Education Service at the University of Leeds was approached by FutureLearn to develop a series of 15 short online courses with Institute of Coding (IoC) focusing in digital skills and technology in the fields of coding, social media, and personal communication and branding. The collection will be called Digital Skills for the Workplace.
The courses would be aimed at secondary and college students, parents/carers looking to retain, and BAME community. I was assigned to develop the branding from scratch, taking inspiration from Institute of Coding’s current branding.
You can view a full breakdown of my final concept is available above by selecting “Launch Project”.
My approach was to develop a sleek and modern design representation of current UI/UX design trends that would have the professional technology feel FutureLearn and IoC were looking for whilst also retaining some of the fun and colourful elements from IoC’s branding.
I assigned a main colour to the who main categories – Pink for Working with Digital and blue for Professional skills (originally 3, including a yellow for Digital Skills). Depending on which category the individual course corresponded to , the colours would be reiterated throughout the course.
The main focus of the design was based on the current popularity of dark mode. I experimented with dark overlays on top of photos were used with bold, contrasting bold typography on top. Illustrations followed a vibrant flat style with rounded edges and thick strokes, depending on the image.
The designs put real people into real situations, using stock photography carefully sourced that represented the target audience. This meant choosing more photographs with women and BAME community in teaching or senior positions, as well as being the students.
Once the courses were live, the collection became very popular with stakeholders and students.
Since lockdown, University of Leeds has seen an uptake of 2000% on online courses developed by the Digital Education Service. As of September 2020, the Digital Skills for the Workplace collection has had over half a million leaners and counting.
They were so popular that in April 20202 a number of the courses were featured in the UK government’s The Skills Toolkit, a national campaign which highlights free online courses to help learners gain critical new skills to tackle the skills shortage and help with future employment.
The courses currently have an average rating of 4.7 stars. As much as 47% of learners of the online courses that were surveyed are women, which is a terrific achievement we’re all proud of!