Always learning

Olix has been working with the Workers Educational Association (WEA) over the last couple of months.  The WEA are a fantastic organisation, providing adult education across the country, reaching out into parts of society that aren’t served by traditional higher or further educational establishments.  It’s also an organisation whose time has come around again, being driven by a strong social purpose.  With course content around Culture, Health and Wellbeing, Community Engagement and Employability, they are doing amazing work to represent some of the most fundamental learning needs of people living in Britain’s diverse communities.

The 1992 Further and Higher Education Act established entities called Special Designated Institutions – SDIs for short – as part of a broader review of adult education and the WEA is one of 9 of these SDIs.  In the 1990s the Act was fresh in politicians’ minds, and so a name referencing the organisations’ genesis made some sense, but over time the SDIs (rightly) stopped focusing on where they had come from and started focusing on where they were going, and what their purpose was.  Meanwhile colleagues and partners were increasingly asking what an SDI was, and so collectively they agreed that a new, more relevant name was needed.

That’s where Olix came in.  We developed the name and logo in two weeks.  We were clear:  keep it simple, keep it descriptive, keep it anchored in what makes you all special. Without any marketing support anything else would be counter-productive.  An apparently simple task then, but finding an answer that all 9 organisations could rally around was not easy. 

With our guidance a solution was found.  So goodbye Specialist Designated Institutions, hello Institutes for Adult Learning.  The name and logo was launched in conjunction with a report commissioned by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Adult Education, calling for a cohesive national strategy for adult education last month (July 6th).


A final point here, one often missed.  This work won’t win creative awards.  But it’s the right solution for the organisations in question.  I think we often overlook the practical, unsexy-but-effective solutions that we as brand practitioners quite rightly put in place for our clients.

Summary report – not designed by us - can be found here: