Careers Service Publicity

At the University of Leicester Careers Service a group of us headed up by Zara Hooley recently met to discuss the future of our printed publicity materials. This post will explore some of my ideas.

At the university we have to follow a corporate identity with the majority of our publicity, which gives guidelines that state there must be a standardised header and footer on materials. However with the main body we can get fairly creative. Here is my proposed schematic for future publicity.

Starting from the top; as I stated before the header is fairly standarised and has to include the University logo. I believe all publicity should include the words Careers Service so that students know that all our activities come under the same umbrella. Furthermore within the recent develop of the Careers Service website the areas in which we support students have been categoriesed into three sub-sections: Succeed in your studies, Gain experience and Develop your career, these could also become a key message within our brand.

One proposal is that all these sub-sections are included on all publicity and the area to which the advertising material is related to could be highlighted on the printed material. In the example below the advertisement would be related to ‘Gain Experience’, which is bold. The other sub-sections are still included on the publicity, but are 75% opacity.

The next and probably the most important text on the header will be the thing that is being advertised.

Advertising from David Wilson Library

My proposal for the many body of of advertising materials is to use pictures of students alongside a quote that states the benefit of engaging in the activity or event being advertised. This is an approach that has been used in other advertising campaigns within the university, the picture here was taken outside the David Wilson Library.

Polaroid photo effect

What I like about this approach is the student looking directly at the camera makes a connection with the reader. An alternative approach would be the Polaroid Camera style, but would have a similar effect.

The words used in the quote highlight a personal benefit, ideally it would be good if they were real quotes. The wording of these is going to be important and should probably mention the the thing been advertised, as I believe, one disadvantage of the corporate identity is the Title of the thing being advertised can be lost, as all poster etc. look the same.

The quote itself sits within a coloured box, this colouring of this box could be different for different campaigns.

Autumn Fair branding

Sometimes something a little quirky is required to make an event stand out. I believe this is also achievable using just images of students. The example below for the Autumn Careers Fair is very effective, and would fit with the quote theme.

Not sure about abstract

What I believe we should avoid are abstract brands, like that used for the Summer fair. My reason for this are: a) the abstraction doesn’t always make it clear what the event is actually about and b) due to the styling limitations of our website the abstract sometime looks even more out of place.

The final thing that I believe we should start including on all advertising are QR Codes. QR codes are advanced bar-codes that can contain a large amount of data, for example a long text message or a website address. These can be used most smartphone, when snapped it will navigate to the website on the smartphone. This technology is becoming widely available for example:

QR Code on Business Card

This is a technology I have been using for sometime, infact I have one on my business card that when captured will navigate to this website.

QR Code on the BBC

However they are become quite mainstream and commonplace. I captured this image from the BBC show The Good Cook in this show after each recipe a QR code appears on the screen for the audience to capture, linking them directly to the recipe on the BBC website.

Other examples I have seen recently include Students’ Union advertising for their social media presences and most humorously in B&Q alongside the wallpaper, when captured links to a video on how to wallpaper.

QR codes are really easy to generate using this website Simply enter the URL of the website you require the code to link to, state which size you need the code to be and select generate. Longer term I would like to print these on the back of all our study guides, linking them to the online versions, but that is a discussion to be had on a another blog post.

The way in which the QR code appears on the proposed Careers Service  marketing above, has taken inspiration from the Good Cook style. The phrase “Scan for more information” appears hand written, the arrow drawn and the boarder appears scribbled. I believe this style is quite quirky and make it appear almost like an afterthought. An alternative is to have the code in a solid boarder to match the style of the quote.

Where to advertise and what is required

Although the discussion of this group relate mostly to printed marketing, there needs to be some consideration for digital marketing. The method we have for digital marketing range for the ‘local’ to the ‘institutional’ and beyond.

  • The first place a team within the Careers Service should advertise this is on their own websites, either as a News Item or Event.
  • The next level up, is in the Featured section of the student pages of the Careers site.
  • If it is a large event (for which employers maybe required) it can be advertised on the homepage of the careers site.
  • Another place is on the SSDS News and Announcements page (which may soon change to the Careers News and Announcements page). This is linked directly from the Student Magazine at from the Institutional Homepage
  • Student Support Tab on BlackBoard

    Another place place to advertise, and arguably the place that gets the most ‘footfall’ is on the Student Support tab on BlackBoard (below). The tab includes: a constantly updating feed from the events and news RSS feed on the Careers Website, links to our Social Media presences and also two static areas where adverts can be placed.

  • Another place things can be advertised is on the Digital Signage that is based around campus including the SDZ, Library, the Cafe and Students’ Union. For this a large (1280px x 720px) 16:9 ratio image is required. This is often an afterthought, however it is more helpful if this is created at the design stage.
  • The final method of digital advertising is using social media, any Careers events and activities can be announced on the services’ twitter or facebook account.
Request additional files when AVS produce materials

To make all these thing possible when getting a piece of marketing designed it is important to ask for a few extra things:

  • A 16:9 large version for digital signage
  • jpeg web versions of of any pictures used in the advert in three sizes:
    • 400px wide large for the event page and blackboard,
    • 250px wide version for the Careers homepage
    • (if possible) 128px square version for the student homepage

Looking to the future

If a picture says a thousand words, why not say them? An emerging technology is Augmented Reality, this uses a webcam and works by showing a graphic to a specific website. When the camera detects the graphic it can play a video. See the example below:

If you want to have a go for your self print the flyer below, visit and hold the graphic up to a webcam.


  1. This is great! Did you do the mock ups at the top or was that Design Services? I think they look really good – clear and clean. Couldn’t get the AR thing to work though but the QR code did 🙂


    1. Cheers Stu, I made them myself. I think the QR code is definitely a goer, since writing this I keep seeing them on posters everywhere. 


  2. By the way – is the place the QR code linked to fixed once it’s set up or can you change the location that it links to at a later date? Would be handy if the latter…


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