University of California, Hastings Law – Environmental Graphics and Identity

The Cotchett Law Center is the new heart of campus at UC Hastings, located within San Francisco's bustling Civic Center neighborhood. Paired with SOM-designed environmental graphics and a new visual identity, the building offers a vibrant setting for academic innovation and collaboration.

The airy, light-filled lobby prominently displays the university’s new academic seal—a debossed logo rendered in white—which makes an understated counterpoint to a colorful, six-story graphic wall. This bold visual element follows the height of the main stair, transforming as one ascends, with wayfinding cues woven into the graphic.

The palette melds the school’s new colors with those derived from an abstracted cross-section of San Francisco. These 600 unique colors reflect the visual strata of the city, beginning with the vivid blues of the UC Hastings brand and the surrounding bay on lower floors, before transitioning to the vibrant colors of the neighborhood. On level three, the palette changes to reflect the hues of the city’s architecture, before shifting at the top two levels to shades of light gray and blue, evoking the tones of sky and fog overhead.

The heart of the new identity is the Hastings “H”—built on a 7x7 grid, representing San Francisco’s 49 square miles. A seal and shield complete the identity, along with an updated typeface. The graphic wall's influence extends beyond the physical space: it also appears on newly created merchandise such as tote bags and notebooks.