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OWL Vidcast Redesign

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

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Just as the act of writing has changed since the OWL first launched in 1994, so too has our audience. Offering bold new video content is—and will continue to be—an important component of our open-source educational model, as streaming video is the medium most users prefer to consume, share and engage with today.

New Video Model

The OWL has begun to transition from a static, slide-heavy video model to one that makes full use of the first-rate production resources on campus. Purdue’s Video Express studios allow OWL developers to record professional-quality footage using green screen effects, teleprompters, and industry-grade sound and lighting.

Viewer engagement is another core concern. Our YouTube metrics indicate that most users are looking for quick, 1-3 minute videos on specific topics. Going forward, the OWL plans to release mostly short vidcasts that hit in this range, in order for our user community to get the most out of our writing resources.

New Production Logo

During the Spring 2018 semester, students in Trinity Overmyer’s ENGL 419: Multimedia Writing class developed a new introduction for the OWL’s vidcasts. The introduction features the OWL’s trademark “eye” logo, as well as animation designed by SunHeang Lee, a Computer Graphics Technology major here at Purdue.

The design concept began with the swooping circle. Since the word “owl” has a circular sound, Lee mirrored the aural characteristics of the word in his visual design. Reflecting on how viewers interact with video content, Lee decided to keep the production logo visually clean: he says too many video logos suffer from unnecessarily busy and distracting design elements. He also drew from his personal experiences using OWL resources during the design process. According to Lee, when students search for OWL videos, they are usually in the middle of writing projects, a bit stressed, and a bit overwhelmed. The swooping animation and overall design were chosen for their calming effects.

OWL Video Fun Facts

  • The bookshelf background you see in our new videos is a shot of the actual Writing Lab and OWL office at Purdue University.
  • When Googling “owl,” Purdue’s Online Writing Lab appears in the results before the animal.
  • The OWL offers over 60 different vidcasts on a variety of writing topics.
  • The OWL’s YouTube Channel has reached over 3 million views in its lifetime.