In a move that we’re still only half-convinced isn’t an elaborate troll, the University recently unveiled a completely redesigned “systemwide identifier” for itself. You’ve already heard our initial reactions to the new logo, but here is some further explanation behind (and outrage against) this change.

University of Fisher-Price Toys, really.

University of Fisher-Price Toys, really.

The cyan-and-yellow design is (somehow) modeled after the current book-and-crest seal, a boldly simple, modern nod to Silicon-Valley chic. According to the University, the redesign won’t replace the UC logo entirely, but is part of an initiative under the broader campaign Onward California. The new design, then, appears more intended to be a friendlier visual supplement, versus a complete overhaul of UC identity. According to Vanessa Correa, Creative Director at the University of California, the reworked design “is less of a rebranding exercise, but instead the creation of a coherent, consistent, and relevant brand identity where before there was none.” Some fancy tricks in Adobe Illustrator might indeed read “relevant” and modern, we must admit. But we’re thoroughly disappointed with this blob. It looks like a blue toilet flushing.

First off – ”brand identity”? Trendy marketable appeal is not something that necessarily encapsulates the centuries-old traditions, values, and honor behind the distinguished institutions that make up the University of California. In fact, part of the reason students choose to attend this very university or its siblings is because of its reputation of time-forged prestige. It is a reputation, of course, grounded in a long history of academic greatness, established by generations of students, academics, and many other bright individuals before us. We pay homage to historical roots of our reputation with the current classic, universally-recognizable emblem. For this reason, we think many would dispute the relevance of stylish appeal in the first place.

Officials point to complications in the old logo design as part of the reason for this change. The intricate lines are difficult for printing and similar purposes, and according to Correa, it was also “abused with impunity.” (What?) However, some critics point out the new logo isn’t much of an improvement for the same type of reason. The “stacked type, negative downward flow, printer-unfriendly gradient, trivial forms, and odd line breaks” just reflects poor design planning, says one commentator. Application of the design aside, the actual design alone is offensive – neon vectorized graphics? We first discovered the graphic and instantly found ourselves imagining just what kind of undergraduates the logo seemed to cater to. In our minds, they’re majoring in Gift-Wrapping at an unaccredited, online adult ed school.

For crying out loud, this is the world-renowned University of California. Either give us something more refined and collegiate, or leave the offensive Crayola-inspired redesigns for soft drink corporations.

Fussy as we are? Sign the petition.


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Dec 14, 2012 at 7:50 am

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