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May I Just Say That...

James Simon, Director, Marketing Communications, The University of California, Speaks…

17 Stop the UC Logo Change 1

James Simon, Director, Marketing Communications, The University of California:

First and foremost, we are gratified to see so many people who care passionately about the University of California. Feedback, and dialogue, are essential in a university setting and we are paying attention. While doing so, it's important that we provide some more context to people who are coming to this issue completely cold. This is not an either/or situation — we are not trading in the seal for the new mark. The seal will continue to be used to represent the UC system. Additionally, this does not replace or take the place of any campus identities.

The new mark was created as a part of our broader efforts to build awareness and support for all the things that UC does to make California (and by extension the world) better. What we have tried to do is to create a mark that is iconic, flexible, and solid enough that it works to represent the UC system as a whole. The mark can be used in a combination of the various UC blues and golds as well as in a multitude of applications.

Seals are wonderful and carry a legacy and tradition. They also signify bureaucracy, staidness, and other not-so-great characteristics. Much of this was evident in the testing and discussion we did as part of the process.

Our challenge is to represent not only the work done on our campuses but also in UC medical centers, agriculture and natural resources efforts, research centers, K-12 preparation and outreach efforts, and even things such as overseeing the state’s 4H program or the University of California Press. And, of course, the longstanding impact of our alumni. People experience the results of these efforts every day but the University receives little recognition for them. This is the message of our Onward California campaign.

Much of that is visible if people want to visit http://www.onwardcalifornia.com. There are amazing examples of the ways that UC touches people’s lives every day and we are proud that so many people have visited the site or taken part in outreach efforts over the last several months.

Our students, alumni, faculty and staff have all done a terrific job in raising their voices in support of UC and higher education. We know that we share a common goal of ensuring that the great work UC does is valued by as many people as possible.

We sincerely intend to listen to this feedback and respect what we are hearing.

From my perspective, the biggest problem with the new logo is that it is not recognizable as the logo of a university. And there are three smaller problems:

  • The "C" is not recognizable as a "C"--you see it as a "C" only after you have been told that it is a "C"
  • The "U" is not recognizable at all as a "U"--even after being told that it is a "U", many people do not see it.
  • The book/shield is not recognizable as either a book or a shield--it takes an effort of will to see it as either, and only after you have been told that's what it is.

Here, I think, is a clearly superior alternative--if you think the current shield-with-the-book is inadequate, that is:

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