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UC Suspends Use of New Monogram

| December 14, 2012
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UC's short-lived visual- rebranding monogram

In a press release, Daniel Dooley, Senior Vice President for External Relations, says of the UC monogram that has received so much criticism over the past few days:

“(W)hile I believe the design element in question would win wide acceptance over time, it also is important that we listen to and respect what has been a significant negative response by students, alumni and other members of our community. Therefore, I have instructed the communications team to suspend further use of the monogram. For certain applications, this process could require a measure of time to complete. In due course, we will re-evaluate this element of the visual identity system. ”

Gavin Newsom, for one, approves of the decision…

When the logo began to gain widespread notice this week, criticism was swift and brutal. Many thought that the image was not a fitting replacement for the stately university seal, even though the university said the two were meant to coexist. Other common complaints ranged from a perception that the monogram was too corporate-looking to a sense it was incomprehensible and just plain ugly. The university defended it for a few days, but has now relented.

Full announcement from UC:

Daniel M. Dooley, senior vice president for external relations at the University of California Office of the President, made the following statement today (Dec. 14):

A controversy has developed over an element of an integrated visual identity designed for use by the University of California’s systemwide office. This controversy has created a major distraction for the UCOP External Relations Division as it pursues its broader mission: communicating to all Californians the vital contributions UC makes to the quality of their lives and the prosperity of the state.

The controversy has been fueled in large part by an unfortunate and false narrative, which framed the matter as an either-or choice between a venerated UC seal and a newly designed monogram.

In fact, the graphic element in question was never intended to replace the official seal that still graces diplomas and other appropriate documents. Rather, it was to provide a graphic cue to distinguish systemwide communications materials from those of individual campuses.

The monogram was only a piece of the visual identity system — a new approach to typography, photography, colors and the like — that was developed by UCOP design staff.

Since it debuted in the past year, this new “look” has served the UC system well, replacing what was a clutter of dated materials that varied from UCOP department to department. And it has received praise from an array of accomplished design experts not affiliated with the university.

And yet, while I believe the design element in question would win wide acceptance over time, it also is important that we listen to and respect what has been a significant negative response by students, alumni and other members of our community.

Therefore, I have instructed the communications team to suspend further use of the monogram. For certain applications, this process could require a measure of time to complete. In due course, we will re-evaluate this element of the visual identity system.

My hope going forward is that the passion exhibited for the traditional seal can be redirected toward a broader advocacy for the University of California. For it is only with robust support from the citizens of this state that the university will be able to serve future generations of Californians as well as it has those of the past.


Update 3 p.m.

Jason Simon, UC’s director of marketing and communications, spoke with KQED’s Joshua Johnson this morning about l’affaire monogram. Simon’s group was in charge of the rebranding effort, and he spoke about the intention behind the change:

“The biggest thing we were trying to do is demonstrate the vibrancy that happens on our campuses every day. There are amazing things going on throughout the UC system. And a new monogram and a new symbol was meant to capture that forward looking spirit,” he said.

Simon said the rebranding was put through a series of focus groups and online surveys. “And then beyond that, we took an even bigger risk and an even bigger challenge by having this in an open and public space, waiting for feedback for about nine months. And quite candidly, during that period, we did a lot of public and visible things with the mark and really only heard positive input until this past week or so.”

“We had a million people or so visiting the site this year,” he said.

Simon said the university finally decided to pull the plug on the logo because it had become “too much of a distraction.”

“I do feel like we went through the right process, and we took the right steps to get input in…” Simon said. “My hope is that we can turn some of the feedback we got into a larger mission of making sure Californians understand the university.”

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  • Ali

    As a UCD alumnus, this new logo is ugly no matter what it would have been used for. Good riddance.

  • smedley do-rag

    I hope that all the people who took time out of their day to write angry letters about this logo spend half of that time writing state and federal legislators in support of UC funding.

    SMFH

    • TheEconomist79

      I promise you that I have… I am a three-degree UC alumni, and write my reps at least annually on funding issues. I also raised my voice on this horrible logo.

      I’m proud (and honestly, relatively surprised) to see that the administration did listen!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=550703366 Steven Kitzes

      I’ve written many such letters. The legislators can’t be bothered. Too many wars to fight and corporations to coddle to trifle with something insignificant like education, apparently.

    • queTico

      you seem to forget that whining and complaining to the legislators havent done ANYTHING over the last 5 years. In fact the only thing that won money back was the student protests and occupations in 2009 and 2010. The governors office was even quoted back in 2010 saying: “Those protests on the U.C. campuses were the tipping point,” the governor’s chief of staff, Susan Kennedy, said in an interview after the speech. “Our university system is going to get the support it deserves.”

      But you all go on believing the fantasy that writing letters and petitioning the CA government is changing anything.. so sad, and at the same time you all hold the regents unaccountable for the salary raises, bonuses and debt swaps they have engaged in, which hve truly hurt and estroyed the university. Pledging promises of raising tuition against bonds for building huge buildings named after regents and other corporate big wigs.. such a bummer and waste of money…

    • smedley do-fag

      i hope you syfh so hard it breaks. they’re completely separate issues and you’re a joke for using the disparity to feel superior.

  • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.miller.7165 Anthony Miller

    Now if we could do the same for the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.

  • NuShrike

    Still looks like a flushing toilet of pee.

  • CFR, Cal grad alum

    Thank goodness! What a waste of brand consulting money.

  • Dave4Cal

    Reminded me of this…Glad they re-considered!

    • Marvin

      Wow, is this an existing logo for another company? That’s outright design plagiarism.

    • B. D’arcy

      What company? Total rip-off! lol

  • iloveucd

    The proposed logo is ugly and does not reflect UC’s rich history and academic excellence — whereas our current one does. Why change something that doesn’t need fixing? Our logo does not need to be dumped-down just to meet temporary trends.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eemckenzieii Eugene McKenzie II

    I say they suspend the wasting of money on trying to get a new logo.

  • MIJARES

    Exactly like the sinking Costa Concordia—it’s even underwater at the bottom!

  • B. D’arcy

    It looks like a losing entry for a student graphic design contest!
    WOW…someone actually got paid to create this piece of rubbish? What exactly were they trying to convey with the re-branding…the dumbing-down of America?

  • BryanCooper

    ‘We followed the right process’ – this is bureaucatise for ‘no one in charge’. This logo STILL sucks and proves that there are too many WAY overpaid administrators there that are more skilled at CYA than any other subject matter.

  • UC is a Public Trust!

    Don’t be fooled…this is part of the new privatization plan…”CAL” is the corporate logo…they want to get rid of UC’s traditional emblems, logos and signage…once they have accomplished that…Californian’s great “public” educational institution will be a private corporation.

    Thanks to all who spoke out to stop this…brainwashing!

    Keep UC a public trust…we have all ready paid for it…