Well, ain't this a gander! Check it out:
When California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said "Ugh!" on Tuesday, the months-long rollout of a brand-spanking new University of California logo officially became a fiasco. Today the school announced it would suspend its use.
Some students had been up in arms about the redesign for a while, but then students are supposed to complain about school administration and its inevitable idiocy. But when a progressive state politician -- and UC regent -- joins more than 54,000 petitioners and a torrent of brickbats in social media thrown at the design, attention will be paid.
So, was the new logo really that bad? I'd say: Ugh.
The new design streamlined elements of the old. (A short video tracks the evolution.) The dimpled blue profile of an open book sags into a deep U, with a swiped yellow C resting at the bottom of the curve. Its flat, sleek style, readable from across the room, implies hip contemporary branding, which the university wanted, while also appearing frankly corporate, which it didn't.
The old mark is cheerfully corny. A star, a book, a slogan ("Let there be light") on an ornamental ribbon -- the seal looks like scores of other university logos born in the days when hand presses stamped them on diplomas and into books. This one will continue to be printed on the faux-sheepskins handed out to graduates, as well as other official UC documents.
The old design evokes the international Arts and Crafts movement, circa 1900, which merged an anti-industrial philosophy of social and economic reform with folk-style individual craftsmanship. Today its superannuated stodginess is fundamental to the visual quality that has grown up around it over decades like, well, ivy: Age symbolizes wisdom, even when things don't always work out that way, and what should a university logo be but a symbol of smarts?
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.
Great work, guys! What do all y'all think about this?? Discuss. GO BEARS!