University of California scraps new identity after online outcry
The University of California has scrapped a new identity in response to an online campaign, including a petition with more than 50 000 signatories that called for the branding to be dropped.
The University had started to roll out the new identity, designed in house, on several websites and a campaign called Onward California. It has been in use for around a year.
But following the logo’s wider introduction, protest against it grew, with a petition on Change.org gaining 54 000 signatories and a Facebook group, Stop the UC Logo Change, picking up nearly 7000 likes.
The university has now decided to drop the new identity system.
Daniel M. Dooley, senior vice-president for external relations at the University of California, says, ‘While I believe the design element in question would win wide acceptance over time, it is also 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 logo.’
Those protesting against the new branding likened it to ‘a logo from a bad online university’, and ‘something found in the toddler section of Toys R’ Us’.
However defenders, including Armin Vit at Brand New, suggested the identity was ‘more good than it is bad’, and highlighted protests against it as exemplifying ‘the mob mentality poses to the practice of logo and identity design’.
Much of the protest led from a belief that the University was set to drop its ‘seal’ monogram and replace it with the new identity, however, the University consistently denied this.
It says it tried to bring in the new identity to provide a recognisable identity for the whole UC system (which includes nine campuses across the state) and replace a ‘hodge-podge’ of communications material.
Dooley says, ‘The controversy was fuelled 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 meant to replace the official seal that still graces diplomas and other appropriate document. Rather, it was to provide a graphic cue to distinguish systemwide communications materials from those of individual campuses.’