Loughborough University has temporarily halted the rollout of its new identity as a result of a petition set up to revoke the logo.
The new logo was developed with the aim of bringing the branding and visual collateral of the university – which has not been changed since 1996 – up-to-date, says Emma Leech, director of marketing and advancement at the institution.
The new octagonal logo, designed collectively by an in-house team and Campbell Rowley, was set to replace the shield design implemented in 1996.
It was to be used in conjunction with the university’s coat of arms, developed in 1909 when the institution was founded.
But a petition set up by Loughborough University alumnus Scott Lawrence, which has now surpassed 12,000 signatures, has called for the institution to keep the old logo.
It says: “This is not a petition against change, it’s a petition against bad brand design.
“The purple and pink shield emblem has become iconic in attaching Loughborough University’s ideas of prestige, heritage and respect. The new brand identity instantaneously loses all of these values.
“The new logo completely devalues all sense of quality as a trusted academic institution.”
Comments on the petition page state that the new logo “undermines the university’s credibility”, that it takes simplicity “too far” and that it does not represent Loughborough as a “prominent academic institution”.
Open presentations showcasing the new identity and calling for feedback were provided for student union executives, the alumni advisory board and staff prior to the roll-out, and yielded “really positive” reactions, Leech says.
The proposed plan was to use the octagonal logo across digital platforms and social media, and to continue using the original coat of arms for ceremonial purposes, such as on degree certificates.
“The new logo is simple, clear and flexible,” says a university spokesperson. “It can be customised to reflect the many facets of the university. We will also use the coat of arms, but it can’t be customised and the complexity of the ornate elements simply don’t work well with many digital applications.”
The new logo represents the octagonal shape of a fountain installed outside the university building in 1938. It aims to be used as a base shape behind which a range of imagery can be placed.
“The shape of the device allows us to have recognition and consistency,” Leech says. “The octagon is designed to be an agile device that can be exploited in digital and print, and has limitless possibilities to be dynamic.”
The logo is part of a wider change for the university, which will be launching a new campus in London this year, Leech adds. “The debate has become about a small, graphic element of a much broader shift and change in strategy,” she says.
“We need something that will work across campuses and allow our print and digital collateral to reflect prestige, quality, modernity and innovation.”
The rollout of the new identity has now been paused “to take stock and listen to concerns,” according to Leech. The university will be holding open meetings and provides a contact email address, inviting students to provide input into the development process of the identity.
Leech says: “There is clearly strength of feeling around the change in the visual identity. It is important that this is acknowledged.
“There are, in my view, very strong reasons for the change and we have clearly failed to communicate some of these. Equally, I am happy to admit that there may be concerns we haven’t fully anticipated and changes may be necessary.
“I hope to be able to harness the engagement that this issue has generated to positively benefit the university we are all committed to.”