UCOP withdraws logo following a firestorm of online criticism and national media scrutiny.
UC officials have promptly removed a modern UC logo, after receiving much backlash from the general community about its design and apparent lack of prestige. The logo, which was slowly introduced on system websites and documents as early as spring 2012, garnered attention once students began sharing the news via social media.
In a December press release, UC Director of Marketing Communications Jason Simon announced that the new monogram would no longer be used and was hereby suspended from being utilized on any products. Simon added that the monogram created “debate, dialogue, and division,” but that “it’s too much of a distraction from our broader effort to communicate UC’s value.”
Among the many dissatisfied individuals was UC alumni Reaz Rahman, who created an online petition against the implementation of the new logo and successfully garnered over 50,000 signatures.
The UC’s century-old seal is designed with an open book and a banner underneath it reading “Let There Be Light”—an emblem that represents all universities under the governance of the UC system. The modern logo displayed a blue “U” and faded “C” atop of it.
In Nov. 2012, a Youtube video released by the UC Office of the President promoting the new logo received thousands of views. In a short span of time, the video went viral, receiving thousands of views and a deluge of shares on various social media platforms. The widespread news of the novel logo was noticed by many individuals throughout California. After learning of the new monogram, students across the state took their opinions onto social media to express their disappointment.
Several students like third-year UCR student Cesar Toledo compared the modern logo to the historical symbol and was concerned that the modern logo was not dignified enough represent the university. Toledo said, “It was too simplified and lost its message it has been historically spreading and that is to ‘Let There Be Light.’”
Due to the plainness of the logo, many believed that the new monogram resembled that of a vocational or technical institution. One user on Change.org commented, “This looks like we paid a cheap graphic designer.”
Fourth-year business major Karina De la Cruz said, “The idea to change a logo is to improve it by bringing excitement,” but she added that newly discontinued logo does the opposite, and it “has suddenly become associated with a ‘toilet,’ making UC look boring, dull and confusing.”
Designers and those who supported the new logo were not expecting the controversy the revamped logo would bring. After the video gained more views by the week, a petition was quickly generated asking for the suspension of the modern logo.
From websites Change.org to Twitter, the logo was not well-received and it was quickly mocked. Soon enough, the “C” on the logo was redesigned as a computer cursor waiting to load.
Due to the widespread dissatisfaction for the new logo, Senior Vice President for External Relations Daniel M. Cooley said that it was necessary to listen and respect the negative responses coming from the public. Cooley also believed that over time, many would have accepted the logo, but because many were visibly passionate about the change, action had to be taken.
De la Cruz conceded that under certain circumstances, the public might possibly accept the logo “as long as there is some kind of inspiring story behind this look. Students need some kind of confirmation for such a drastic look that currently seems unnecessary.”
Before the discontinuation of the new logo, it was perceived that the new monogram would replace the old prestigious seal in all places. There were a few students like fourth-year history major Lizbeth Juarez who were certain that the new simple logo would replace the historical one. Juarez said, “I was not convinced the seal would be changed initially because I figured that there would have been a wider study done first.”
The introduction the new monogram was part of an effort to rebrand the UC on its systemwide marketing, such as merchandise and letters soliciting private donations. UC officials were hoping to implement the modern logo on the main websites and other public relations documents, but not on the diplomas or other official letterhead documents.
Fourth-year UCR student Peter Huu Tran believes that having a unified logo is easily recognizable. Tran said, “I like the idea to use a unified logo. A friend of mine actually pointed out that the school was already implementing the logo on our school insurance cards…I don’t see how it hurts to use this logo to market and fund a research-based institution system.”
Although the logo has been indefinitely suspended, the modern monogram will not soon disappear, despite its announced discontinuation. In fact, the newly suspended monogram was embedded in recently-printed publications and was implemented on materials in print production. The modern logo can be found on the newly distributed UC medical insurance cards.
It is still unclear if a new logo will be designed and whether or not the public will be more accepting of any other alternate design by UC officials.