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New UC Logo – Keep It or Dump It?

The new UC logo – with a thick blue "U" and an emerging/disappearing "C" – has provoked a loud chorus of boos. UC says the mark is less staid and more flexible than the traditional university seal.

A new, stylized "UC" logo meant to symbolize the contemporary University of California has sparked a firestorm of criticism.

Critics say the symbol – a thick blue "U" partially overlaid with a partly transparent "C" – looks cheap and commercial, and lacks the dignity appropriate for one of the world's leading universities.

In just four days, an online petition had gathered 49,174 signatures as of 9 p.m. Tuesday night. And a four-day-old Facebook page, "Stop the UC Logo Change," had 6,108 "Likes."

"It looks so corporate, and it looks CHEAP," wrote Stephanie Lam of Berkeley on the petition.

Mark Fox, a professor of graphic design at the California College of the Arts, called the design "utterly forgettable" and "a complete mismatch for the university's history and reputation," adding that it "has no visual or conceptual gravitas," according to a front-page article about the controversy in the San Francisco Chronicle Tuesday.

A tongue-in-cheek article on the website of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington describes it as a "pull-tab." You can see some parodies of the logo on this SFGate blog.

Officials of the 10-campus UC system have been quick to respond to the firestorm, saying the new symbol is an additional branding mark, not a replacement for the official seal. 

The new logo is the main UC emblem now on the UC Office of the President homepage, while the official seal is the main emblem on the UC Regents homepage

"Here's the thing: It's not replacing anything," UC said on its Facebook page Tuesday afternoon. "There wasn't a logo before, and the UC seal isn't going anywhere."

UC said the university began using it nearly a year ago, though the uproar hit just recently with a number of press reports, including front-page coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle Tuesday.

Jason Simon, UC's Director of Marketing Communication, said in a message that the petition organizers posted on their website:

"The new mark was created as a part of our broader efforts to build awareness and support for all the things that UC does to make California (and by extension the world) better. What we have tried to do is to create a mark that is iconic, flexible, and solid enough that it works to represent the UC system as a whole.

"The mark can be used in a combination of the various UC blues and golds as well as in a multitude of applications."Seals are wonderful and carry a legacy and tradition. They also signify bureaucracy, staidness, and other not-so-great characteristics."

Attached to this article is a short UC video released last month, "University of California Identity," that includes the seal and new logo.

So — keep the new logo or consign it to the wastebasket? Share your opinion in the comments section below.

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Michael Rancer December 12, 2012 at 05:17 PM
It's an empty and meaningless logo - the obvious product of mediocre group-think. Dump it.
berous December 12, 2012 at 10:15 PM
It is ugly with no sense of history. Pastel blue and gold???
Grateful Dad December 12, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Truly weak - more so than most NGO identities. Brings to mind bad corporate identity from the 80s. UC has a great reputation - sad to see it tarnished. But education is becoming displaced by online alternatives. So does it really matter?
Aixa December 13, 2012 at 02:15 PM
The old one is better and pastel blue and gold are the colors of just UCLA!
Aixa December 13, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Yes it does!

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