Laundering the University of California’s Past

Apparently the University of California system decided it needed to update its image, so they cooked up this. Here are the old and the new side by side:

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When I see the old  logo, I think of quaint values like learning and truth. When I see the new logo, I imagine little enzymes acting like keys to unlock the stains in my laundry.

UPDATE: The UC bureaucracy folds up like a tent a mere five days after this was posted. Maybe the new logo should say vox populi somewhere. (H/t David Hoopes in the comments.)

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8 Comments on “Laundering the University of California’s Past”

  1. Corey says:

    If they think that the new logo is contemporary and cool, then they should flip through couple of modern design magazines. WTH????

  2. Sissy Willis says:

    I disagree. Profile of holy book — see top of blue background — survives great winnowing process, while “c” emerges from the holy book into yellow glow of enlightenment.

  3. RussCoff says:

    I still can’t get the image of a stylized toilet bowl out of my head…

  4. Peter Lewis says:

    As a Berkeley alumnus, this new logo and the initiative associated with it just downright angered me. In the time of massive budget crisis, this is the kind of stuffs that the administration seems to be preoccupied with. Sure, they claim the new design was an in-house job and didn’t cost an extra dime, but I wonder how much attention and wasted time at the top were involved. These people certainly don’t understand the meaning of opportunity cost.

    Now they are going to spend more time to deal with a 50K+ petition against this massively ugly logo.

  5. [...] One of the best comments about the logo comes from Steve Postrel: [...]

  6. krippendorf says:

    Failed rebranding efforts such as this are a dime a dozen. In one of the more extreme examples, consider Cornell’s decision to rebrand the Johnson Graduate School of Management to just “The Johnson.” Or, given Cornell’s sports teams are known as the Big Red, “the Big Red Johnson.”

    Sadly, the b-school administration did not back down from the rebranding. Evidently, the internal echo chamber that is university administration protected them from appreciating the new moniker’s phallic connotations. Or, maybe they just didn’t care that the rebranding effort made JGSM the butt of jokes in the eyes of many faculty, students, and alumni.

    • stevepostrel says:

      On the Cornell school website, it appears that “Johnson” rather than “the Johnson” is the preferred locution. Leaving out the offending definite article largely eliminates the unintended connotation.

      I used to get the odd snigger when working at “Cox” at SMU. At UCI we have “The Merage School,” which orally creates an impression of illusoriness. And one wonders how crowded classrooms would be if attending “the Booth.”


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