Thursday, April 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

New, simpler UC logo draws derision

This image shows the old logo of the University of California, left, with the new logo. The university's original logo — with its open book, 1868 date stamp and "Let there be light" script — will still be in circulation, appearing on president's letters and official university documents. But marketing materials and websites will feature a radically simple and more contemporary symbol: a little "C" nesting inside a shield-shaped "U." AP photo

By Carolyn Jones

Since 1868, the University of California’s motto has been “Let there be light.” Now the university’s new logo is bringing plenty of heat.

Critics have compared the recently unveiled logo — a yellow, half-realized “C” inside a stylized blue “U” — to a napkin doodle, a bidet or a banana label. One online commenter said it “looks like it’s still loading.”

The logo would be appropriate for “a shady online startup, not one of the top universities in the world,” said Jacob Horn, a medical recruiter in Arcata and a Berkeley native who is among 40,000 signers of an online petition asking UC to scrap the new logo. “It devalues the university totally. If they had done even a little research, they would have found that people don’t like it.”

And like it, they don’t. From the fields of Davis to the beaches of San Diego, students, alumni and staff have resoundingly voiced their disapproval.

The gist of the complaints is that the logo resembles a corporate brand and is a symbol of the university’s continued trek toward privatization.

“It is everything our school is against. Might as well have slapped a McDonald’s ‘M’ on top of it,” Sheila Lam of Berkeley wrote on the petition. “It looks so corporate, and it looks cheap.”

But the logo is not pervasive, and if it looks like a corporate brand, well, that’s the reality in which the university finds itself, said Steve Montiel, media relations director for the university president’s office.

“We’ve seen $900 million in cuts over the last four years,” Montiel said. “We need to reach out directly to the people of California with a simple, creative, flexible logo that symbolizes the university as a whole and how it affects their lives.”

For more than a century, diplomas, acceptance letters and a multitude of other official UC paraphernalia have been emblazoned with the traditional “Let there be light” seal, a circle around an open book illuminated by a shining star.

That logo isn’t going anywhere. It will still adorn diplomas and other UC documents, Montiel said.

But about a year ago, the university’s communications office found the seal had too many details and small print to reproduce well on small screens, such as the smartphones and tablets favored by prospective students.

The university also saw a need for a logo that would appeal to those who are not necessarily affiliated with UC as a way to drum up support for the entire system — not just its 10 campuses, but also its medical centers, agriculture projects, laboratories and research centers.

The new logo, created in-house at minimal public expense, Montiel said, was vetted among prospective students, parents, alumni and some of the chancellors, and is the result of much effort and consideration, he said.

About six months ago, the new logo started appearing on the UC admissions website. No one complained. But then a news story brought it to the public’s attention last week, and the boom landed.

“There’s been a brushfire of opinion,” Montiel said. “It’s not surprising that people feel passionately about this. We are paying attention to the feedback. We are listening.”

But UC has no plans to drop the new logo, he said.

The logo has several versions, but the one most widely circulated shows a blue U shape, topped with a silhouette of an open book. At the bottom of the U is a yellow block C fading into the blue.

Mark Fox, a graphic design professor at California College of the Arts who designed that school’s logo and has done work for UC in the past, panned the new effort.

“The visual language is generic, commercial and utterly forgettable,” he said. “It is a complete mismatch for the university’s history and reputation. (It) has no visual or conceptual gravitas.”

A good logo should be distinct and memorable, create positive associations, reflect well on the company and work easily and inexpensively in all media, he said.

“The new UC logo,” Fox said, “fails in most of the above criteria.”

— Reach Carolyn Jones at carolynjones@sfchronicle.com

San Francisco Chronicle

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

Will city move forward on public power review?

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
 
4-H members get ready for Spring Show

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Obama to Russia: More sanctions are ‘teed up’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 3 Comments

 
2 pursuits, 2 arrests keep Woodland officers busy

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
 
Conference puts focus on Arab studies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Youth sports in focus on radio program

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Rummage sale will benefit preschool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Concert benefits South Korea exchange

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Davis honors ‘green’ citizens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Water rate assistance bill advances

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Program explores STEM careers for girls

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

 
Embroiderers plan a hands-on project

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Central Park Gardens to host Volunteer Orientation Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
MOMS Club plans open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Cycle de Mayo benefits Center for Families

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

Author to read ‘The Cat Who Chose to Dream’

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A12

 
.

Forum

Things are turning sour

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

The high cost of employment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
High-five to Union Bank

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Broken sprinklers waste water

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Three more administrators?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Neustadt has experience for the job

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Here’s a plan to save big on employee costs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6, 4 Comments

Davis is fair, thoughtful

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Ortiz is the right choice for Yolo

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

.

Sports

DHS tracksters sweep another DVC meet

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Another DVC blowout for DHS girls soccer

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1, 2 Comments | Gallery

Young reinvents his game to help Aggies improve on the diamond

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
DHS boys shuffle the deck to beat Cards

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS/Franklin II is a close loss for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Baseball roundup: Giants slam Rockies in the 11th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
UCD roundup: Aggies lose a softball game at Pacific

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Jahn jumps to Sacramento Republic FC

By Evan Ream | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Arts

 
Bach Soloists wrap up season on April 28

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

Congressional art competition open to high school students

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Emerson, Da Vinci to present ‘Once Upon a Mattress’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Winters Plein Air Festival begins Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6