Sunday, December 28, 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
From page A1 | December 12, 2012 |

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

Comments

comments

San Francisco Chronicle

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    Yolo makes hydrogen connection

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Sacramento man convicted for 2011 bar shooting

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Drugs, stolen car lead to women’s arrests

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    NYC officer mourned at funeral as tensions linger

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    N. Korea uses racial slur against Obama over hack

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    AirAsia plane with 162 aboard missing in Indonesia

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Nominate teens for Golden Heart awards

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    USA Weekend calls it quits

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Sweet success: Cancer Center helps young patient celebrate end of treatment

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Reserve tickets soon for Chamber’s Installation Gala

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Holiday hours continue at The Enterprise

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Covell Gardens hosts New Year’s Eve dance

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    UC Davis debate team wins national championship

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Portuguese breakfast set for Jan. 25

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    At the Pond: It all started with kayaking on Putah Creek

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Find the first cabbage white butterfly, and win a pitcher

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    Does pre-eclampsia raise autism risk?

    By Phyllis Brown | From Page: A6

    Long will talk about value of hedgerows for adjacent farms

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    It’s a wonderful life — and a wonderful state

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    College sees benefits in loan guarantees

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

     
    Tickets for New Year’s Eve party going fast

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

    .

    Forum

    This cat is on life No. 7

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B4

     
     
    It was a busy, black-eye year for disease control

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    Say thanks to the caregivers

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Commission’s list needs vetting

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Rifkin’s statement is offensive

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Bombing is not the answer

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    Just Us in Davis: Despair and hope for the new year

    By Jonathan London | From Page: A10

     
    Cuba policy changes highlight a momentous opportunity

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Writer’s arguments fall flat

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Sports

    Kings cruise past Sharks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Lady Blue Devils top Tigers to reach Ram Jam title game

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    DHS boys get good film in tournament loss

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Sacramento survives Knicks in OT

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Sports briefs: Republic FC to host camp series

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    College bowl roundup: Sun Bowl goes to the Sun Devils

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Rob White: Davis tech community is growing

    By Rob White | From Page: A9

     
    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A9

    First Northern adds Peyret to agribusiness loan team

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Kaiser’s trauma center in Vacaville earns verification

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Obituaries

    Ruth Allen Barr

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Charles ‘Bud’ Meyer

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, December 28, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8