Wednesday, November 26, 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

    Fremont Weir parking lot remains closed

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1

     
    Occupy movement settles in at UC Davis

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Time to give thanks for nature’s beauty

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Food fight … in a good way

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Guard reinforcements contain damage in Ferguson

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Weather affecting Thanksgiving travelers

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Second cat-hoarding suspect arrested

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    LCI marks 50 years with special service

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Happy Thanksgiving from The Enterprise

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Year-end films to see, or not, on KDRT

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Girls who volunteer may apply for grant

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Round up at the registers for Davis schools

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Davis Community Gift Project brightens holidays for children

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

    Speaker proposes changes in humanities doctorate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Senior Center hosts holiday sing-along

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Sutter sponsors qigong for holiday de-stress

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Learn to use Skype at Connections Café

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Boy Scouts start Christmas tree sales on Friday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Volunteers needed to grow plants for habitat restoration

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Rainbow City community meeting set Dec. 1

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

     
    .

    Forum

    She wants more from him

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Musings in the wake of Ferguson decision

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Rich Rifkin: Is it time to be a bear or a bull?

    By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6

    Planting love at new home

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Innovation parks comparison

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    No excuses, but there’s hope for UCD after 2-9 season

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Joseph, Manzanares lead 10 All-Big Sky Aggie picks

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    DHS wrestling is not just for boys

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Let’s not lose another good DHS coach

    By Chris Saur | From Page: B1

    Blue Devils prepare for a new season on the mat

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Davis Little League offers early sign-up discounts

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    Kings get past Pelicans

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    .

    Features

    Salute to non-steamed broccoli

    By Dan Kennedy | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

    It really is ‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’

    By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Death notice: Buddy Ralph Mills

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Elzyne Thompson

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, November 26, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Ready, Set, Shop!

    Shop locally: You can have your pie and eat it too

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: RSS1

    Santa’s little helper: secrets to happy holiday shopping

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: RSS2

    Make sure it gets there: deadlines for shopping and shipping

    By The Associated Press | From Page: RSS2

    Downtown lights up at holiday open house

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: RSS3

    Full of warm wishes and over-sharing, the holiday card lives on

    By The Associated Press | From Page: RSS4

    Shop smart: Protect your wallet and your identity this shopping season

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RSS5

    Woodland celebrates the holidays downtown

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RSS5