In my post University of California introduces an ugly new logo, I said ‘I only hope that like “new Coke” this logo is quickly recognized as a marketing disaster and that it disappears as quietly as it appeared.’
It seems that I got my wish. The UC Office of the President announced today
Dear UCOP Colleagues:
Over the last 18 months, the Office of the President has worked unstintingly to help Californians understand how their public research university system contributes to their daily lives and why it’s worth fighting for it.
To do that well, our communications staff took a new approach to telling the university’s story — one that captured the vibrancy and pioneering spirit of the talented people who work here, and their commitment to teach, to discover, to care for those in need.
The work included the creation of an innovative visual identity system — everything from more vibrant photography and videos to a new color palette and typography. As one part of that design work, they created a new monogram that was intended to give us more flexibility: something rooted in our history but able to sit comfortably alongside other iconic and innovative California brands.
They tested it with small subsets of our audiences and over a number of publications and websites in the past year, garnering positive feedback along the way. It helped unify our look and clear away a clutter of dated materials that didn’t convey the amazing collective strength and reach of our unique system.
Their thoughtful work has been groundbreaking, not only for UC but for higher education. It has won multiple national awards and been heralded by the professional design community. I couldn’t be more proud of the work or the talented team we have. This past week, a newspaper picked up on the positive attention some design industry publications have given to our efforts — but, unfortunately, juxtaposed the new mark on its own against our seal, creating a false impression that one was replacing the other, rather than simply giving us another tool in our toolkit. The negative reaction was swift and strong. And, as we’ve waded through all of it, what clearly emerged from our students, alumni and other members of our community was a deeply held passion for the university’s prestige and tradition.
We share that passion. And while I believe that the monogram could win wider acceptance with time, it’s also important that we listen to our community.
Therefore, I have instructed the communications team to suspend further use of the monogram. For certain applications, this process could require a measure of time to complete. In due course, we will re-evaluate this element of the visual identity system.
More important, I want to encourage all of us to think about how we might tap into the passions that this debate has raised and channel them into our broader efforts to fight for the health and longevity of the University of California. That’s why all of us are here. We believe in what this university contributes to our state and the world. And collectively, we all want to ensure that it will continue to serve the next generation as well as it has those that have gone before.
Senior Vice President External Relations
(Note: faculty were not sent this message directly, so I got a version that had been repeatedly forwarded, and all formatting was lost. I don’t know that I have reconstructed the paragraphing correctly.)