The University of California at Berkeley was epicenter of riots, sit-ins and protests as part of the Free Speech Movement of the 1960’s. Now, a change in the University’s logo is sparking a new set of protestors—this one an online revolt on Twitter and Facebook.
Say hello to the UC Logo Revolt of 2012.
The logo change affects not only the Berkeley campus, but all 10 universities which make up the crown jewel of California’s higher education system. The UC system has more than 234,000 students, more than 207,000 faculty and staff, 50,000 retirees and more than 1.6 million living alumni.
The new logo was created by a team of students and staffers who donated their time and talent to the redesign. The logo consists of a large U with a C at the bottom with “University of California” written at its right. The design is a far cry from the traditional “seal” used by the University since 1910.
University of California officials said they were trying to project a "forward-looking spirit" and was designed to reproduce more clearly online.
Right or wrong, better or worse, a logo—which symbolizes a brand or organization can (and should) evoke an emotional response. And when a long-familiar logo is changed, that emotional response may be negative as many of us have a resistance to change. Case in point, the backlash from consumers when Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice changes its label or when Gap tweaked its branding—only to see consumer protests and which forced the companies to restore the original branding.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting on online revolts complete with mocking memes, Twitter insults and a petition to restore the old logo. Students and alumni have taken to Facebook and Photoshop to express their displeasure, showing the new symbol ready to be flushed down a toilet and as a permanently stalled computer operating system. One critic suggested the controversial image be tattooed on its creators' foreheads as punishment.
"To a generation all too familiar with circular, fading loading symbols, this is an attempt to be revolutionary. But it comes off as insensitive," Reaz Rahman, a 21-year-old UC Irvine senior who started the online petition, said of the UC's new logo. "To me, it didn't symbolize an institution of higher learning. It seemed like a marketing scheme to pull in money rather than represent the university."
Even California's Luietenant Governor chimed in on the design, saying that the "overwhelmingly negative response" to the logo change "demands immediate attention."
UC officials say the old logo is not being abandoned and still will be used on such things as diplomas and official letterhead. Officials said it is adaptable and will provide a unified image for fundraising, recruiting and public affairs campaigns.
"We want to convey that this is an iconic place that makes a difference to California and that there is a UC system," said Jason Simon, the UC system's director of marketing communication.
The University said there are no plans to immediately change it in response to the protests, but he suggested that the symbol might evolve over time.
Perhaps will see a channeling of Mario Savio on campuses soon.