September 14, 2016

Why Does UGA Need a New Logo?

Remember New Coke? A colossal flop and learning point for a major Georgia corporation.

I have been associated with the University of Georgia since 1970, when I moved to Athens to begin work on two graduate degrees. It was sad when UGA switched from Jack Davis' bulldog image to one that looked more appropriate for the hood of a Mack truck. It was, however, somewhat bearable, since that image was associated more with athletics than academics. The new logo announced in the Sept. 6 issue of Columns seems better suited for a door on the Mack truck.

Does the newly named vice president for marketing and communications think the oldest public university in the country needs to be re-branded? Did she not go on a new faculty tour of the state? Has she not seen how well this university is known throughout Georgia and nationally? The process leading to this decision seems to be that of change for the sake of change, to show something is being done to justify a new person and a new title. It also seems like what happens when a skillful prosecutor or facilitator leads the witness or participants. Why spend time, talent and considerable money to fix something that is not broken? The 1989 UGA logo is an elegant, well-recognized image of the university, and it was in place as the university completed its most successful fund drive ever.

A quick scan of the websites for UGA colleges, schools and departments shows consistent use of the font style and other elements of the 1989 logo. All academic entities adopted the 1989 logo as a unifying identity system and, it appears to me, they use it to “present a comprehensive picture of a university whose component parts are working together and accomplishing great things.”

The argument that the 1989 logo was "challenging to use in the digital realm" does not speak highly of the ability of UGA's computer science, art and engineering programs.

People did not rush out and purchase the new Coke. When alumni, of which I am one, receive adequate information, they "understand the impact their university is having in the state of Georgia." That will not change because of a new logo, especially one that changes UGA's image from that of a ballerina to that of a sumo wrestler.

This new academic logo does not communicate any of the University of Georgia's elegance, grace or sophistication communicated by the current logo.

See a UGA response here.