New logo ... opinions?

Kristina Drake's picture

Hi,

My school/work just launched its new logo. I'm curious what y'all think about it.
The link has all of Concordia's past logos.

http://web2.concordia.ca/mrkcom/newvision/?referID=20070119_en

I feel irritated. But probably only because I'm used to the old one which was so much more traditional. And what's with the yellow? Sigh.

Can you guys make me feel better about it?

K.

mr smith's picture

Sorry K,
No can do. It's really ugly. Actually, you might feel better knowing it's marginally less ugly than the new Ontario logo.

all about seb's picture

Kristina,

I am afraid that I won't be able to make you feel you better about it either. It looks very generic almost clipart-y to me, but that 1974 logo, hmm, that had style and a lovely colour too.

Kristina Drake's picture

Glad that it's not just me. I keep thinking car hood ornament. Pally shield. Mail* headpieces worn by WoW warriors.
*Uh, that would be plate, rather.

I honestly don't see how they intend to print that pukey yellow on white paper. "University" disappears. hm. Maybe that's the intention.

ugh.

Grot Esqué's picture

Seems like it was made by a ericgill. Is that a building on the mark or what?

timd's picture

Interesting approach to aligning elements and to choose a C with underbite. At least they didn't letterspace it – no wait, doh!

Tim

ebensorkin's picture

I see why they wanted a change the old logo was spectacularly late 80s in style. Those fussy letterforms. That spacing... But Yeah - this new logo is not *so* hot. That kind of style was slightly hip in the early 90s. The new design is more approachable if less serious feeling. But take heart, it appears that Concordia will rebrand at the drop of a hat so about 2012 you should be getting a logo using DIN. ;-) BTW, The yellow is meant to be gold I bet. But actually depending on what Concordia is planning this logo might be an accurate indicator. Logos are not just meant to keep us peons happy by looking 'good' by some arbitrary measure. They need to do a job. It may be that this one is doing the job that the Admin & marketing types have in mind. The question is - is that the job you think needs doing?

pattyfab's picture

I don't get why UNIVERSITY is on there twice.

None of those are exactly award-winning, but I'm baffled by the letterspacing on the new one.

I also hate the NYU continuing ed logo, looks kind of like it's sticking its tongue out.

bshaykin's picture

They're in Montreal. It's bilingual. University/Université.

Spire's picture

Patty: It's there twice because it's in two different languages. (Not that I like it, but there you go.)

William Berkson's picture

OMG *two* 'swooshtikas'! What does any of it have to do with a University? Yuk.

blank's picture

All I can think of when I see this logo are phrases like “correspondence school” and “diploma mill.” It's just so bland and tawdry, and trying to build a a coat of arms shield with those swooshes is clever in a very, very bad way.

Kristina Drake's picture

We used to have two logos. One for English, one for French. Now? Only the biligual one.

I see some of the point in this - preserving aspects of our crest (book, sun, triangle) but the logo and the university both seem to be moving away from anything linked to tradition. We are "moving forward", a "university on the move" and becoming more corporate. We now have a president instead of a rector.

So yes, the logo represents the administration's goals.

Mmm and the letterspacing? They've been doing that to our web address for a while now. It was inevitable.

muzzer's picture

Its rubbish. Bad curves, no craftmanship etc. Sorry that you have to look at it!

Muzz

William Berkson's picture

>letter spacing?

That is for the new department of advanced sheep stealing :)

Quincunx's picture

Why would one want a bilingual approach for a word like that. The words are practically the same...?

nicholasgross's picture

Working with an internal group of graphic designers and two outside design teams

Crikey! I'm genuinely curious, because I've never done anything like this, how does this work? Lots of meetings? Does one person design and the rest consult, do they have competing ideas and pick the best? How do you design using teams?

Re: logo opinion, I've decided when it comes to university logos that I'm happy in the 70s

--N

Linda Cunningham's picture

Why would one want a bilingual approach for a word like that. The words are practically the same…?

Because in Quebec, it's the law. You can be fined and be charged to have the sign removed if it doesn't conform to the Language Laws. (No, I'm not kidding: French has to be at least as big if not larger than the English, among other things.)

Kristina, it's a truly ugly piece of crap. If it's any consolation, I think almost every university who looks at rebranding themselves as "hip" and "with-it" -- whatever that means! -- goes for this faux-minimalist BS, finds soon (2-3 years) that it makes their degrees look like something you'd get in a box of no-name cereal, and smartens up by going back to a traditional crest with funky logo and ad campaigns.

Heck, U of C's done it more than once -- the current incarnation is, I think, the third time they've rebranded the formal crest since I started there in the early 70s. The "new" slogan is "This Is Now".

Whatever that means.... ;-(

(As the Canada goose said after eating a field of green grass "this too shall pass"!)

Quincunx's picture

Linda, Language Laws, really? I didn't know that. It sounds kind of weird, lol.

Linda Cunningham's picture

Language Laws, really? I didn’t know that. It sounds kind of weird, lol.

Check out "The Status of the French Language" (thankfully en anglais!) at http://www.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca/english/charter/index.html : pretty sad, actually.

I speak both Parisian and Quebec French, love Montreal, and even pay extra to have the digital TV channel that shows every Canadiens game, but it's a severely strange place from a legal/language perspective....

Kristina Drake's picture

Thing is, I don't think our switch to a bilingual logo had anything to do with the language laws. As I understand it that law has to do with signage in a public space. (But I don't really know and am now curious.) Outside the school we always used a French logo. I perhaps should check this out before saying anything, but given the incredible amount of unilingual English stuff we produce -- and I'm including huge banners inside the school announcing events, recruitment and application materials -- I doubt the French on the logo was motivated by sign laws. Also, "university" is not smaller than "université".

I think it has to do with a push to make everything we produce bilingual... to attract more students? because our new president is quebecois? who knows. I'm dreading the day they decide we need to have a bilingual Academic Calendar.

Although you are right, Linda. According to the law, the English text must be smaller by a certain percentage than the French. There have been ridiculous cases with restaurant owners being fined for "illegal" beer coasters.

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Kristina, it's old news by now and probably not much consolation for you, but here's an article about another school that wanted to update its image: The New School's old and new logos.

Kristina Drake's picture

Hi,

In the Montreal Gazette, an article which places the cost of this new logo at $30,000. Ouch.

Regarding the French language laws, I found some info on Wikipedia.

"A number of exceptions are also made to the general rules for commercial production, signage, and advertising" including "Educational products for the teaching of a language other than French" and "Cultural and ideological companies, groups, signs, and literature (including non-French broadcasters, newspapers, etc.)"

Edit:
Oh, just saw the New School logo. Eeewwwwww. I wonder what parents of current and prospective students thought when they saw it.

Linda Cunningham's picture

Kristina, you may well be correct about the emphasis on attracting more French students -- not exactly a stupid move in a province with a decreasing percentage of native English speakers. It wouldn't surprise me that other things may well change: perhaps not a bilingual calendar, but perhaps one in each language. (Do you still produce a hard-copy calendar? U of C is rapidly phasing theirs out by charging an arm and a leg for one....)

I must admit, Ricardo, my reaction to the New School's logo is about the same as Colin and Justin to anything antique-ish.

EW (expletives deleted). :-(

Kristina Drake's picture

Hi Linda,

Yes, we still produce a hard copy Calendar. In fact, our online version is produced from the files used to create the hard copy.

This year there was some mumbling from above about making it available online only and adding interactivity between the Calendar and the Class Schedule from the registration interface. Hehe, and bilingual. However, we have neither the expertise nor the budget to make those kinds of changes. At least not now. We would all (the 4 of us in publications) need some heavy-duty training. And certainly extra staff and cooperation with the IT department. Since we are unionized and permanent, they can't simply replace us with someone more savvy (knocking on wood and keeping appendages crossed).

How's the online-only going at U of C? We did the same with our admission application. Printed only 2000 copies, all long gone, and are now insisting students apply online. I guess for the most part it hasn't had a negative effect, but the decision has certainly impacted the way we process applicants.

Personally, I prefer to read most everything hard copy. Professors constantly refer to the Calendar from offices with no computer or internet access, so what would they do? And, c'mon, in comparison to other things, it's not that expensive to print.

K.

Quincunx's picture

'Check out “The Status of the French Language”
I speak both Parisian and Quebec French, love Montreal, and even pay extra to have the digital TV channel that shows every Canadiens game, but it’s a severely strange place from a legal/language perspective….'

Yeah, fairly odd. But then again, I like both French and English. Although my French isn't too good.

pattyfab's picture

Ooh, that New School logo is atrocious! Grungiversity???

Linda Cunningham's picture

Certainly for internal/on-campus distribution, I'd think that hard copies would be most useful, but if you consider the cost in postage to send 'em even within Canada, it could get prohibitive in a big hurry.

[As an example, I took over a newsletter almost two years ago that had been distributed exclusively in hard copy and that cost upwards of $850/year. After converting it to pdf and email, it now runs under $200 (we still print 20 copies for the non-technos and for library archives). And I'm talking really small (<100) runs.]

That being said, when I applied to grad school in 1998, it was all hard-copy and from my sources still is, but then again, Environmental Design is somewhat a law unto itself: it bestows Masters and Ph.D.s but isn't subject to the Faculty of Graduate Studies' rules (where they still decree that your thesis has to be in Courier, believe it or not!), as they are considered a "professional" faculty like Law or Medicine.

As well, I had to submit a number of forms filled in by hand throughout my program, although they did (and still do) require graduates to have some minimal computer skills.

Kristina Drake's picture

Oh for sure, mailing them costs a bundle. We no longer mail them to students, but I believe we still mail to certain schools and counselling centres. However, I believe even that distribution is being reduced, which is a good thing. I'm all for cost reduction and using less paper (let's face it, the book is a big sucker) but I don't (yet) agree with not printing any.

Is U of C the Univ. of Calgary? I will have to take a peek in our library room and check out their past calendars.

Lots of hubub going on here (ConU not Typophile) about the new logo. Interestingly enough, after all the negative comments a few people are now stepping forward in defense of the designers and the new logo.

Choz Cunningham's picture

I think The New School logo is absolutely wonderful. It brings across that desperate, greedy big-business condition that universities once tried to hide under well groomed rhetoric. Except that it looks like an unaccredited college I might see ads for on TV. I wonder if an "edgy" flickering-animation version exists for the impending infomercials.

Choz Cunningham
!Exclamachine Type Foundry
The Snark

Kristina Drake's picture

The logo has been slightly modified since the launch.

"University" and "Université" are larger, and more visible, and the yellow-gold colour is darker. Woot! :)

Thylacine's picture

If the school's goal is to brand itself as a non-accredited, mail order, diploma mill, they're on the right path. It reeks of that casual, not-quite-with-it trendiness that seems about 20 years behind the curve.

Something that puzzles me is the school's regular revamping of the logo. Branding is a long-term effort with benefits that accrue over many years as the brand becomes known and identified with the organization. The relevance of this concept should be especially important to an academic institution whose goal, I think, would be to foster an image of stability, competence, quality and distinguished tradition. Instead, this new logo accomplishes the opposite.

Hiroshige's picture

Instant logo, comes to mind.

Concordia U. has just lost it's soul. Where's the edge in this design? Where's the push that challenges/developes/encourages the individual in a corporate enviroment? Analogous colour scheme, analogous cadence - this thing strives to be mediocre, and is scared sh*tless to 'stand apart'.

Look to the board members who signed off on this valium design. Take a good look into their own lives and then run for your life Kristina. Run as fast as you can!
Or, stand your ground and disect this 'work' in front of the student body - if you feel that it is worth the fight.

And if you are going to mount a serious campaign other than 'trial by popular opinion', I suggest you take a technical approach and clearly explain options which you think hold true to the spirit of Concordia learning in a Concordia corporate enviroment.

It is possible and it can be done... and less is not more.

_________
Hiro

Eric_West's picture

unbalanced, poor line quality

Goran Soderstrom's picture

The new logo has no finess at all. In fact it need to be redesigned!

It also looks as if the letters itself in the logo are not very well designed., but that could be screen resolution problem perhaps.

Jackie Frant's picture

Eric - I love the cat! Describes a lot of feelings around here... Amateurs vs. Professionals.

It is definitely unbalanced. I could hear Don Munson asking for box-y-ness - no breakouts. It makes me want to pull Universite over the C -- and University flushed to to the A in Concordia...

But even that wouldn't help.

In 1974 and 1978 - I think they had someone that understood University Identity - and the "arms" really made it seems - well, behind Ivy Walls... now it could be a bake shop on the corner of Main St.

degregorio's picture

Kristina...

I worked in a University in Chile.
Here you can found a review of a redesign.

http://letritas.blogspot.com/2006/03/escudo-puc-rechazado.html

William Berkson's picture

Juan Pablo, that is a very sensitive reworking of a design, with nice improvements in clarity and balance.

What a contrast to the pathetic new logo of Concordia.

The thing that disturbs me most about the Concordia logo, even more than its 'hey look at my swashes' absurdity, is that it goes against the what a University should stand for. A University should be about passing along the knowledge, skills and experience of past generations to the rising new generation of young adults. As such, it needs to be above superficial trendiness. By straining so hard for trendiness the logo seems to me to say, "We don't understand or care about the true value and mission of a University."

The New School logo linked above misses by trying to be trendy--and the trend has already passed!--but at least it is well done, which is a mitigating factor.

I am curious about Concordia's own design department; were they consulted at all?

dmajor's picture

That '74 logo sure has spunk. This new one tries to modernize the coat-of-arms shape, and is concerned with the centrality of learning, graphically represented by the book--these are virtuous efforts--but jeez, the graphic has the feel of a logo belonging to an investment portfolio. To me it doesn't look trendy at all, moreso stale. The '74 logo had more youthfulness for sure.

My university (also Canadian) re-branded last year, abandoning the coat-of-arms for an iceberg-inspired graphic. Reviews have been diverse, but mostly negative. Check it out the new coupled with the old at http://www.today.mun.ca/files/image_web/2291.jpg.

Choz Cunningham's picture

Interesting comparing all the old and new "hip" versions*. As strong as my distaste is for sincere pomp, the ideas implemented by the universities, as they try to discard margins are just funny. They must be hurting in the wallets, but they haven't got their bearings on what to do about it.

So, if shields, crests and serifs are out, what's in? What is the real future of scholastic regalia and ID? Because it's not in any of these. Does it even matter, or is this just a bad fad?

*PUC excepted. The top detail is pretty interesting.

Choz Cunningham
!Exclamachine Type Foundry
The Snark

Hiroshige's picture

Death of academia's colonial symbolisms? I only hope so - and it's about friggin time too.

Perhaps now we're entering into a graphic phase of a broader/truer expression. Designed not of 'belonging', but of 'time and character'.

And there's the rub... to find honest self expression - and that demands a master's touch.

_________
Hiro

zwoelf's picture

I think, the logo of 1974 is working the best. It's really bad to see this kind of "evolution" backwards of the logo.

www.zwoelf.hu

William Berkson's picture

>honest self expression

Shouldn't the logo express the spirit of the organization whose logo it is, and not the personality of the designer?

Of course some of the designer's sensibility will always enter in, but if the personal expression of the designer is up front, rather than the ethos of the institution, it seems to me that it fails as a design.

Of course, the personality of the designer and the institution might coincide, in which case, fine--but self expression doesn't seem to me like the right goal.

Hiroshige's picture

I was trying to use the phrase 'self expression' to mean Concordia's identity of self. That's why I went on to mention that it takes a master graphic designer to be able to clearly articulate it's character, especially if coming in from outside the Concordia experience.

Does a learning institution have a 'self'? Does it have a character? From my own experience I think it does, and from reading the above posts I think Concordia has a chance for a great 'expression' of 'self', but it will take someone with considerable design interpretation skill - and without the use of academia’s colonial symbolisms.

@Choz - UCLA spent 98K on these for letters when they rebranded their identity back in '04.

_________
Hiro

Choz Cunningham's picture

98K? Nice work if you can get it. I would've advanced the A a hair, but technically I suppose I'd be wrong. Of course, I think I'd have not tried to make it look like that at all. When I am forced to work with only 4 letters, I try to find a style that doesn't accentuate the kerning problems potentially in that combination.

Each college needs to do it's own thing, but they seem to be in a crisis as a service industry. What do they sell, how do they convince the market their version is better? How do they make certain that the market knows what they are looking at when they see the mark? Standard questions, and interesting in the context of universities as a sector.

With the need for the college industry to rebrand itself, might be a coming demand for the friendlier postmodern blackletter trend, which for now seems to be largely a thought experiment. The new blackletters might be an excellent compromise that holds some old colonial feel (which I don't think is necessarily bad, from the client's perspective), and the hipness they feel they need to now cater to.

Choz Cunningham
!Exclamachine Type Foundry
The Snark

ajkandy's picture

i came up with a counterdesign: comments welcome.

Choz Cunningham's picture

where do I comment? here, blog or flikr?

ajkandy's picture

oh anywhere you like! But since we have something going on here it'd be nice to continue the discussion on Typophile.

goglu's picture

Argh! What's happened to my Alma Mater!?
Just read about the new logo in a local weekly - they even mention this very thread! :-)
Too bad… That new design looks über-cheap and reeks of compromise :-P

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