University of California's new logo

The new one's on the right. Good to see them putting the freshmen to use.


    1. by all means, please show us your better designs.

      I can’t fit my camera into the toilet bowl.

        1. Do you mean something like this?
          My photo editing skills are non-existent, maybe someone here with Photoshop (which I don’t even have) can help out, fancy it up a bit.

    2. Easy: the one on the left.

      My god, how did this happen without me hearing about?  My current cards don’t have logo because of my department (which has its own very nice logo, although not quite as venerable), but if I did I would really be pissed.  Now I have to buy some t-shirts before they all look like we’re some fly-by-night dot-com.

      1. When I was an undergrad, my university changed the logo when I was a senior. I didn’t have anything with the logo on it – and didn’t realize I’d actually want things with the school’s logo on it at some point in my life, so I didn’t rush to buy things with the original logo – and now I can’t buy anything out of principle.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if UC schools kept some things with the original logo around in the shops, though. 

    1. OK. The clarification that this is going to augment, rather than replace, the university’s seal makes me somewhat less annoyed.

    2. They claim to have spent possibly as much as 40 person-years on this, and the result is a C dissolving in a test tube.

      Worse, there’s nothing distinctive about it. Even if you somehow discern that the test tube is meant to be a U (no certain thing; it’s too tall, for one thing), the C might mean Chicago, or Connecticut, or Colorado, or many other things.

      Rebranding for some purposes is not the worst idea in the world, though its a questionable use of resources, especially as the University of California isn’t even going to be making money by selling it on T-shirts and binders (people buy the logo of their campus, not of the statewide system). But this truly is a terrible design – and a terrible design perpetrated on a statewide university system full of brilliant artists who’d have loved to have taken a crack at the job.

      1. Whatever else it is, it is more distinctive than the old one. A bunch of stuff with circular writing around it? There must be tens of thousands of logos like that.

  1. Yuck. Also, as a graphic designer I wonder if they’re really prepared for all the functional limitations they’ll encounter with a logo that depends on the use of a gradient. If people think it looks bad now then just wait until it’s embroidered on a shirt, made into a rubber stamp, made into a window graphic via vinyl cutter, etc.

      1. Seems they won’t have to after all. The seal isn’t going away, it’s just going to be reserved for special occasions (as most Universities already do).

  2. A travesty of the first order. Utterly meaningless, and conveys no purpose. How much did the taxpayers pay for that?

  3. Awww! It’s like the Golden State Warriors logo and the old Hartford Whalers logo had a little logo baby.

        1. FTW!  Couldn’t agree more. This isn’t a matter of lay people critiquing the more esoteric elements of design or design theory. It’s a matter of a logo that does almost nothing of what a logo is supposed to do and it doesn’t take a designer to recognize that. 

      1. Yeah… I thought it was ok. Not great but ok and better than the old one. Wasn’t there a post like this a few months back where people got really huffy about some new character design on a box of cereal? … They thought it was too unrealistic or something?

        Same kind of whine-fest where people proved their design-skills by saying something was bad (in the same way I “prove” my 1337-hacker skills by saying commonplace like “Vista was badly made”). 
        Or that Jesus-image remade by a Spanish woman. Allot of people who couldn’t draw a pair of boobs to save their life got all huffy and snort-laughing without even contemplating the difference between art-by-school or art-by-emotion.

        The trick here I think is just join the crowd of snort-laughers – or let them get on with it – because it has nothing to do with aesthetics and all about identity creation by agreement. 

        1. It sounds like you’re trying to posit yourself as a member of the tribe that’s Just Too Clever To Be Taken In By People Who Claim To Know About “Design”.

  4. So anywhere else, a college has both a seal and a logo and they’re used for totally different things…and the College Relations or PR department will even have rules laid out for how each treatment is used (even a small community college often does this).

    What’s wrong with this place that they never figured that out?

    1. If by “this place” you mean the UC schools, you’re mistaken, as the seal and the logo will both continue to be used, as you described.
      If by “this place” you mean Boing Boing…well, I don’t know the answer,

    1. Well, to be fair, the old one looks like an utterly generic 19th-century bookplate or masthead logo. Neither is great. The first functions better as a seal, the second one functions better as a logo. Which, luckily, is apparently how the two images will be put to use from here on out.

  5. I’m a UC Santa Cruz alum. Our mascot is the banana slug. With that in mind, the new logo feels really frivolous to me. If a banana slug feels it lacks the seriousness of a quality education, what will the rest of the world think? It’s a University system, not an app, fer cryin’ out loud.

    1. But you see, eventually our university system will become an app (see Coursera, for example). This new logo is slightly ahead of its time, but not much, and you can look forward to seeing this pretty little icon on a touch screen near you when the university system re-boots as College 2.0.

      1. Yeah, you’re probably right. I’m just an oldster who remembers, fondly, the days of written evaluations (instead of grades). Ah, the good old days… now I have to go because there are kids. on. my. lawn.

  6. Something about the look of the new logo makes the recent tuition hikes even less palatable.  It looks like an education from a UC is something I can get for $0.99 at the app store.

  7. This article is misleading.  The seal shown here is NOT being replaced.  Instead, it is this logo that is going away –

      1. I guess my point is the seal is not going away.  It will still appear on official stationary and letters from the UC.  However, the new logo will replace dozens of different type faces and home-grown logos to try and give a comprehensive branding approach. The seal is not going away.

      2. Nope. The monogram is what was used as the basis for the motifs in the logo. Both images will continue to be used by the university, but in different capacities.

    1. Your tuition?  How am I supposed to tell people that I worked at “The Big C” for 15 years?

      1. I’m pretty sure at some point there was a golden “UC” on the hill behind the Berkeley Campus (next to LLNL), but the U is now gone (there’s just a big gap there, and the “C” fades in and out.  There’s also something like a retaining wall to the right of the C that occasionally matches in color, providing us with a Hollywood sign version of “C-“, which feels about right.

        1. No, it’s always just been a big C.  There is a tradition to go up and repaint it the night before the annual football game with Stanford.

  8. I’m a UC employee.  When all I saw was the badly-artifacted jpg with the gradient and thought it was replacing the seal I was horrified. (The Monkey Jesus comparison being hilariously apt)  But after watching the video they made about it and seeing the non-gradiented versions I’m much less bothered by it. I had already seen it on a mailing about healthcare benefits back in November and didn’t make the connection.  It looked fine and I like the type that goes with it (although I wish the word “OF” was smaller).  I am concerned about how absolutely craptastic the gradiented jpg looks though – we try to optimize the heck out of our web graphics so I can see bad-looking versions of this abounding on the web. 

    1.  I  think that’s why other commenters have pointed out that putting a gradient in a logo is almost certainly bound to end in tears.

    2.  Funny, I got much more irritated after watching the video. Maybe because I am an historian and know a bit about why and how the original logo was chosen. The original is gracious, it is elegant, it lasted through many technological and social changes. The new one is destined to be replaced in a few years by something equally awful and short-lived. Why?

  9. Another UCSC alum here. I’d get all fired up and start making loud and angry statements about not donating any money, but as I tell the alumni fund development people every year I call, that would first require that I have money. 

  10. I am surprised teh internets hates this design: it is clearly the back end of a cat which is facing away. Does the internets no longer likes kittehs?

  11. Does this mean UC Berkeley’s blue is no longer Yale blue but some kind of abominable Skeletor blue?

    1.  Wow, being a fighting Skeletor back in the day would’ve been so much more fun than being a fighting Gaucho. Go, Skeletor blue!

  12. If you want to see how it’s intended to be used, check out the link (it’s at the top of a very “arty” web site that scrolls two directions and has arrows that hop up and down the page — yuk):

    I don’t like the new “supplementary” logo, even given that people don’t generally like new logos. Last night I was skimming children’s books from the 60’s online, and some of those designs/illustrations are truly timeless. There is a difference between good visual design and “cheap and cheerful” – it’s too bad that my alma mater chose the latter…

  13. You know, my alma mater Northern Iowa got a free panther logo from a t-shirt company. A snappy logo but as a graphic design alumn, i think it would have been a good project for graduate students in the art department to come up with something. loading screen or not.

  14. ‘designed by an 11-person creative team formed about three and a half years ago.’

    … 35 person-years they spent on this. Design by committee wins again.

    1. Thank you, you just saved me 3 minutes of photoshopping. And:

      “I see designers get their ideas at the same place as the rest of us.”

      Again, thanks.

       I feel better now.

  15. It is really difficult to get grads of California, UCLA, Davis and the rest to agree on anything. Congratulations, terrible overpaid branding folks, you’ve done it! We all hate what you are trying to do to a perfectly lovely and serviceable “brand.”

  16. It seems  everyone has missed the most useful feature of the new logo design.  If it is meant to appear on brochures and advertisement (mentioned in the article), it is perfectly suited for California High School Seniors as it does not require literacy to understand.  It may actually be somewhat more difficult for the litterate because the ‘U’ and ‘C’ (particularly with gradient) are poor representations of the actual characters.  A truly appropriate representation of and for the California educational system.

    No, I’m not bitter :)

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