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New Logo At University Of California Causes Uproar


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.


And I'm Robert Siegel.

The University of California is no stranger to protests over wars, tuition hikes, budget cuts, you name it. But the 10-campus system is seeing a different kind of revolt this week.

As NPR's Richard Gonzales reports, it is a resounding rejection of the university's new logo.

RICHARD GONZALES, BYLINE: Since 1868, the University of California has been represented, visually speaking, by a seal featuring a star shining on an open book and the script Let There Be Light. But there's not much light when the seal is replicated on a piece of apparel or in a digital field, say for example, a Twitter icon, says UC's marketing communications director Jason Simon.

JASON SIMON: When it's used, you know, at the size of less than a dime, you don't get any of that detail.

GONZALES: Several months ago, the university unveiled a new, sleeker and more modern logo. It's a large C in a stylized blue U-shape topped with the silhouette of an open book. In one version, the C is solid. In another, it's a gradient C which appears to be moving or fading.

AARON BADY: I said it looks like a Swedish flag being flushed down the toilet.

GONZALES: It would be an understatement to say that the new UC logo is being panned on the Internet.

DAVID PETERSON: I just have to tell you, it looks like kind of a minor league American soccer logo, rather than the logo of a very proud educational institution.

BRITTAN TROZZE: I hate to say it but it reminds me of a tampon brand maybe, something that's young and fresh and sort of supposed to be discreet.

DOUGLAS SAUNDERS: To me it's bad graphics, it's bad politics, it's bad marketing. It's just bad.


GONZALES: Those are the opinions of Cal alums and students Aaron Bady, David Peterson, Brittan Trozze, and Douglas Saunders. Some, if not all, are among the more than 53,000 people who have signed an online petition asking the University to withdraw the new logo.

The reaction has caught UC officials off guard. Marketing communications director Jason Simon says the logo has been out nearly nine months, so it's really not new.

SIMON: It's been on Web site. It's been on a mobile tour that we moved throughout the state. You know, we engaged 60,000 people in those things. So my only surprise really is not necessarily the reaction, it's that we're just getting this reaction now.

GONZALES: And Simon says the university never intended for the new logo to replace the old seal, which will still appear on diplomas. And he says the university has no plans to withdraw the much-maligned logo.

Richard Gonzales, NPR News, San Francisco. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.