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UC Logo Symbolizes Waste and Failure

Wednesday December 19th, 2012   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 9:46am PST   •  

University of California bosses have suspended the new logo that had drawn so much ridicule, and deservedly so. Indeed, the slick new design packs all the gravitas of a state lottery badge. On the other hand, the new logo does symbolize what the University of California has become, a bloated, wasteful state institution.

As one report noted, the new logo was the product of an in-house University of California design team of 11 employees working over several months. UC bosses provided no cost figures, even though the old logo shows an open book and says “Let there be light.”

During California’s ongoing budget crisis UC bosses have hiked tuition 75 percent, cut degree programs, lobbied for tax increases, and bulked up on bureaucracy. UC San Diego eliminated master’s degrees in electrical and computer engineering and comparative literature, along with courses in French, German, Spanish, and English literature. But as Heather MacDonald noted, UCSD created a new “vice-chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion,” even though the campus already has a Chancellor’s Diversity Office, associate vice chancellor for faculty equity, assistant vice chancellor for diversity, faculty equity advisors, graduate diversity coordinators, staff diversity liaison, undergraduate student diversity liaison, graduate student diversity liaison, chief diversity officer, director of development for diversity initiatives, and half a dozen similar useless offices.

New UCSD vice-chancellor Linda Greene will be paid $250,000 a year, more than the $200,000 of UC Berkeley vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion Gibor Basri, whose staff has increased from 17 to 24 in the last year. So no surprise that it took 11 well paid UC staffers several month to manufacture a logo any computer-savvy teenager could have crafted in one morning. It’s all part of the waste inherent in the bureaucratic UC system.

Logo critic Doug Elmets says that “a strong logo design can certainly help a failing product.” The argument of new logo supporter Julia Reinhard Lupton, English professor at UC Irvine, suggests that the University of California is indeed slipping:

“The mark and the sophisticated graphic identity system that houses it can continue to evolve, while we use this occasion of brand resistance to learn more about the power of graphic design to connect people, even negatively.”

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December 2012