A New Sun-kissed Visual Identity for the University of California

November 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

It’s great that despite losing millions of dollars in state funding, the University of California has decided to prioritise graphic design and brand marketing, and introduce a new visual strategy designed by an in-house team. In a global recession advertising is typically the first thing to go yet in 2010 an earlier re-brand concept won over past-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, personal hero and led to a $848 million replacement in University funding.

The new branding took the existing seal – an open book featuring the dictum ‘let there be light’ – and used it to create a new monogram that can function as the new logo, a pattern, a contour and a framing device for imagery. The flexibility of the monogram is its real success. It can be used in many ways, is scalable and suitable for any media. It’s a new contemporary direction for the University that embraces youth and social, and breaks away from the more traditional previous brand. Very cool video below too if you have a spare minute!

Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan, writing for the Fast Company summarises the endeavour nicely: ‘UC, and higher education in general, is in a crisis that far eclipses the scope of branding. But as universities are forced to depend more heavily on fundraising and development, how they present themselves to the public is becoming increasingly important.

Update: There has been huge resistance to the new branding with over 50,000 people signing a petition against its use. The Creative Review did a great synopsis of the reaction here.

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