Putting the Cats Before the Horse

My M.A. institution has spent $80K for a new logotype/brand identity, The old one incorporated the silhouette of campus landmark Memorial Hall (where I saw Sonny Rollins in 1984, while I was a student at another college a few blocks away):

Old UK Logo

The new one, meanwhile, looks like this:

New UK logo

The old logo admittedly looked a little dated, particularly the typeface of the K in the logogram. However, the new one? Well, I think this is significant:

The new logo resembles the interlocked U and K used by UK Athletics, and would be used by faculty, administration, colleges and departments on their letterheads, in emails and in other instances of using the UK brand.

[…] Nike created the interlocking U and K,  [the branding company’s Chief Creative Officer David] Coomer said, but said the logo is more than just a design, it is a way to unify three important parts of campus: HealthCare [sic], athletics and academia.

[…] The interlocking U and K strongly resembles that current athletics logo, which Coomer said can act as a recognizable and timeless symbol of the university as a whole.

Now, I often hear that athletics are “the front porch” of the institution for colleges and universities. Still, I find it both disconcerting and sadly appropriate that UK has chosen to represent itself not with a lovely and historic academic building, but with a logo from Nike. (And I have no doubt that University Diaries will have an “I told you so” response as well.)

Of course, I needn’t have looked that far. Even here at Mondoville, we have two logos — one athletic, one traditional. Guess which one is on our web page? Here’s a hint: It’s our virtual front porch.

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About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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2 Responses to Putting the Cats Before the Horse

  1. One more example of the tail wagging the dog. Although in higher ed, it’s getting increasingly difficult to tell which is tail and which is dog.

  2. Jeff S. says:

    The lovely old logo asks that you look at it for a moment to appreciate what it is. The new logo obviates thought.

    The $80,000 price tag can’t possibly include the full cost of the new logo: new signs, large and small, all around campus; new envelopes and letterhead; lawyers and sales reps to negotiate new deals with apparel companies and other licensees…just one more thing to keep in mind when everyone wonders why college costs so much.

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