In September 2016, the University of Georgia did something big. They changed their logo for the first time in twenty years. And people are having a lot of feelings about it.
What’s the big deal? On a simple level the logo still has the same colors and our iconic Arch. But at a closer examination, there are some very big changes.
- UGA dropped the “The”. UGA states the reasoning on their official logo webpage as, “There was tremendous inconsistency across campus, at the school and unit level, for the use of ‘The,’ so we knew we needed to take a stand to obtain consistency. We looked at the university’s charter and found that it did not provide a precedent for the capital ‘T’ — ‘The’.” Huh. Guess I have to go change my resume now…
- The Arch is simplified. UGA recognized that besides the bulldog, the arch is the most iconic symbol associated with the school. Keeping it but simplifying it to make it bolder is an obvious tactic to adapt to the digital era that is upon us. The cleaner cut of it helps it stand out better online and makes it easily transferable to different mediums.
- A Different Red. Though UGA does not specifically address this color change, it certainly goes along with their “embracing the digital shift” ideology. The deeper color is bolder, helping it stand out better, and a little easier on the eyes. Were it a brighter red, it might have been a little painful to stare at.
The whole idea around this big change is about reinforcing UGA’s image with it’s digital presence, as well as attempting to unify the different divisions within the university. As of just this August, there were countless variations of logos meant to represent the University of Georgia on one level or another:
Yes, it’s messy. And yes, there’s not a single thing that every one of these logos have in common. Seriously. Try and find one thing. Some only use the color black, some don’t use the color black at all. The Arch is prevalent for most but not even in the same design. It’s a marketing nightmare if you’re trying to prove how consistent and well-connected the school is with its different divisions and organizations.
But will this new logo help the consistency of the brand? Although UGA listed consistency as one of its goals, I severely doubt anything will change unless the school requires and enforces every organization use this new logo. It is simply too costly to expect each and every one of these organizations to completely restructure their logos to incorporate this new arch and shield image. Not only that, but every flyer, poster, t-shirt, and pen with an older logo would become obsolete, making everyone have to spend even more money to produce the new versions.
Let’s consider one other motive behind this big change. This logo is being strategically unveiled at the start of new football season, as well as right before publicly launching a fundraising campaign this fall. According to Online Athens, the money spent on this new visual identity (which was paid for through private donations only) is viewed as an investment in the capital campaign, expecting to raise over $1 billion (yes, that’s BILLION with a B). Hopefully some of that money will go towards the smaller organizations within UGA that might not necessarily be able to afford shifting to this new image otherwise.
But love it or hate it, this new logo is here to stay.