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New UC logo: Marketing blunder? Or is storm of criticism overblown?

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“New UC logo is an abomination,” wrote one Twitter-user, according to the Times. “Back to the drawing board.” Another tweeted, “Whoever signed off on this UC logo should be forced to have it tattooed on their forehead for life.”

“It is everything our school is against,” wrote Berkeley’s Sheila Lam on the petition, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “Might as well have slapped a McDonald’s ‘M’ on top of it. It looks so corporate and it looks cheap.

It is the lack of a clear meaning for the redesigned logo that bothers some communications experts.

“This is kind of a classic branding screw-up where people who are designing it don’t understand the web environment that they are moving into,” says Mark Tatge, a communications professor at DePauw University in Indiana. “What are they trying to say? It doesn’t do any good if people don’t know what it means.”

He says it is legendary in the ad business to list off the number of cars that have failed to succeed in foreign countries because the model name meant something else in the language.

“This is just like ignoring what the symbol might mean in another context,” says Tatge.

UC officials counter that they trying to be cutting edge instead of stodgy to be attractive to students.

“We want to convey that this is an iconic place that makes a difference to California and that there is a UC system,” the UC system’s director of marketing communication, Jason Simon, told the L.A. Times.

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