UNH Logo search one of many recent rebranding debacles

By Grant Bosse on May 28, 2013
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(DURHAM,NH) The University of New Hampshire’s rebranding rollout flopped last week, as three potential logo designs and the $100,000 price tag met with widespread criticism. The school hired the New York firm of Chermayeff & Geismer & Haviv for between $91,400 to $108,200 to design a new logo as part of a broader marketing effort. The three proposed designs made public last week were widely ridiculed, but UNH is hardly alone in receiving a backlash from a botched logo redesign.

University of California Logos, courtesy LA Times.

University of California Logos, courtesy LA Times.

In December, the University of California dropped a controversial logo meant to update the statewide system’s century-old seal. The new logo had been in use just six months, but hadn’t been widely seen by the public until a December story in the Oakland Tribune It quickly generated an overwhelmingly negative response, prompting an online petition that garnered 50,000 signatures. The Administration discontinued use of the new logo the next week. Unlike UNH, the University of California designed their new “identity” in house.

In 2010, clothing store The Gap ditched its iconic Blue Square logo for a more modern typeface, angering loyal customers. Gap went back to its traditional logo in less than a month. In 2009, Tropicana Orange Juice tried to modernize its cartons, replacing the famous Orange and Straw logo with a generic glass. The move was part of a company-wide logo update at PepsiCo. The redesign cost a reported $35 million before Tropicana reverted to its old logo.

Last week, UNH President Mark Huddleston responded to the wave of anger and mockery at the proposed logos by delaying his deadline for picking a new logo and forming an advisory panel to solicit and review design ideas.

(Disclosure: The author founded Wildcat Logo Search on Facebook in an effort to crowd-source a better UNH logo for free.)

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  1. What’s the Big Deal about a Logo? | Buzz on a Budget

    […] any marketer, rebranding is fraught with peril. The Great UNH Logo Debacle of 2013 is just the latest in a long line of rebranding efforts gone horribly wrong.  There was the Gap […]

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