Archive for Friday, May 20, 2005

Logos raise initial furor

KU to post comments on designs online

May 20, 2005


At least one of Kansas University's proposed logos is getting a "Hill" of a reaction.

"The Hill," the laciest of KU's four proposed logo designs, has elicited a powerful reaction among university supporters - pro and con - since being unveiled earlier this week.

"'The Hill' is generating the most comment, positive and negative," said David Johnston, KU's director of marketing

Supporters see Mount Oread in "The Hill's" white spaces, Johnston said - or a Jayhawk beak.

"Others have said it's too frilly for KU, it's silly, it's not serious enough," he said. "So very strong opinions" have been expressed.

KU has received nearly 4,000 responses from people commenting on four logo designs, one of which will become the university's official emblem.

University officials said they planned to post some of those responses online today.

"I think we're getting lots" of responses, Johnston said. "I don't have anything to compare it to."

All four logos feature the letters "KU," but in varying fonts. The laciest of the four, known as "The Hill," seems to have sparked the most love and hate.



The new logo is part of the integrated marketing campaign under way at the university that aims to organize KU's visual identity, recruiting, public outreach and state funding efforts. The university already announced it would use royal blue and crimson for its official colors, shying from the navy blue used in some cases.

The Hill

The Hill

KU hired LandreyMorrow, a Portland, Ore., firm, to hold focus groups and gather other comments during the last few months to create the new logo, which KU officials plan to use on letterheads, business cards, research proposals, university cars, signs, athletic uniforms and everywhere else the letters "KU" appear. The firm will receive $88,900 in privately donated funds for its work.



At, many readers had choice comments about the four logos in the running to be the final choice.

"Not only could any of KU's design graduates have come up with something better, so could the current students," said "Lynne," who described herself as a 1980 graphic design graduate of the university.



Such barbs don't surprise Johnston.

"People don't respond unless they feel really strongly, one way or another," he said.

Public comments will be a big factor in determining the winning logo, Johnston said.

"It's big. It's not a vote," he said. "We're looking for any red flags: Is there anything people see in here that we hadn't considered? We haven't seen a lot of that."

Universities can get in big trouble with supporters when they tinker with their identity. Marquette University in Milwaukee was in the news this week, having earned the wrath of alumni by trying to change the school's mascot from the Golden Eagles to simply the "Gold."

"It's a cautionary tale in terms of the process," Johnston said of the Marquette experience. "I've been very pleased at how we've been able to involve stakeholders and constituents at all levels in the process. We don't have to wonder if there will be a huge backlash. They've been tested along the way."

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