Established in 1878 in London, Ontario Canada, The University of Western Ontario is one of the largest universities in Canada with over 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students combined and more than 1,300 faculty. Last week they announced a change to their brand name, to Western University, and introduced a new identity designed by Toronto-based Hahn Smith Design and execution of the crest and typography by local type craftsman Ian Brignell.
Chief among the changes will be the adoption of Western University as the institution’s widely used moniker. The university’s official name remains The University of Western Ontario, and will continue to appear as such on diplomas and official documents. But for communication, marketing and web purposes, Western University — or, at times, simply Western — will be the name. […]
Goldthorp admitted the end design is not revolutionary, in fact, it could be considered downright traditional. “People might say, ‘That’s not so radical.’ And my answer is, ‘Absolutely not.’ It is not supposed to be radical; it is supposed to be coming back where you started and knowing yourself much better.”
— Press Release
It baffles me that the old logo was actually the logo of a large and respected university. Whoever filtered that tower in Photoshop should have their graphic designing license revoked — or at least their Adobe serial number canceled. So pretty much anything would have been an improvement. And the new logo is. In a boring, institutional, traditional, coat-of-arms way. I mean, universities are consistently redesigning their way out of shield logos into more contemporary ideas, not adopting them in the second decade of the twenty-first century. As the quote says above, this isn’t radical and the intention was clearly to signal tradition and history, and the shield and typography are finely executed but there is nothing here we haven’t seen in the last 50 or 75 years of higher education identity design. The redesign is so ho-hum that I wasn’t considering posting it at all, but when I get upwards of 15 or 20 tips for any identity I do feel obliged to post for those somehow invested or related… Sorry, folks, ya’ll deserved a more interesting identity.