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It seems that the new logo for Lancaster University, unveiled a week ago, has divided opinion amongst students. The old logo, based on the architecture of the Chaplaincy Centre at the university seems to be the preferred candidate at the moment, but that could be simply because it’s recognisable and the new unveiling is unfamiliar and a little jarring at first sight.
It has to be said, the new logo looks a little like a face, with the red roses making up the eyes, the griffin the brow, and the open book the mouth. At least the old logo couldn’t be confused with anything, except perhaps – as certain people have pointed out on social media – the logo for gaming company Atari. The University has said, however, that some prospective students thought that it looked too corporate, perhaps like the logo of a bank rather than a higher education institution. The main consternation amongst current students with the new branding seems to be whether it was at all necessary and also how much it cost. It has also been stated by the University that the revision did not cost the earth and they have used “branding which exists already, so design costs have been minimal.” The revised logo is being put in place to coincide with Lancaster’s 50th anniversary, and this has lead some commentators to ask, as we are now an “established” university, are we striving to look like other well-known, top-ten universities?
Apparently the original design mooted in the logo change involved the quartering of various emblems, but upon realising that this was the traditional shield of two houses getting married (and clearly the University is not taking part in a merger), this idea was ditched in favour of the new design. The symbolism of the new one is fairly clear, the red roses being the emblem of the House of Lancaster, a book being a fairly standard symbol of learning and the lion… well that just looks respectable and olde worlde. In mythology lions are ancient symbols of valour, strength and bravery. If you really wanted to know, the lion at the top of the new logo is a lion ‘passant’, meaning it’s fore paw is raised off the ground in a state of walking. Someday that useless piece of information might help you win a pub quiz. There has been some query as to why as lion was chosen at all, what with lions generally being associated with Lonsdale college and perhaps it shows too much of a bias. Perhaps this is just students of other colleges expressing their annoyance that the Bowland Lady/Grizedale Hog/County Oak etc. didn’t end up on the new design.
Whatever the reasoning behind the new logo launch, it seems to have split opinion amongst students, with nearly three quarters preferring the old one. Personally I preferred the old one, but this is purely because I find the “face” make-up a little childish. I wasn’t particularly attached to the old “swoosh” logo, but I, like other students, find myself wondering whether I’m going to miss its modern style. It seems like the new logo has tried to seem sophisticated alongside other established universities, but it just doesn’t sit comfortably, seeming like a child’s finger painting sitting amongst the Van Goghs at the Louvre. Put it this way: it’s going to take some getting used to.