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Lancaster University has officially adopted a new university logo, replacing the traditional chaplaincy centre based logo which had been in place since 1985. The new logo is a key part of a rebranding of the University in conjunction with the 50th anniversary celebrations taking place in 2014.
An online poll by SCAN following the unveiling of the new logo revealed dissatisfaction from current students towards the new logo compared with the old “swoosh” design. Stuart Franklin, Director of Communications and Marketing, told SCAN that despite the loyalty of current students towards the old design, numerous consultations with prospective students, and current staff and students, were largely in favour of adopting a new “shield” logo.
“Whatever you do some people are going to hate it, but we want them to understand the reasons behind the change and this was not something done lightly. We looked into it a lot with prospective students and then in April set up focus groups here, so heard the opinions of at least a hundred students. Unsurprisingly they showed a stronger favour of the swoosh than the other samples. They clearly had a loyalty to the University but once we explained to people the reasoning behind the change, they understood it and were happy.”
The SCAN poll at the end of August resulted in 71% of voters favouring the old “swoosh” logo. Over a thousand current students registered their votes, with many commenting to explain their reasoning.
Some suggested that the new shield design was less unique and clearly linked to the University, and others felt that the opinions of themselves and other students had not been recognised enough. There was, however, support for the new design, with some stating that the shield design was more reflective of a high class institution than the previous logo.
Franklin stated that the University’s previous marketing and branding did not reflect the true nature of the University. “This is a very good university, looking at the metrics and league tables, but from research we felt that it wasn’t widely perceived to be that good.
“We felt that the University really wasn’t selling its strengths. It was pretty weak marketing; the biggest selling point often seemed to be the halls of residence which just isn’t right.
“We did a series of focus groups with year 13s. We tried out on them what people might think are the best aspects of the university. We found five key things which impressed people about Lancaster and we want to heighten these aspects; its high position in league tables, employability, impressive results in the National Student Survey, international study and the colleges.”
Franklin also suggested that there had been some misinformation regarding the creation of the logo. “It wasn’t an expensive thing. There have been big changes to the marketing team but it is still very small. It’s half the size of the one when I worked at Exeter University.
“We’ve all been speaking to people pretty much endlessly. Short of a popular, referendum style vote we’ve done everything to gauge opinion and have constantly been in close contact with the University and students. We can’t talk to everyone but used an objective group to get the design.
“In fact some people dug out the comments made when they changed the design in the 80’s and people were largely negative about the ‘swoosh’.”