Emerson College is not liking their new logo

Steve’s breakdown: Well, everyone hates it except their president. This is what happens when a college hires an agency that only has collages as clients. You get crap!

Someone go in there and save the day.

BOSTON, MA: Emerson College president Lee Pelton on Saturday responded to criticism from students about a new logo that the liberal arts school could adopt as early as the fall.

Students and alumni last week had poked fun at the proposed emblem, a lowercase “e” with an extended Nike-like swoosh, by likening it to a pig’s swirly tail and a symbol for cancer awareness.

“I had one thought: WHOOOPPSSSSSSSS,” one student told the Globe in an e-mail last week.

But in a letter to the Emerson community, Pelton asked students to stay open-minded about the proposed change, and said that the knee-jerk reactions to the logo, which represents a small part of a much larger “graphic identity” change, are misguided.

“There are as many variations of the concept for Emerson’s graphic identity as there are possible uses of it,” he said in an e-mail to students and staff.

Emerson tapped Ohio-based branding and marketing firm Ologie to create several conceptual designs before the new logo and “college narrative” were presented to the school community last Tuesday.

Pelton said that people’s perceptions of the logo were skewed, and based on a single image taken by a student who attended the slideshow presentation at the school’s Bordy Theatre.

The photograph, which showed a purple “e” that looked like it was drawn using a crayon, was shared widely online, and became the focus of a blistering opinion piece penned by staff of the Berkeley Beacon, the school’s independent student newspaper.

The photo also sparked a campus-wide petition on Change.org that was sent to Pelton, asking the school “not to use this new logo.”

“If this image were all that I had seen, I would have happily signed the petition myself,’’ Pelton said in his letter. “However, I’ve seen more than this fuzzy little thing. I’ve seen the robust vibrant possibilities of the proposed logo and I have a different perspective.’’

The logo would not always be purple, as shown in the photograph online, and would be used in various forms for posters, stationary, and on social media.

Pelton placed blame on the Berkeley Beacon staff for providing the public with misinformation about the administration’s overall presentation.

“The disconnect between what transpired in that meeting (and other prior meetings where the visual identity project received strong support) and what has transpired online is an example of what happens when incomplete information is disseminated in a way that distorts and prevents intelligent people from developing informed decisions, opinions, or perspective,” he said. “We need to look no farther than our Presidential primaries to see this kind of disconnection in action.”

Despite his harsh rebuttal, Pelton remained optimistic about the new logo, and urged staff, students, and graduates to do the same.

“Let’s at least give our community a chance to see the visual identity in the fullness of its display(s) and uses rather than a fuzzy little squiggly image of an image of an image projected on a screen,” he said. “I trust our community to approach the project with creativity and intelligence. We are smart people and I trust us to engage meaningfully in this project in ways that will improve what has already been done.”


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