Students adjust to logo
By Zoey Duncan
Mount Royal University finally has a sharp new logo to stamp on all correspondence and propaganda. Whether you like the new insignia is beside the point now, because you had plenty of time to give your input. In fact, about 1,600 people – over 70 per cent of whom were students – gave their opinions at some point throughout the design process. That’s 56 per cent more than voted in the Students’ Association elections last month, by the way.
The logo design process began in July 2009, according to Lucille Gnanasihamany, the direct of marketing for MRU external relations. The design firm, Toronto-based Cundari, came to the school to do research, which included photographing the campus and interviews with deans, executive members, students and university archivist Pat Roome.
Over 500 students and faculty members were asked their opinions on logos of various institutions.
“[Students did] not just respond, but also provided some really constructive feedback,” Gnanasihamany said. “I was pretty impressed at the level of engagement and care, and just effort that students put in.”
An earlier version of the final emblem was on the four-logo shortlist that was presented to the campus community in January; it was very similar, but lacked the year of foundation and featured a different typeface. Since the logo was unveiled on Feb. 22, I have heard many opinions, both muttered and exclaimed in the hallways and classrooms of the university, and veiled by the anonymity of the Internet.
A few of the 32 comments on a Calgary Herald article claimed that the logo was a “rip-off” of the logo for the Royal Canadian Mint, Petro Canada, or any other logo that featured a partial maple leaf. Another anonymous commenter said it was “unoriginal and uninspired,” while someone else rebutted that such a claim means that all of the people who gave their input must be labelled the same way. Many of those commenting were apparently offended by Mount Royal’s transition into a university; one detractor wrote, “sorry to break it to you, but scratching out the word ‘college’ and scribbling in ‘university 1910’ does not necessarily make it so.”
On campus, students have mixed reviews.
“I don’t like it. I do and I don’t,” said undecided ecotourism student Eric Mullens. “It’s strong, but it’s too harsh. Honestly, I think there are too many points, and points make people uncomfortable.” Mullens said he preferred the old logo that featured a “blue guy” holding a book.
“He had better ch’i,” Mullens said, referring to the Chinese concept of flowing energy and vitality.
Business student Mayada Abdullah said she thought it was nice and simple but plain.
“I think they should have done something more complex. The University [of Calgary] has a really nice one,” she said. U of C’s logo is a red and gold shield featuring books, a flag, a rose, and a buffalo and underscored by their Gaelic motto.
Raymond San Agustin, a nursing student, has a casual but passionate interest in graphic design, and called the logo “classic” and “prestigious.”
“It’s a smart logo,” he said. “I didn’t like the old one; it looked childish and mediocre.”
San Agustin said that this logo would better represent Mount Royal as a respected institution in a city where it has too long been regarded as a runner-up to the university across town.
Officially, the logo symbolizes open books and therefore education and learning. Those same shapes also represent open doors, and the physical structure of the school. The overall maple leaf-like shape is a reference to the goal of being Canada’s premier undergraduate university based on student satisfaction, and the shades of blue are simply an update on the traditional school colour.
So what does this logo mean to you? Perhaps a trinity of open laptops, a triad of tulips, a trio of downward-facing arrows, a rising sun, or, as a friend so eloquently put it, “a triumvirate of tower shields. Mount Royal: Resisting besieging barbarians since 1910.”