October 28, 2004

University Unveils New Logo

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After more than a year of preparation and buildup, the administration released the new University logo today.

The new logo is a replacement for the much-disparaged “Big Red Box,” oft compared to the brand for JC Penney.

“I think [the logo] will allow the University to begin to unify its presence across the board to the outside world … to project the sense of itself it wanted. It hasn’t been able to do that as long as it’s been confined to the Red Box,” said Tommy Bruce, vice president for communications and media relations, who headed up the project.

“The goal of the new visual identity program is to reinstate the emblem of the University, so that it can be used elegantly in everyday life,” he added.

The impetus for the re-evaluation of the logo came largely from the Image Committee of the Student Assembly, led by Peter S. Cohl ’05. That drive played “a crucial role in focusing the campus on what it wants,” according to Bruce.

“This represents a tremendous improvement over the Big Red Box. In honor of the lunar eclipse, I want to say that this is a giant leap for Cornell in marketing. If the Red Sox win tonight, the convergence of the lunar eclipse, the Red Sox winning, and the return to Cornell Red is significant,” Cohl said.

One important result from the release of the logo is the use of Cornell University’s full name, as opposed to simply “Cornell.”

“Cornell University is a community of extensive institutions. … Just using Cornell captures just the name. … Using ‘University’ elevates and creates a context in which each of these institutions exist. The community is more than the sum of its parts,” Bruce said.

He added that the addition was partly in response to concerns that the Big Red Box was geared toward the corporate.

Cohl agreed that new logo “certainly makes Cornell look a lot less corporate.”

There has been some confusion about the logo itself, according to Simeon Moss ’73, deputy director of Cornell News Service.

“The logo is the insignia plus the Cornell University logo-type,” he said.

The new logo comes in multiple levels of detail. Use is determined by the medium in which it is presented as well as the resolution and space available. If the logo as it is were simply shrunk down it would look, as Moss said, “like a swatted fly.”

“This logo is both efficient and cost-effective. Anybody can use it and achieve good results. No special equipment is necessary,” Bruce said.

The new logo comes at a time when the University has fallen to last place among Ivy League schools in multiple rankings, including the U.S. News and World Report’s yearly release.

“Now that this and the first stage of the website are done, we can start building the real strategies that are going to use this and other tools to raise Cornell’s profile in the rest of the world,” Bruce said.

Archived article by Freda Ready
Sun Managing Editor