When Middlebury College decided to create a new logo, little did they know what lay in store. Apparently the administration decided that the school’s seal was antiquated and by developing a new school icon they could rally both school pride and support for a major fundraising effort. However, instead of bringing the campus together, the logo had quite the opposite effect.
Sparing no expense, the school hired the well known firm Chermayeff and Geismar, the creators of logos for NBC, Mobile and Brown University. Actually, the firm is apparently ‘famous’ and not simply ‘well known’ :)
The famous firm’s design is truly one of the uglier designs I have seen, and not surprisingly, according to this article, many students were so horrified by the leaf that it drew comparisons to the Canadian flag and the children’s book character Mr. Sneeze. Others saw marijuana imagery or the Star of David or both. One student said he was concerned that the new logo was so bad that Middlebury students would no longer be able to mock Williams College students for having a purple cow as a mascot.
In protest, students immediately rallied support by creating a Facebook group called “Just Say No to the Middlebury Logo” which quickly grew to over 800 members.
Assisted by the Facebook group – as well as lots of additional student, alumni and faculty dissent – Middlebury finally decided to pull the new design in favor of using the school crest. Michael McKenna, the College’s vice president for Communications, said he was surprised by the swift response (to pull the leaf logo in favor of the crest) and by the power of Facebook.
“I was caught off guard by the strong reaction,” he said. “Facebook was invented by some guys who lived down the hall from my son in college, and as a result I have always viewed it as student turf and not used it. But when I learned of the anti-logo group I did finally register.”