Students reject new logo

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January 18, 2008

9:26 AM

When one of Tom Yake’s ’09 closest friends joined the Facebook group opposing the College’s new logo, Yake, the student representative on the logo committee, did not take the news well.

p. “I was like, ‘What are you doing?’” Yake said. He then proceeded to lock a group of his closest friends in the duty office of Yates Hall in an attempt to change their minds.

p. “I said, ‘Listen, this is why the logo is this way,’ and they were like, ‘Oh, well that makes sense,’” he said.

p. Yake, a self-described “logo enthusiast,” has been unable to sway the opinions of many of his fellow students, however, as nearly 2,300 students remain in the Facebook group “Students Against the New W&M Logo.”

p. “[The logo seems] more like word art than something professional,” Matt Beato ’09 said.

p. Beato, along with roommate Sen. Alex Kyrios ’09, created the group after seeing the new logo, and both Beato and Kyrios act as administrators for the group, along with Nick Hoelker ’09.

p. “I certainly never saw the anti-logo effort really getting this far,” Kyrios said. “I thought we would have a group that would have a few hundred people and people would be upset but they’d get over it. But the reaction has been so uniform for the most part that I really think we hit into something, because almost everyone in the group looked at it and said, ‘Well, this is awful.’”

p. In addition to disliking the logo’s amateurish appearance, Beato has a problem with the logo’s “M,” which he says looks much more like an upside-down “W.” Yake has heard this objection several times.

p. “The upside-down ‘W,’ or ‘M,’ — that was never planned,” Yake said. “That was not something that we thought was going to be a concern. In fact, we talked about it on the committee [for maybe two minutes].”

p. There are Facebook groups in favor of the new logo. “Students who actually kinda like the new logo” has 10 members. A second pro-logo group has eight members. Kyrios said that, since the same two people were in both of these groups, the logo opponents to logo supporters ratio is — at least, according to Facebook — 143.5 to one.

p. Beato and Kyrios have been accepting submissions for new logo ideas, and hope to either select one submission to present to the logo committee or perhaps have students vote. They have also started an online petition against the new logo, which has approximately 830 names on it. While they are uncertain what changes they will actually propose or will ultimately be made, they are happy to be actively pursuing an alternative solution.

p. “I think it’s good that we’re not just sitting here complaining, like, ‘Oh, I don’t like the new logo,’” Kyrios said. “We’re actually trying to propose a better alternative that I think students could really get behind, sort of a popular alternative to something very plain that’s being pushed onto us.”

p. Beato said that in a recent conversation with members of Information Technology who were designing the school’s new website, he learned that they plan to use the school’s cipher logo (the logo with the distinctive cursive letters) on the site, because their dislike of the new logo is so strong.

p. “If Information Technology is scared to use this logo on the William and Mary homepage, then that’s a bad sign,” Beato said.

p. Yake, who said he was “shocked” that student opposition to the new logo was so strong, has seen a number of the student submissions that Beato and Kyrios have received through the Facebook group. He said that many of the submissions were also received by the logo committee when they first started the process, and some of the ideas submitted had been discussed by the committee members while they were in session. He mentioned while the cipher logo and a student-submitted design of a “WM” with a phoenix – which Beato said has been very popular among student opponents – are great from a stylistic standpoint, they are too “complicated” to be a regularly-used logo.

p. While Beato and Kyrios both say that they would have like to have seen more student involvement in the decision, Yake believes that there was an adequate amount of student input. He is quick to point out that both the idea of utilizing the College’s shield (featured in one of the four new logos) and that of keeping the “W&M” characters came from student submissions.

p. As for actually changing the new logo, it may already be too late. Yake said that, while he does not know officially, he believes the process of getting the new logo out is already well under way, with merchandise potentially hitting stores as early as February. When interviewed following the logo’s unveiling at last December’s Board of Visitors meeting, Athletics Director Terry Driscoll had said that ideally the new logo would be in place all across campus by the time incoming freshmen arrive next fall. Beato is still hopeful, however.

p. “It might be too late, but I really hope it’s not,” Beato said, “because people really don’t like this logo.”

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