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Change in Visual – Branding or Betterment?

Posted on 05 September 2009 by .


Old UW Logo


New UW Logo

8,997 people had signed up the Facebook group “Students and Alumni Against the New University of Waterloo Logo” until Sunday afternoon on August 30th to protest the change in University of Waterloo’s visual image. The task force assigned to design the new image defines University of Waterloo as an institution which is innovative, collaborative, connected, creative, risk-taking, courageous, critical-thinking, and unconventional. The university administration insists that it had meant to involve students, however the logo was released by a co-op student on the Internet months before its unveiling. This leaves students fuming, who believe that it would have been “lip service” afterwards to involve them.  There is also speculation about $85,000 paid to the graphic designer who designed the new visual for the University of Waterloo.

University of Waterloo’s Vice President External Affairs Meg Beckel made a statement:

“We now have the story that has been generated by the prototype of a symbol that could anchor our visual identity system. It has fuelled debate and discussion and those discussions have again reinforced the attributes of our institution.

It is about standing out in a crowd and being a leader. It is about being distinct, unconventional, bold and daring when compared to other universities in Canada. Personal taste aside, the visual identity system must convey our story and strengthen our positioning so that we can achieve our Sixth Decade goals and get people asking “What is happening at Waterloo and can I be part of it?”

In the coming weeks we will seek online feedback from stakeholders interested in participating in our identity project. The feedback generated and ongoing face-to-face discussions across campus, will guide our final decision making.

Author: Rahul Mehta

What You said about the Logo

Here are some of the comments about the University of Waterloo’s handling of the situation and the logo itself:

What disturbs me somewhat is putting unnecessary focus on branding, something more befitting of a commercial product-oriented establishment (Sears, GE, …etc.) rather than an institution of higher learning such as UW.

–   Engineering Professor

This logo will definitely do the job of setting this university apart from the rest –in a bad way. The logo is everything Waterloo is not: tasteless, colorless and so not high-tech. The bar is just too high at this university for something like this. Not this logo; not from Waterloo.

–   AbdulRahman Ali

We spent $85 000 on this logo?! I thought she said we spent half of that! Either CTV got their facts mixed up (plausible) or Meg was lying through her teeth (also plausible)!

–  Nahir Khan

Only student president was notified and that’s it. I asked her if the logo is right for the institution, she said absolutely it represents every faculty with its own colour and it’s more unique…..

So there you have it folks. I don’t know what else to say but I made huge mistake coming to this school. We have money to blow for the most stupid design, but if I pay my tuition one day late I get charged 50 dollars.

Priceless I just saw the CTV news. 85 grand, lol hahaha…I want to talk to the person who designed it and ask him honestly how long it took him..I bet you guys that guy was on some kind of hallucinogen when he designed this. lol…..85K where is this money coming from?…There is no equipments in our labs but we have 85 thousand dollars to get this piece of S#$$%#@ logo…WOW…Someone needs to be fired….

–  S.K. Amon

As a Waterloo student, I don’t care what our logo looks like. And since those 8000 petitioners make up roughly a third of our student population, I’ll assume I have the support of a two-thirds silent majority.


I’m a UW student and I agree that the logo is horrible. And its not just the disgusting-ness of the logo we are protesting. It’s partly the fact that a major re-branding effort did not include a representative sample of the stakeholders, quite obviously, since we nearly all hate it.  This logo is also upsetting because its just one more little thing in a long series of events where the university has failed to listen to us (See: Dubai, beavers, frosh week, exam schedules, etc.) and its starting to push us over the edge.

–  Dan

I hate it….what’s wrong with the old one??

Yousra Fayed

Whoever was responsible for coming up with this shit forgot to do it and made it on Paint the morning it was due

Ahmed Rashid

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