Archie Mitchell is a business administration senior and general manager of KCPR. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mustang News.


We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve committed to something by spending either a lot of time or money on it, and it’s turned out to be disastrous. If you buy a bad burger, you don’t eat the burger. If you buy a dress that doesn’t fit, you don’t wear it. If you pay $340,000 for a new logo and it comes out looking like the logo for an online community college, you really really don’t have to use the new logo.

In fact, the only thing worse than paying $340,000 for a logo that looks like it was downloaded from freelogodesign.org would be deciding to use it. When I saw the thing standing alone, I was miffed. What was it?  Is this really what students wanted? Then I remembered our old logo, and a tear began to form. The logo of Discere Fasciendo and 11101101101. Yes, nobody at Cal Poly speaks Latin or can read binary code, but the old logo exuded class. The atom stood across from the hay and the lettering stood tall. The green contrasted the gold and the crest showed the strength of our polytechnic institution. Our logo didn’t need “Learn by Doing” stapled on its head, and it certainly didn’t need an outside agency paid $340,000 to do it.

Cal Poly’s new and old logos. The last shield was introduced in 2015. Cal Poly | Courtesy
Cal Poly’s new and old logos. The last shield was introduced in 2015. Cal Poly | Courtesy

This new logo doesn’t embrace, but rather ignores the hands-on experience of our business students, the creative capacity of our graphic designers and the desire to give back to the Cal Poly community that burns within each and every subscriber to The Mustang Way. The thickened typeface sits dumbly beside the setting sun – not reminding us of the plethora of academic opportunities available to Cal Poly’s students, but selling us short as a university good for its access to the outdoors. The monotonous green gently encourages viewers not to waste their time devoting attention to the artwork. The entire project reeks of this administration’s lack of any real desire for student input and lack of faith in the Learn by Doing motto.

It begs the question, who thought this was a good idea and can we take a step back to think? More than 3,000 people have signed a petition calling to halt the rebrand, and I’ve yet to hear a voice in favor of it other than the booms of President Jeffrey Armstrong, whose vocabulary is limited to the terms “Go Mustangs,” “Cal Poly,” and “Learn by Doing.”

So, we are left with a choice: Go ahead with the new brand and pretend we don’t hate it, covering our tracks with administrative babble about it being some kind of step in the right direction, or swallow our pride and think about what truly reflects the experience of Cal Poly students, our logo or Simpson Scarborough’s $340,000 digital turd.

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