Credit: Austin Linthicum | Mustang News

After Cal Poly spent $340,000 and more than a year developing a reimagined brand for the university, students want a do-over.

Biological sciences senior Drake Murphy created a petition on to “stop the rebrand” and new logo, accumulating almost 5,000 online signatures in 24 hours.

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Video by Lauren Walike

Murphy said he started the survey due to the large amount of money spent on the logo and because Cal Poly students or alumni did not design it, despite the refreshed brand’s focus on “Learn by Doing.”

“It is the amount of money and the rationale behind a rebrand,” Murphy said. “The older logo was kind of complex. It showed the academic diversity that we have here at Cal Poly … it is not just a hammer and a quill.” 

Murphy said he has been blown away by the response to the survey so far.

Software engineering alumnus Ryan Sundberg said he too was upset about the new look of the logo and commented on the petition.

“The [old] coat of arms is a classic look and represents all areas of the polytechnic university well,” Sundberg wrote. “The new one looks like a soviet badge without any academic inspiration.”

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

Another commenter on the petition was disgruntled by how the funds were allocated.

”It’s yet another blatant example of an administration completely tone deaf to the needs of students,” computer science senior Josie Chamness wrote. “Instead of improving campus dining, removing fences, or solving other simple problems, school administrators ostensibly spent $340,000 on a new logo that could have been designed by students for free.”

Business administration sophomore Macie Manion said she also prefers the old logo compared to the new one.

“It is hard to pick a side when people are so passionate on both, because I know the team who did the rebranding put a lot of work into it, but on the other hand there is not a lot of transparency between students and what this rebranding even is,” Manion said.  

The new institutional brand is rooted in research, with 40 focus groups, thousands of surveys and extensive creative testing, according to University Marketing Senior Storyteller Robyn Kontra Tanner.

“If I recall correctly, there wasn’t even an option apart from the free response sections to say we thought the current logo was fine and could stay,” Soares said.

University Spokesperson Matt Lazier said anytime there is a change, they expect some people will be opposed.

“The university is proud of the work that has gone into this branding initiative and proud of the results,” Lazier wrote in an email to Mustang News.

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