June 23rd: Updated again!
This weekend I received a copy of the Memorial University of Newfoundland's latest Alumni e-newsletter, Luminus Express, and it contains a link to information about MUN's new logo.
I've previously expressed disappointment about the university's choice for a new logo, which I still hold, even after correspondence with the university's Marketing & Communications staff. I posted about this issue before, but I would like to re-state and expand upon my opinions.
For those of you who aren't aware of the issue, the Memorial University of Newfoundland has created a new logo, in which the university is represented simply as "Memorial University" - no location.
I believe the logo should continue to contain "of Newfoundland", like in the edited image below.
Not only was the university named in memory of Newfoundland’s WWI and WWII veterans, but it is the location of the university - an important fact. Although the legal name of the university has not changed, and the crest and full name will still be used for ceremonial purposes, I think it is unwise to use a logo without the words “of Newfoundland” in it. There are many reasons for this:
Many people (including members of the university’s Alumni) are strongly against a name change, and although the legal name has not changed, this new logo seems like a back-end way around the controversy.
The opinion has been raised that adding “of Newfoundland” to the logo would make it more confusing. I wholeheartedly disagree, and I believe that leaving out the location will in fact cause confusion. Newfoundlanders all know where “Memorial University” is, but most people from other parts of the country, and certainly internationally, will have no idea where "Memorial University" is when they see the logo on a sweatshirt, backpack, or in any other situation when additional text and photos are not present. The inevitable question will be “Where is that?”.
Many universities in small areas use the location in their logo (or use an acronym in their logo, like UNB). As an aside, I imagine that far fewer people would have a problem with a "MUN" logo for the university, as opposed to this “Memorial University” logo.
Contrary to the university's claim that "there is no other Memorial University", a quick Google/Yahoo search brings up several, which again presents a problem for distinguishing the university using a logo with the name “Memorial University”. This logo does not set MUN apart from other universities; in fact, it will create confusion.
- Florida Memorial University
- Lincoln Memorial University
- The Hubert Kairuki Memorial University
- Roma Memorial University
- Memorial Health University
While I understand the desire to have a short, simple, and easy to reproduce logo, I do not believe that the addition of the location to the university’s logo would be counter to these goals, although I admit that it would make the logo slightly longer/larger. To be blunt, and perhaps it is just my opinion, but “Memorial University” sounds bland and non-descriptive. Brock and Dalhousie, while they are not the official names of the university, are more distinctive names, and less likely to be confused with other universities and locations. And while people refer to the university as “MUN” and “Memorial” in conversation, when they are speaking with someone who they think will not have heard of the university, they usually mention the location; either “Memorial University of Newfoundland”, or something along the lines of “Memorial University, it’s in the province of Newfoundland, Canada” or “MUN, in Newfoundland”.
A sense of home and community is very important to Newfoundlanders. While the campaign’s incorporation of local places, people, uniqueness and strengths is to be commended, it just feels wrong not to use Newfoundland in the logo. Perhaps my emotions are too involved, but I believe that others feel the same way. I still wear my MUN sweatshirt with pride; with much more pride, in fact, than I wear my UNB shirts. That's because Newfoundland is in my blood, and my four years at MUN were an amazing experience. We Newfoundlanders are proud of our home, and we like for others to know where we are from; more so, it seems, than people from most other provinces. Although I am sure it was not the intention of the university decision makers, removing “of Newfoundland” from the logo seems to be disregarding the importance of our heritage in all things we do, and I do not foresee the same pride in a logo that simply says “Memorial University”.
A logo is a device to tell part of a story, but our location is the essential first sentence of our tale. In fact, our location is often the element that piques people to ask more – I’m sure every Newfoundlander has mentioned Newfoundland to people from other parts of Canada and the world, and received the response “Oh, I’d love to visit there someday!”, which leads to a conversation about the province. The university’s marketing campaign will elaborate on the message in the logo, but this does not mean that Newfoundland should not be included in the logo. There is much more to our story than our location, which the campaign will illustrate.
They must have realized that this issue would be divisive, so why remove Newfoundland from the logo? I realize that the question of Labrador has been raised, but the university’s legal name remains “Memorial University of Newfoundland”, so it seems that there is no need to create a logo which “avoids the geographic reference which no longer matches that of the province.”
From what I understand, the representation and name of the university has been a controversial issue for some time, and it seems that there is more to lose in removing those words from the logo than in keeping them. To rephrase and make my meaning more clear: it seems that more people will be upset with Newfoundland removed from the logo, than the number that would be upset if Newfoundland remains in the logo.
It would not ruin the new logo to include "of Newfoundland" in small grey letters at the bottom. I believe this looks better than simply “Memorial University”, and I am confident that it would make more alumni, students, and Newfoundlanders in general, happy about the marketing of their university.
I like the new video, but personally, I would not purchase university products that did not say either Newfoundland or MUN, and I am extremely disappointed that the university has approved a logo that does not include our Island’s name - our heritage.
If you would like to voice your opinion about the new logo, you can email the university's marketing and communications group at email@example.com, and the university president Axel Meisen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: other bloggers have also suggested emailing your opinions to Alumni Affairs at email@example.com
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Update: Many other NL bloggers have commented on this issue. Read their thoughts, and join the discussion!
john-galt83: Been a while...
metal-tiara: So, convocation has (be)come and gone
Curo: the new MUN logo
Cove Blogger: MUN Name Change Redux
Townie Bastard: Embarrassed to be in Newfoundland
Cove Blogger: Memorial University
Owen's Mom: MUN Loses its Character
Sure B'y: MUN Branding
vickeyth: MU like a cow
Townie Bastard: (Subliminal) Truth in advertising...
Townie Bastard: More MUN, then a break
Liam O'Brien: "They Just Love Irony": Fun with Logos at Memorial...
damian: Memorial University
rexton: Open letter to MU(N)
rexton: They should add rather than take away
vickeyth: The sound of silence (or nothingness) - more MU
Townie Bastard: Petition
Sure B'y: MUN crest symbolism
Sure B'y: Of MUN visits and logos
Owen's Mom: MUN update
metal_tiara: I know that many people have...
metal_tiara: I don't have any sophisticated image editing program, but here is a first run! (T-shirt idea)
john_galt83: Memorial University (of nothing and no one)
Cove Blogger: MUN Name Change 3.0
rj:product: MUN Remembers Beaumont Hamel
erlking: Memorial University of Newfoundland's new logo...
s55ael: I like it!!!
Townie Bastard: You know what will happen, right?
Laurie: The new logo
john_galt83: MU(N), again
Simon: MUN to Memorial Re-Branding
Townie Bastard: Flickr Update & MUN Update
erlking: So I sent an email...
erlking: I am so angry
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Sure B'y mentioned a link to MUN's explanation of the symbolism of the university's crest/coat of arms
Townie Bastard mentioned a CBC article about the issue: New Memorial Logo Drops 'Newfoundland'
Owen's Mom mentioned a 2002 letter to the editor of the MUN Gazette, in which Dr. June Harris explains her opposition to changing the legal name of the university
The Muse: Memorial re-brands
The Muse (editorial): So dark the con of MUN
This is a Hot Topic for discussion over at Newfoundlanders Abroad.
Technorati tags: Newfoundland, MUN, Memorial University of Newfoundland, logo, St. John's, Canada