Few students turn out to critique new University logo

This report was written by Hatchet Reporter Anna Zandi.

Only a handful of students attended a visual identity townhall hosted Monday by the Division of External Relations.

The event served as the first public launch of the University’s new logo and marketing materials, which were privately released at last month’s Board of Trustees meeting. The University did now allow photography at the event.

The framework for GW’s new double-letter logo, which was last altered in 2002, has been developed by two marketing firms over a two-year period.

“[The visual identity campaign] is important and I think it is really going to set the tone of this institution for years to come,” University President Steven Knapp said.

Knapp explained that the decision to design a new logo stemmed from technical issues that made the current font appear grainy when transferred across the web, during a media roundtable last Friday.

“The reason why we started it all was because [the old logo] was just a disaster online,” Vice President for External Relations Lorraine Voles said. “You have to [go] with the technology, with the way people are using it, no one is printing it off the mimeograph machines anymore.”

The font of the new logo is more streamlined and without serifs – a move University officials have said is practical in the digital world as well as symbolic of GW as a bold institution. The logo will reflect the University’s buff and blue color family.

As part of the redesign, the portrait that accompanies marketing materials will be replaced with a digital portrait inspired by Jean-Antoine Houdon’s sculpture of George Washington, which stands in University Yard.

Knapp previously said the current portrait appears to be looking backward, while the new one will embody the forward-looking vision of the University. The new portrait is a sepia-toned digital rendering of George Washington’s face from below.

The sharpness of the sketch has been a concern of observers, Voles said, added that softening the image has been proposed.

But Voles said she was satisfied by observers’ generally supportive reactions and enjoyed hearing feedback about the upcoming campaign.

“People’s opinions are helpful, but also we want people to feel vested in this. We want people to feel they have a say in this,” she said.

Senior Dylan Pyne, chair of the Marvin Center Governing Board, said he was happy with the new design.

“A lot has changed in the past 10 years and I think this new logo and this new general scheme of images and texts will make our presence stronger and more pronounced both in the digital realm and the physical realm,” he said.

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