A second cut at a new UC logo

Not hard to improve on, but maybe it’s a start.

No one is ever going to confuse me with a graphic designer, even in very dim light. But starting with Mike’s suggestion of a Fresnel pattern to pun on “Let There Be Light” and switching to a Moire, I came up with this. No, it doesn’t say “University of California.” It doesn’t have to, because we’re the farking University of California, and if we make this our logo people will recognize it.



Of course anyone with superior skills and tools – that is to say, nearly anyone – could easily do better. This thing is too dark and too contrasty. But I claim that this does, as the other thing does not, look as if it might be the logo of someplace whose logo you’d care about.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

23 thoughts on “A second cut at a new UC logo”

  1. An androgynous, brainiac surfer, reading a book while hanging ten inside a perfectly curling “C” wave, man.

    There’s gotta be a surfer inside the “C”!

  2. Crop a third off all four sides and render it in campus colors, and I think this has legs

    1. Why crop it? I’m not disagreeing, just asking.

      Do we really want this in color rather than what seems to me the more elegant b&w, which is also easily adaptable across media and cheap to make letterhead out of?

      A volunteer to work on this?

  3. I think I saw that poster on a collectibles site. From the Fillmore, right? Let There Be Light were opening for Moby Grape, as I recall.

    1. James, you’re mistaken: the new unofficial slogan of UC is not “donations gratefully received” (we tried that already) but “let there be light–customized to corporate specifications on request.” But a matrix barcode is certainly an apt symbol for the latter as well.

    2. Not just any matrix barcode, but QR code with auto donation forwarding. It’s about the right shape, it’s modern and forward-looking, it’s social-media friendly, cheap to reproduce in all media, everybody knows what it is. And it’s highly symbolic.

      1. I suppose it stands to reason some QR codes will look like recognizable objects and letters (or they will if you stare at them long enough, or if you stare into yourself long enough). I wonder if there’s a special mechanism to get assigned one of those.

        1. Come on, geek readers! The actual message only takes up a small portion of the Aztec matrix. The rest you can fill with black-or-white bits that don´t have a barcode meaning but create your pretty Californian pattern. Even the hagfish upload icon if you insist.

          1. Speaking of the “hagfish upload icon” – don’t miss the animated GIF made from it that Justin linked (and possibly he made?) in a comment to the previous thread.

            Also, RE QR codes: what are the rules about overlaying a black-and-white QR code over another color? I bet you could make the code still work fairly well using yellow or a light shade of grey, while achieving an artistic effect.

            On the other hand, QR codes probably aren’t necessary. Google Goggles or similar competing products should be able to identify any prominent logo.

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