I have been thinking about writing this post for months. I wasn’t sure that I should do it, I really didn’t want to offend anyone. But here’s the thing – this is an opinion piece, and my feelings are so strong on the topic I can’t keep it in anymore.
Let’s start with a preface – I love the University of Western Sydney, or Western Sydney University. I did my Masters there, my partner studies there and I think that their advertising as part of the rebrand has been some of the best I have seen in many years at creating a real vision of what Western Sydney is and can be.
My problem lies with the logo. Flat out the whole thing is really unbalanced and it makes me so frustrated that I ball my fists up and growl at the signs when catching the bus past the campus (which was the catalyst for this piece).
I understand what they are trying to achieve – directly tying the university to the rise of Western Sydney, the SEO benefits, the prominence of WESTERN SYDNEY over University implies that no matter who you are, there is a place for you here, I get it. But WHY is the crest at the bottom of the logo? that is the part that baffles me.
Comments from the university are below –
“The new brand elevates Western Sydney. Reordering the word mark and placing Western Sydney at the top of the logo is a symbol of the pride we have in our community and region. The shield is the platform for our typographic ‘W’, which is unique with the curved based referencing the landscape. Colour is one of the more emotive shifts in the brand, changing from blue to red. The deep red as the primary colour is bold, determined and confident. This is partnered with vibrant tones such as fluoro orange to deliver youthfulness and optimism to the brand.”
– Sourced here.
If WSU is aiming itself at the same kind of visuals as the Ivy League universities of the U.S., then the crest is the most important part of the visual. In all logos, the logo mark is just as important as the typography attached to that logo. And maybe that’s my issue, that the logo Mark is not placed in a position of importance, that it is placed as an after though.
The most obvious area where the practicalities of this logo are brought into question is the hero sign out the front of the university, signage and the large silk banners used on the outside of the buildings.
Look at how nicely the large logo mark works with the typography below. And then we have a weird awkward repeat of this logo mark below it or above it. Why?! Why is it there? What is the point?!
The horizontal version of the logo has better balance, albeit not great still because of scaling, but it doesn’t seem to be getting any air time. If I had my druthers, I would change the logo to the one below, a far more pleasing and balanced result in my opinion.
I would like to end by stating a few things.
- I doubt I am the only designer who has raised this question or wondered why the logo is this way oriented.
- I am sure there’s a reasoning behind this choice, I just cannot move past the visual imbalance over what is undoubtedly a big fluffy marketing concept.
- You will not find a bigger advocate for western Sydney and Western Sydney University than me, and I am so on board with everything they do in their function as a university. I just think they have forgotten the visual implications of this logo and lost aight of visually pleasing design in favour of selling a bigger marketing idea – and thats really my problem.
If you agree, completely disagree or want to share your own opinion with me, I would love you to leave a comment below! I love comments!
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