Monday, September 5, 2016

Why I Like Our Logo

Most universities with two or three letter abbreviations on their official logos use capital letters. We used to, too, until about five years ago, when we swapped to a logo that uses small letters. I like the new logo better than the old logo. The main reason is historical. Those Roman capitals look very bold and impressive and lots of universities use them. They are used in pretty much all the languages of western Europe. Why? Well, the Romans had a lot of good qualities, but basically, it comes down to violence. The Romans went around conquering people, so that if they wanted to get ahead in life they had to learn their language and write it their way. Behind fonts like ‘Times New Roman’ and ‘Trajan Pro’ there are treacheries and massacres and cities plowed and salted and the ghosts of a hundred lost languages that never got to be written down. The memoirs of victorious generals and the triumphal inscriptions on monuments and the death warrants of uncounted multitudes were written in letters very like those.

Now, the letters our new logo is written in remind me very much of the first lowercase scripts. Letters that were invented in the ‘Dark Ages’ by people concerned with preserving knowledge. Behind them I feel the presence of millions who lived and died in a tradition of scholarship, of self-sacrifice, of hospitality, and keeping out of the way of the barbarian hordes. They are entirely appropriate for the logo of a university, as the sort of letters used by the people who established the first universities.

Then there is a modern reason to prefer small letters: in common discourse today, capital letters are RUDE. They are IN YOUR FACE and commonly indicate that THE USER IS AN IDIOT. So in general, small letters are more fitting for humble scholars.

And our new logo makes us much less likely to be confused with other places.

And I like the colour. It reinforces, whether it was meant to do so or not, the vision of the university as a place preserving learning against an age of darkness, with that fine monkish gaelic green surrounded by black.

1 comment:

Manton Angus Angus said...
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