An unexpectedly controversial new logo welcomed members of the Cal Poly Pomona community to a new term.

For more than one year, eight committees selected through the Academic Senate partnered with the branding agency Selbert Perkins and took charge of an approximate $150,000 branding initiative for the university.

University administration expressed that a branding initiative benefits the university, but many have been vocal about their disagreement.

“You can tell that there’s a problem with [the logo] right away because it takes somebody to explain it to you,” Professor Dorothy Wills of the anthropology department said.

Banners featuring students alongside Cal Poly Pomona’s new logo and colors surround the campus. SARAH MADRIGAL | THE POLY POST

Regardless of the functionality of the logo, some students find it ill-fitting for the university.

“I kind of hate the new logo because I don’t think the new logo was necessary and it’s almost like it it’s taking away the history of Cal Poly,” said fourth year hospitality management student Madeline Sin.

Assistant vice president of strategic communication and marketing, Tim Lynch said he selected student representatives through Associated Students Incorporated (ASI) and ASI’s former president Uriah Sanders. Vice President Gabriel Smith also took part in the branding initiative, as noted on the university’s strategic plan committees webpage.

“This was not done in isolation as far as who made the decisions, nor was this simply an initiative out of the blue,” said Lynch. “It very much was tied to the academic master plan and the strategic plan.”

“Antez, ” William Kellogg’s favorite horse, graces the new seal. COURTESY OF TIM LYNCH | STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS

Competition with nearby schools in the area may be the primary driving force behind the branding initiative, Wills said.

“I don’t think we need to market ourselves very hard, we don’t have any trouble getting students to apply…that’s why some of the majors are impacted,” Wills said.

As administrators make changes to the university’s image, some members of the campus community seem to want things to go back to the way they were.

A petition titled “Bring back the old Cal Poly Pomona logo” on Change.org has collected more than 3,000 signatures.

On social media, students expressed disagreement in a sardonic manner.

The new tagline “I am ready,” has been mocked by students as sounding similar to the one said by SpongeBob SquarePants, of the animated television series, who often shouts “I’m ready!”

Before designing the logo, the branding agency collected data to reveal perceptions about the university. The agency’s findings influenced the design of the logo.

As the university expects many positive changes to come, Lynch said the logo is intended to reflect those changes.

Adopting a new logo is not a recent idea and was anticipated since 2010, Lynch said.

The school’s old logo highlights the Classroom, Laboratory and Administration (CLA) building. However, in the late 1990s university administration discovered the building was built on a fault line and a new building would need to replace it.

A logo designing competition among graphic design students at CPP began in 2012, but a new logo was not adopted, Lynch said.

A multicolored octagon representing eight facets of a polytechnic education is at the forefront of the new logo. COURTESY OF TIM LYNCH | STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS

Lynch said that rather than resembling something physical, the new logo is inspired by ideas.

Much of the branding initiative connects the university’s master plan and strategic plan to the logo. The new master plan is meant to move the university forward, hence the inspiration behind the green and gold arrow pointing right in the new logo, Lynch said.

An octagon in multiple shades of blue, along with the familiar green and gold replaced the former logo.

Shades of blue appear on the new logo in order to distinguish CPP from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Green and gold remain the university’s sports team colors, despite the addition of blue in the logo, Lynch said.

As described in the university’s website, the less controversial university seal contains Antez, one of William Kellogg’s favorite horses, with the old stables and the San Gabriel Mountains in the background.

In comparison to the former, the new logo is chock full of symbolism.

One can find the explanation of what it represents in the “Frequently Asked Questions” section of the university website’s brand page.

The university’s eight colleges and eight elements of a polytechnic education contributed to the octagonal shape of the logo: application of knowledge; creativity, discovery and innovation; critical thinking and problem solving; diverse and multidisciplinary perspectives; integration of technology; collaborative learning; community and global engagement; and professional and career readiness.

Despite the petition and criticism, the university remains firm on the adoption of the new logo.

“Change is hard,” Lynch said. “All of us get used to certain patterns, to certain things in our life that are just always there, and then change happens.”

In response to complaints and branding miscommunication, CPP’s Facebook page states the university’s motto “Learn by Doing” is here to stay and has not been replaced.

Lynch said “I am ready” is merely a tagline for university marketing.

Comments or concerns regarding the branding initiative can be expressed to the university’s Department of Strategic Communications.

  • Show Comments (7)

  • Mark Ely

    As a proud Alumni of Cal Poly Pomona I am offended with the new colors, the new motto, and the logo. Quite frankly, the school should take a Brand Management Class, and done a better job of outreach to students, Alumni, and Professors past and present for input on changing these items. The selection committee needs to read a case study on New Coke. Then, read a case study on when the UC System tried to re-brand. Neither example went over well. Imagine if USC re-branded their slogan from “Fight On”, to “Strive for Compromise”. Or they changed their Colors, and added white, for compromise. The Alumni and student body would go berserk. It is a clear statement that Cal Poly Athletics is keeping the Green and Gold, and the Bronco as their logo. The new Motto, Colors, and Logo are a epic fail.

    Cal Poly does not need to change its colors, or motto. Perhaps the logo needed a change since the CLA building is being taken down, but not to some corporate looking logo. The new logo should pay homage to our rich heritage.

    You can get out of this, just say it was a joke like the IHOP ads saying they were changing their name this summer. We’ll all laugh, and move on with our day.

    Green and Gold Forever!

    Learn by Doing is the Polytechnic credo!!

    Mark Ely
    Class of 93

    • Christina

      Hello, The Poly Post is publishing a story on alumni reactions to the logo. Would you like to make an official statement on the logo? please contact me at cberberian@cpp.edu

  • Walter

    Shows how out of touch administration is with student desires and outcomes. The real downside is that our degree just lost it’s prestige. It adds insult to injury that the administration paid $150,000 for this debacle. That money could have been used to help students or add classes. What is worse is the administration’s refusal to admit they made a mistake and change course. I saw these poor choices starting in 2014 and apparently they are not slowing down. Why not just rename the unversity Cal State Pomona?

  • Paul

    Administration can kiss my ass with “Planning since 2012;” when did they ever let any of us the students know that they’re planning to change the logo? And who did they ask for vision on the school when they were choosing a logo? Was it the students? Of course not! It wouldnt be this trash if WE the people who actually come and PAY for this school decided the logo. Now we have to spend our tuition money on $150k worth of utter TRASH.

    And why market more? Is over-admitting students enough for the damn administration? Look how terrible parking is. Building new parking to suit this? NAH! Cal Poly Pomona is a COMMUTER SCHOOL (is that clicking in your head Coley? Or is your ego too large?) We need parking! And you decide to admit 7.7k students to ruin our current parking situation even more!

    One more thing: if sounding like SpongeBob Squarepants is a good marketing idea to you Mr. Lynch, then you must be out of your mind.

    This administration is a fucking disaster.

  • Jason

    To Tim Lynch’s comment, “Change is hard,” I would say that the outrage of the campus community isn’t simply due to change. The changing of the logo is perfectly reasonable due to the CLA being phased out. The problem is the administration choosing a new logo that looks like it took an amateur graphic designer about 5 minutes to slap together.

    The other changes were completely unnecessary, and wasteful spending at its worst. And all these changes enacted during a school year that was already known for years now to be incredibly hectic due to the semester conversion. The quality of decision making by this college’s administration is now in serious question, especially as they continue to pretend that campus push-back is simply because “Change is hard.”

    The school leaders need to take a good hard look at the way the’re running CPP because we can not afford another debacle like this again.

  • Reggie

    While I do understand the need for a logo change because the CLA will cease to exist in the near future, I find it highly arrogant and very disappointing that the new logo reflects nothing of CPP. At best, the logo could have been used for the Cal Poly Federal Credit Union. At worse, this logo looks like something that belongs to the Dow Jones Industrial with its value falling every second. There was no need to rebrand CPP. We were already distinguished from CPSLO. There are no commercials for CPP. We never needed them. Reputation, hard work, and word-of-mouth built CPP. The logo for the school looks like a For-Profit Black Hole. And the colors, goodness!!!! How are we trying to set ourselves apart from CPSLO when we can look like the counterfeit UCLA, UCI, UCR? Green and Gold, nothing else. If black were added as a accent color, then no problem. But BLUE AS A PRIMARY COLOR?!?!?! HELL NO!!!! Please go back to that consulting firm and get the $150k returned. It could have been used as prize money for a winning design from a CPP STUDENT!!!

  • Celeste Britt

    When this came to my attention I was in shock. Being an alumni, I have to say that changing our logo was a big mistake. I can respect where it was coming from. But it shouldn’t have been changed. The history behind our original logo is beautiful and it holds everything we and personally I loved. Please give us back our proper logo. We were already happy with what we had and you took it away from us.

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