Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, May 16, 2003

UH back to square one on new logo design

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

The University of Hawai'i will go back to the drawing board to come up with a logo that the school and community can support.

The UH Board of Regents yesterday said it would form a subcommittee to develop a process to design and select a new logo. The logo is intended to be a uniform "brand" that would link the 10 campuses in the UH system and be used to attract students to the school.

The board's action comes after a public outcry over two proposed logos that were released in April. The firm owned by Robert Rytter of Baltimore designed the logos, and the university has paid him about $74,000 of the $82,000 contract. A 29-member review committee had selected the logos after a nine-month process.

But UH President Even Dobelle rejected them in the wake of the mostly negative comments. Dobelle said Rytter will likely be involved in the development of a new logo.

"He professionally is obligated to produce a logo for us," Dobelle said. "Maybe we need to have folks give the designs and their own concepts and help him work through it. I think he wants to do a professional job for us and these two just weren't going to work for the public, and they were not acceptable to me."

Paul Costello, UH vice president for external affairs, led the search for the branding identity, and he suggested that the regents' Committee on University and External Affairs form the new subcommittee.

But Costello said the review committee held nearly 100 meetings on all 10 campuses to discuss the selection of the logo.

"We didn't just come up with a logo and say, 'Here's two logos that we think are disgusting, let's put them out to the public and let's have them hate them,'" Costello said.

He also cautioned committee members that logos need time to be accepted by the community.

"Until a logo has a story behind it, people behind it, marketing behind it, love behind it, passion behind it, it doesn't mean anything," Costello said. "We felt very strongly that in time these would resonate."

But several people who testified yesterday said the university doesn't need a new logo.

UH art professor emeritus Clement Lagundimao Jr. said he and other design professionals felt that the existing UH seal could be redone and become a more preferable choice. Tom Klobe, director of the UH art gallery and a professor of art, said the existing logo featuring an open book and torch is "the perfect logo."

Momi Cazimero, owner and president of Graphic House and a former UH regent, said the university has been "battered" by the negative press surrounding the logo. She suggested the university table the issue for now and resume the process later.