New wordmark incites divisive debate

Geneseo unveiled its new wordmark this month, sparking debate among the student body as well as within the administration.

According to Assistant Vice President for Communications Tony Hoppa, the wordmark change is a part of a 10-year communications effort to market Geneseo that started in 2007. The process of changing the wordmark began last year.

“When the firm came to campus … they presented their research findings and presented to the Foundation Board what they discovered,” Hoppa said. “The final designs [from the research] were then presented to a number of focus groups as well as the logo committee.”

According to Associate Vice President of Enrollment Bill Caren, focus groups are often conducted with new students to see how they were recruited by competitor institutions as well as how Geneseo caught their attention. Research gleaned from these focus groups also prompted the wordmark change.

“If you look at our competitors’ logos, there’s no stylization at all,” Caren said. “If [Geneseo] wants to be perceived in the same category as its competitors, it would be good to have a logo that corresponds on the same level.”

On the night the new logo was released, junior Philip Romano created the “Save the Wave” petition to keep the former wordmark in place at Geneseo.

“I asked [other students] to see if I was the only [one] that disliked the new logo,” Romano said. “A lot of students agreed and did not like the new logo, so I decided to start the petition on a whim. It had 400 signatures within the first few hours.”

“[The wordmark] is not as unique as the old one,” senior Ying Su said. “It should reflect Geneseo’s personality and not be so bland.”

While some of the student body does not like the new wordmark, others seem to appreciate the change.

"When I was asked to sign the petition, I looked at the logos side by side and thought, 'Yeah, the old one looks more appealing.'" junior Steve Paravati said.

“I think the new logo adds a bit of class to the [Geneseo] website,” junior Daveyy Sak said. “I’ll miss the old logo, but I feel the change isn’t that big of a deal.”

Alumni have also voiced their opinions on the new wordmark.

“I actually like the new logo,” alumnus Ben Jay ‘12 said in an email. He said it’s “much more dignified.”

Romano and Caren met to discuss the petition and the new wordmark to see if any changes could be made.

According to Romano, a Geneseo alumnus showed him that the new wordmark is identical to that of Barnard College, which he shared with Caren.

“The fact that our logo is similar to [Barnard’s] does not reflect negatively on [Geneseo],” Hoppa said. “A colleague of mine told me that the ‘Y’ for Yale University is the same as Brigham Young University’s. I think if you look at colleges across the country … similarities will be found.”

Both Hoppa and Caren said that they understand the feelings expressed by Geneseo students about the new wordmark but do not foresee any changes being made.

“[Caren and I] went into this with the understanding that you’re not going to be able to please everyone,” Hoppa said. “The fact that students are expressing their opinions is always a healthy sign of communication on campus.”