At first glance you instantly get that Deja vu feeling. Then it hits you pretty quickly, the Merril Lynch logo. “Close” is an understatement, but you be the judge. Don’t want to get an argument about intentions, and I like to think no designer would purposely want to go “there”. Just do a google image search for “bull logo” and you’ll see it’s pretty easy to come up with an original unoriginal bull.
Many logo refresh attempts are met first with “why?” and most people are not comfortable with change, it’s disconcerting. I feel this is the case, again. Let me explain. USF has had a few too many logo iterations in the past not so long a space of time (yes I’m mixing in the Academic logo with the dizzying array of athletic logos). Other than it being a bull, there is no logical visual progression, each new version too different from the last. Once again that is the case with this new version. Lending itself to criticism for not building a consistent visual brand at a school that is doing well improving it’s academic reputation.
Well, what’s done is done, how is it? Is it good? When it comes to logo redesigns the trend is to simplify on each iteration, moving away from multiple colors and gradients to a flat one color design arriving at minimal shape recognition. Apple and Starbucks are the classic examples. The new bull on it’s own follows that trend, and it’s done well. The bull is faithful to the actual bronze bull on campus. It has a strong defiant sense. It’s a BULL damnit!
So, well done on the bull itself. There is potential for this bull to be a lasting one. You can cut or smooth out a few angles here or there but how much more simple can you get before you lose it as a bull. And all would be well in the world here in Tampa but then there was this: I have to admit that we are font snobs around here. Many a project goes over time as we battle to the death over arc, stem, descender, ligature and other terrifically boring aspects of fonts. So we have to say WTF? on this new USF. The “U” and the “S” have a semi extrusion giving them a 3-D aspect, which would be fine but this is absent in the “F”. There is a weird perspective, a disjointed spacial feeling to the eye, like Cezanne’s fruit on a table that looks like it wants to roll off, or Manet’s bench that goes under at one perspective and comes out another on the other side. This is furthered by the extrusions having different sized “barreling” with the “U” having a much larger aperture than the “S”. This also makes the “U” look slightly larger than the “SF”.
So, we’re gonna pass the bull but fail the typography. Hopefully the logo on the side of a bus gets partially blocked by a minivan.