logos, identity and buy in


its at penn state. I remember when the ITS logo was created. I thought the text was a bit fatter than I like to see; the mouse in the "at" sign was distracting, hard to identify, and, well, a bit single-focused; and ultimately, the "its at penn state" giggle was just plain ambiguous. Many will agree that it's also a good thing that nobody cared what I thought. It's our identity. It's our logo. It's managed and regulated. And, it's at Penn State.

The last little bit is what really concerns me. We are Penn State. Yet every body wants to be known for being the little bit of Penn State that they are; to stand out as an individual rather than as a contributer to the collective. Beats me, man; I stopped carving my name in desks at a very young age. But no matter. Every group wants an identity, usually one that starts with them and moves down the hierarchy. My role in such things varies. Sometimes I'm a creator and sometimes I have little role at all-except to be the old bastard who points out the policies, the reasons behind the policies, and the years of history behind the discussion. But as I've already said, no matter.

If we want buy in from other groups on campus, from others who may be just as interested in establishing their own piece of the landscape, wouldn't it be smart to let them have their identity and try to take a non-intrusive, non-confrontational position that drips participation, community and support? Wouldn't we want to look like team players? Wouldn't we want to be part of the same family, somebody that you can come to even when you might be unsure and afraid of looking silly?

I'm not sure the "its at Penn State" thing does any of that.

I wonder if the Apple group working on the iPhone resents having to stick that damn apple on their product? and using that same old tired font? With the iPhone now the largest revenue producer that Apple has, I wonder if we'll see a new font and logo? It's possible; but really, would you see it as the same product? For me, as tired as I am of the Penn State shield, as bored as I am with blue and white Penn State Information Technology Services. I understand Penn State's desire to have a unified team presence. I understand what it could mean to someone in a non-ITS department to have advice from Penn State instead of a competitor trying to create a bigger footprint. But you know, I'm just too damned tired of the same old arguments to enter the fray again.

The fray.

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