Sometimes the little things in logo design can make a remarkably large difference. Even a slight change in a logo can completely turn around the meaning. The new University of Phoenix logo is a good example of this principle.
The original University logo design was simple yet effective enough. An official looking burgundy tone and a business-like font give this image an authoritative feeling, while a phoenix rises majestically from flame-like shapes below. The letters are spaced closely and give a hurried look to an otherwise backward-looking image.
The new university & college logo is barely different, but the changes are significant. First and most notably, the Phoenix is facing forward rather than backward. This signifies moving forward, giving the image a more positive and forward thinking feeling. Second, the lines making up the phoenix are slightly curvier to give a friendlier feeling and let the image have a sense of movement. The flames below have been modified to fit in better with the rest of the image, now giving a torch-like feeling.
The font also has changed to be a little less generic and a little more bold. The writing has been changed to a curvier font with no serifs. This takes away from the official feeling that the original logo had and gives a friendlier image. Altogether, the new educational logo is friendlier than the original and suggests positive change. All the hard edges have been smoothed away, replaced with wavy lines and movement.
Why has this private for-profit university chosen now to rebrand? It may be in response to increased scrutiny front both the federal government agencies and news agencies. Although this university in particular has not been targeted, it is one of a group that is being examined due to higher costs and generally lower education standards. There has never been a better time to convince both potential students and the public at large that this is a legitimate educational institution helping people move forward with their lives and careers.
Further, the University of Phoenix was mildly involved in the debacle involving LeBron James’ move to Florida. This is due to their ownership of the University of Phoenix Stadium that is home to the NFL Cardinals. Ownership of this stadium, by the way, comprises this university’s entire athletic program.
Regardless of whether for-profit private universities are a good educational choice, there is nothing to be gained by looking backward. While this logo is nothing to write home about, it is certainly a vast improvement over the old one. Further, this logo can be the basis of an entirely new brand, one with a font and color palette that will be used throughout the company’s literature and advertisements. With many universities, even traditional ones, using branding principles to promote their establishments, there is no reason for an educational business such as this to lag behind. Many people are looking more closely at the University of Phoenix and other similar institutions. Now is the time either to shine or to fizzle.