What's happening with the UC Berkeley logos? There's mixed reaction to a rebranding

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Thursday, May 23, 2024
Mixed reaction, confusion over UC Berkeley's rebrand with new logos
UC Berkeley officials say they made the logo change to better connect the Berkeley and Cal identities, which have coexisted but caused confusion.

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- From chimes of the clock tower, the Sather Gate and that cursive Cal, icons of UC Berkeley are all over campus.

But on Tuesday, the university rolled out an "updated brand identity," including two new primary logos.

However, on its official social media pages and LinkedIn, its logo has been updated to a single capital letter "B."

"Everyone's like 'Oh, what's that B? I've never seen that before,' versus, if a 'Cal' script was there, people know that's UC Berkeley," said Jeffrey Ting, an alumni of UC Berkeley. "If that block letter C is there, people know that's UC Berkeley."

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University officials say the B is not their new logo.

They say the B monogram is only intended for small spaces where the full logo is hard to read.

The new university logo is the word "Berkeley" spelled out. The athletics logo will remain the iconic "Cal" script.

UC Berkeley logo reading "Berkeley" as part of a rebranding.
UC Berkeley logo reading "Berkeley" as part of a rebranding.
UC Berkeley

Officials say they made the change to better connect the Berkeley and Cal identities, which have coexisted but caused confusion.

They say more than a quarter of the people they surveyed who live in the Bay Area did not know that Berkeley and Cal were the same university.

Nationally, they say, more than two-thirds of people surveyed thought the two were different institutions.

But Ting says this goes too far.

"I think by replacing it, there's a lot of tradition and history that's lost in just even switching out that logo," Ting said.

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Alumni and co-founder of Boba Guys, Andrew Chau, says he thinks this is leading to more confusion.

"As a two-time alumni, I do think it's a little jarring," Chau said. "I do think it's so far from what I'm used to, it's going to take a while to get used to it, and it resembles too many of the logos that I've seen everywhere else. Just a solid B is something that I see in sports teams and actually another UC is kind of known for that."

That's why a group of students, alumni and community members started an online petition asking the university to change it back.

They say the rebranding "devalues UC Berkeley degrees."

Though, one student who just graduated last week with a job already lined up, says that's a bit of a stretch.

"It's not my style. It's not my thing," said Kevin Greco, a 2024 UC Berkeley graduate. "I think for most students, they don't really care. They'll just see it as it's just a marketing ploy."

One change that won't be happening, according to the university, is branding the athletics program as Cal Berkeley. It will remain Cal Athletics.

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