As USF President Judy Genshaft unveiled USF’s newest academic logo Wednesday, cheers arose from the predominantly staff-filled crowd inside the Marshall Student Center Oval Theater.
Elsewhere on campus, however, came a collective groan.
“It’s a cute logo, but it doesn’t feel like USF,” said Gina Huckaby, a freshman majoring in biomedical science. “I feel like the old logo was more academic. I love the design of the new one, it’s cute, but maybe just on some merchandise.”
Students and alumni immediately took to social media to criticize the new design: A lime green bull on a darker green background, along with a lime green “USF” to its side.
Perhaps more than anywhere else online, current students elected to use their official class Facebook pages to share mostly-negative opinions, memes and their own personal redesigns.
In some cases, those redesigns received more positive feedback than the original.
Ella Flanagan, a freshman majoring in spanish and special education, said she could have designed a better logo for $5. Another student, Jadrien Musharbash, said the logo was a waste of money, no matter how much the university spent on it
“It’s like a kid made it,” he said.
The actual cost of the logo is not cut and dry, according to USF Marketing Director Joe Hice. He says the school signed a $200,000 year-long marketing campaign with Spark Media, who created the logo after Hice and his team came up with the idea.
In choosing the logos design, Hice said the bull is supposed to be a combination of the bronze bulls that stand at USF’s three campuses — Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee.
In an email, he said the colors were chosen after conducting three focus groups, with students choosing the “apple green” on top of a dark green background as the overwhelming favorite.
He says the school will be flexible with the colors used moving forward. He also said he expected some negative backlash with the new design, but has seen more positive feedback than negative.
“Our research showed it was time for a change,” he said. “And change can be difficult.”
While students took issue with the color, others pointed to its similarity to the wealth management company Merrill Lynch’s logo.
“I saw it and immediately thought Merrill Lynch, the very first second I saw it,” said Fabian John, a freshman majoring in biochemistry. “How can you look at it and see anything else?”
John also took issue with the logos’ main colors. He said he thinks a darker green would look more professional for the school, especially since the logo is strictly for academics, not athletics.
Liam Sanchez, a freshman biomedical sciences major, agreed.
“I never really looked at it and thought of it as quality academics,” he said. “At least it looks more modern.”
Not every student dislikes USF’s new academic look. Kennedy Marthaler, another freshman majoring in biomedical sciences, said she thinks it looks fine.
Just not as good as USF’s prior logo.
“I wouldn’t say I like it a lot, but, it could be worse,” said Marthaler. “I’m used to seeing the old one more so I like it, but, I’ll get used to it.”
Hice says the new logo will replace its old design, which featured “USF” in gold block text on a dark green background, with “University of South Florida” stacked below it, by homecoming week in October.
Meanwhile, some students are hoping for its replacement by the time they graduate.
“The old one had the design, functionality and the name,” said Huckaby. “Now it’s just a picture and abbreviation. It’s just so weird how there’s now a disconnect. We went from having a professional, college logo, to one that looks cute.
“If I have the privilege of graduating from here for the medical school, I wouldn’t want that on my lab coats, diploma or anything like that. The old logo just looks more mature.”