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Live! - Opinion

This article is an opinion piece and should be taken as such. It is highly likely to be biased, but either the article itself or the ensuing discussion will probably be entertaining. Live! takes no editorial line on opinion pieces.

Oh. My. God.

Jan 15 2003 11:55
Andy Heeps
This isn't made up. I've just lifted some of this stuff from Spectrum. Now I'm off to kill myself.
Now we look like a former polytechnic...

Our brand...

Key Elements

First impressions are often lasting impressions. Therefore it is vital that we present a clear, consistent image if we are to raise our profile worldwide.

There are a number of core elements that form the foundation of the Imperial College London identity system, which contribute to the development of a strong brand. These components have been designed to bring consistency to the visual identity, while still allowing flexibility.


The Imperial College London logo is the 'touchstone' of our visual brand. It is the key identifier and always present in our communications materials. The logo is an original artwork and should never be recreated using a type format. The colour version should only be professionally reproduced to ensure colour match. Use a black version for local printing.


Our College colour is blue, supported by a wide range of colours and tints. White is an important colour in our clean, modern look.


Our electronic desktop typeface is Arial and is recommended for all desktop or internet applications. Meta is the principle typeface for print production.

The Crest

The Crest is an important part of our brand. Used correctly, it will add character and the values of honour and tradition. The Crest is reserved for use in applications which promote the heritage and history of the College. All applications must be approved or licensed by the Communications team.

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Discussion about “Oh. My. God.”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
1. idris   
Jan 15 2003 12:48

Have these people heard of irony?

Jan 15 2003 12:55

Some more from Spectrum -


Actively discourage use of 'IC'

Introduce brand attributes and tone of voice into communications internally and externally


Print the colour version on local printers

Use the College crest without a licence

I'll put in for a Crest licence. And I'll put in for a gun licence, and go on a Sherfield killing spree.

Jan 15 2003 13:03

Agree entirely. I saw this ex-polytechnic inspired logo some time ago (part of the reason why I got so upset with the whole branding thing).

What's more this branding document constitutes a breach (by the College!!) of the MoU. ICU (and clubs/societies) have general authorization to use the "Crest" and should not have to ask the Communications team.

4. Mum   
Jan 15 2003 13:24

Actually I quite like it. I get the impression I'm in a minority. (all those silly rules and things are just ridiculous though)

The best bit though is I've already recieved junk mail to .uk! Joy!!

Jan 15 2003 13:28


The best bit is that there is still some resistance. Nothing at works - you have to use ;-)

Furthermore, (on the subject of breaches of MoU by College) the Guilds rep to ICU Retail Cttee has just told me that the sabbs have decided to tow the Colege line and will no longer be using "the crest" on student regalia. This is f***ing outrageous!

Fortunately, there are now enough ordinary students elected to Retail Cttee that we might be able to get this diabolical decision overturned.

6. Son   
Jan 15 2003 13:31


And now you have posted it on a website, you should get even more.....


7. Seb   
Jan 15 2003 14:42


But it looks c***! What were they thinking? How much did they PAY?


(I need more sleep and if you can get paid ??? for rubbish like this... well it's easier than Physics)

8. sam   
Jan 15 2003 15:11

as far as i know

the Union is exempt from branding... that would seem to include the crest...

Jan 15 2003 17:49

I have no idea how much we paid to the branding consultant. But I remember him telling me that he is now a freelance who used to work for Sykes and Towler at Glaxo...

10. Sumeet   
Jan 15 2003 18:00

Doesn't the London look out of place.

I think it looks tacky.

11. Ant   
Jan 15 2003 18:05

on the bit, they did try and convince us freshers this year that our email had to be entered as , much to general annoyance that we may have to start typing more. That was until the server automatically delivered everthing with sender as! aslong as it works we're goin to keep using it.

Jan 15 2003 18:24

Sykes is just doing what he does best - coporate shenanigans. The large financial services company I work for rebranded about 2 years ago, taking their nice two letter domain name to one thats 13 letters long. If you get sent a mail to the old address your inbox gets filled with mails telling you to tell your friends to use the long name not the short one.

They also send around a glossy leaflet every so often explaining how to not mis-use the logo. Cue lots of new ideas on how to mis-use the logo...

This kind of exercise usually costs a doubt it has in the imperial case too...what a waste - its a rubbish bland logo. Looks like it could have been designed ON a specturm rather than from it.

Of course there's not much of a logo for IC now they've ditched the crest...

(didn't they change all the signs i college about 3 years ago...i seem to remember Simon Baker (for it is he) complaining about it often)

13. Tim   
Jan 15 2003 19:55

Dun care about the licensing thingy...

Gonna stick it in my web page now just to wind Big Rich up...

A free ride on this new logo. Why not?

Jan 16 2003 09:17

Maybe we should tell all clubs and societies to make sure they use IC and the college crest as much as possible. University Challenge anyone?

Jan 16 2003 09:39

What about the CC Crests?

That would seriously piss off Imperial College London

Jan 16 2003 09:54

"Our college colour is blue"

So we are painting all the buildings blue?

"White is an important colour in our clean, modern look"

And the grass will be replaced by white plastic.

"supported by a wide range of colours and tints"

Bright orange chairs, red tinted windows and purple desks.

Jan 16 2003 12:43

Check out the IC website, at the time of press (thursday) they seem to still favour the old logo...

Jan 16 2003 13:09


Here's what we do. We write a motion for ICU Council making it Union Policy that the Imperial College Crest, together with the letters "ICU" are the new Union logo. We get someone to do something pretty with it. Then we send Sen in to tell the Rector the good news....

19. Mum   
Jan 16 2003 13:40

Andy, I'm disappointed that someone who commands so much respect within the Union would suggest such a rash and foolish move.

Give me a good reason why you suggest the above action ("we don't like it" is not a good reason on its own, you know that).

It's important that the individuals in college council respect the Union so that it has clout when there's something important to be discussed. Childish games like this will damage that respect.


a) Find a good reason


b) Pick up the toys and put them back in the pram and confine your winging to "live" and amongst your mates.

20. Mum   
Jan 16 2003 13:50

It was a joke wasn't it...

I apologise for the above.

My hamster chewed up my sense of humour. I ordered another one but it'll be 5-7 days.

Jan 16 2003 14:14

Quite worringly these logos have already started to peel off outside the departments. They are (at least the one outside DoC) just big plastic stickers.

Jan 16 2003 15:29

Is the crest gone for good? It will never be used anywhere?

23. tom t   
Jan 16 2003 15:53

check it out!

it already contravenes the branding rules!

What's more, everybody has been instructed to waste all their old stationery. you can;t even print on the reverse side.

This is in direct contravention to the college Environmental policy. Surprise surprise.

and i quote:'a. Waste Management [...]

  • Encouraging and advising upon waste reduction.
  • Repair or re-utilisation where practicable.


How about new logo:

Ipcl, or should that be Iplc? Or Implc....


Tom Tibbits,

Imperial College London



Jan 16 2003 16:24

AFAIK, it was either ?50,000 or ?500,000 to "remove the comma", from a source in my department who had a comic poster on his office door (or so he told us) which stated :


a comma


So thats what it might have cost.

Jan 16 2003 17:05
Jan 16 2003 17:53

Alas, not breaking news exactly. It was in the papers at the weekend word for word.

Jan 16 2003 17:57
28. Chris   
Jan 16 2003 17:59

It going to be quite hard to persaude sports teams supporters to stop cheering for IC (as that is now actively discouraged). It the kind of thing that is ingrained

Jan 16 2003 18:48

Nothing a few years of change won't sort out....

BTW that BBC site has our JCR as the photograph. Next time we'll have to get a big crest in there.

30. Ant   
Jan 16 2003 19:26

with regard to sports teams, i think it'll take more than a few years to stop them using IC. And if we're no longer meant to use the crest is college going to pay for all new kits and equipment? After all can't have such a large number of students representing the uni with the wrong 'brand' now can we, that wouldn't convey a modern up to date image! ;-)

31. Sunil   
Jan 17 2003 02:05

Actually the logos in the posters have borders in the same light shade as "London". The contrast works reasonably well.

In the end, all that one wants from the logo really is

(1) To retain the name "Imperial College".

(2) To emphasise the fact that we are in London.

(3) To differentiate us at a glance from UCL and KCL (and QMUL etc).

This logo, whatever its faults, manages to satisfy those three basic requirements.

32. Rob   
Jan 17 2003 10:33

I see your point Sunil, it does satisfy all three requirements.. but it looks naff!!

33. Dave   
Jan 17 2003 13:41

Enough! Stop whinging all of you! Whinging is not permitted within the college's 'personality'!!

34. seb   
Jan 17 2003 14:22

How about a "debranding" campaign?

Anyone got a screen grab of the crest? Print it out on adhesive labels and add it to the new logo. Prosthetic commas can also be added.

35. tom t   
Jan 17 2003 14:37

in addition to seb's idea - it strikes me that the new squeaky clean white is perfect for graffiti...

Also will we see more unnecessary envirodegradation as the hoarding on Exhib. Rd. is repainted white?

Jan 17 2003 14:38

Has anyone else noticed the huge amount of white space on the new big signs?

looks ripe for a bit of taggin' if you ask me...

give it a fortnight for the word to spread thru' the hood, and they'll be covered like the underground trains

37. ant   
Jan 17 2003 15:19

With all that white space how about an inter-department competition as to who can design their own crest to fill the space on their buildings signs?

Jan 17 2003 17:34

Well it looks like the website has now been rebranded. Hmmmmm. 'Interesting'.

Jan 17 2003 17:38

Is this the dullest webpage ever produced? vote now...

Jan 17 2003 17:52

After further perusal, I've realised that it's not just boring, but also rather clinical. Almost like a website for a pharmaceutical company in fact. Mind you, the GSK website is far and away more interesting..despite the almost identical colours...

41. Dave   
Jan 17 2003 20:53

As for the new website I love the fact that in the Quick Navigation bar it has links to the Faculty of Life Sciences and the Faculty of Medicine along with the GSLSM but not to Physical sciences or engineering. Must be because we're more important! Marvellous!

Jan 17 2003 21:01

The front page at has a page title of "Imperial College London - IC Website".

Jan 17 2003 21:07

Tut Tut Ashley - actively discourage the use of IC.. how dare you even mention the name of this university...

one other thing to be picky..

I quote from spectrum;

"Our electronic desktop typeface is Arial and is recommended for all desktop or internet applications. Meta is the principle typeface for print production"

Why the f... is the website written in Verdana font then?


Jan 17 2003 23:33

Wonderful. This is how we will compete with the world's best. By getting rid of the crest and making the logo look like it belongs on the signs of a Swiss subway station.

Woohoo, I bet those clowns at MIT are shaking in their boots right now...

Jan 18 2003 00:52

seems that the outlook web access hasnt escaped the transition to

i keep getting a 500 internal server error when i try to access it or the old ic one.


Jan 18 2003 02:04

The new "identity" looks more like a company logo. Doesn't breathe prestige and integrity unlike the former logo. Geez, who are the silly consultants who came up with this?! And why does Richard think we need a new image? If there's anything we need, it's a new Rector!

47. Ant   
Jan 18 2003 09:52

Nice slogan on the new website 'where science is leading...' possibly to a large number of angry engineers, did Mr Sykes just steal that from some GSK publicity material and not consider whether it was appropriate?

48. Chris   
Jan 18 2003 18:20

The new people finder on the website seems to list all email addresses as Also, in the business card look at Job Title.

49. pedant   
Jan 19 2003 11:59

Is engineering not the (or an example of the) application of science?

Jan 19 2003 13:01

Imperial was founded for the teaching and advancement of Science and Science applied to the Arts. Engineering and Medicine fit in quite nicely to the "Sceinece applied to the Arts" description.

Jan 19 2003 13:37

Richard Sykes is a manager.

As such he needs to make an impact on whatever he manages, not just keep it running smoothly.

He has decided that in order to make an impact here, to leave his mark behind, the College (Must. Use. Capital. C.) is in desperate need of rebranding.

Jan 19 2003 15:56

Hmmm. the website may now be re-branded, but the title in my browser window says: Imperial College London - IC Website.

methinks this was a little rushed.

on a separate note, how does getting rid of a distinctive logo and brand image and replacing it with something that looks (as has been said) like its been designed in MS Word which has white as "an important colour" raise our prestige internationally?

call me old-fashioned, but the point of a brand would seem to be something that sticks in the mind... not something that?s instantly forgettable.


53. Alexei   
Jan 20 2003 01:32

How easy is it to revert this decision? What is necessary? A mass protest? A petition? I am ready to join up anything for the cause of changing things back to how they were!

54. alex   
Jan 20 2003 03:44

how easy is it?

the signs seem fairly keen to come down anyway... i'm sure with a little encouragement here and there the re-branding could be reversed quite quickly!

55. tom t   
Jan 20 2003 14:07 is a website all about another once famous technical science college. Imperial was once known as the charlottenburg of England, but now no one knows what Charlottenburg was, because it rebranded in 1946. If you read the link above, it tells a sorry story.

I just hope the Rector's plans don't include such a reputation meltdown ;-)


Jan 30 2003 22:01

"What's more, everybody has been instructed to waste all their old stationery. you can;t even print on the reverse side."

I got lecture notes earlier today on the reverse side of old-style branded paper. Do we yet have an official site for logging sightings of the old logo in 'banned' places? This is I(mperial)C(ollege), after all....

Feb 02 2003 06:09

The new posters such as "Imagineering", "Hands on", "Solution" are so incredibly dumb. This guy staring into the sky like he has Down syndrome really doesn't do much to advertise the intellectual capacity of Imperial College. What a waste. What f***ing idiocy.

58. Seb   
Feb 03 2003 01:12

Did anyone else notice that the last time Imagineering reared it's ugly head was in an (IBM?) advert satirising management speak?


Feb 03 2003 01:16

Perhaps they got over-excited with the world-famous Internet bullsh+t generator.

When I was working as a consultant in the dot com era, a popular way to pass the time was to see how many of these we could paste into a report and bill to our clients ;-)

Feb 03 2003 03:04

Perhaps another opportunity to plug the petition to retain the comma?

Apr 11 2003 00:51

It's not just an IC thing.

BBC News are reporting on Bradford's branding bonkers.

"It is farcical. A six-year-old would have been able to deliver the same judgement with ease."

Sound familiar?

62. simon   
Apr 11 2003 12:52

University of Birmingham is also undergoing "rebranding".

Closed This discussion is closed.

Please contact the Live! Editor if you would like this discussion topic re-opened.


See Also

  1. IC Rebrands (sic)
    15 Jan 03 | News
  2. Vote Heeps!
    13 Jan 03 | News
  3. STOIC release fees special
    25 Oct 02 | News

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