Extreme Makeover: Redesigning Vassar’s Logos

Nicholas Tillinghast/The Miscellany News.

I often look at Vassar’s logos and think, no offense, that they were made by a bunch of losers from the 1800s. As someone who has seen many logos, I think I could do much better than whatever logo nerd designed these because I’m approaching this from the perspective of a logo jock. Through these redesigns, Vassar could see upwards of a 10 percent increase.  

Figure A. is a redesign of a certain type of text logo we call in the design business a “wordy-word logo,” because of the words. This particular redesign was inspired mostly, if not completely, by the Subway logo from 2002-2015 back when it was king. Ever since the company rescinded the five-dollar footlong, Subway just isn’t what it used to be. When I was younger, the oven-roasted chicken with lettuce was the sandwich of the century, but as an adult, it’s not even the sandwich of last week. I want you to look at the current Vassar text logo with its fancy letters and then look at this redesign and tell me which one you find more fresh. Think of the additional colors as a mighty surprise: Instead of rooting for just two colors, gray and burgundy (lame), you can root for four colors with the addition of Hunter green and highlighter yellow. 

Nicholas Tillinghast/The Miscellany News.

Figure B. In this second design, I pretty much kept the original Vassar font but added an additional, minimalist logo to the left that does not rely on the intersection of letters, a mistake colleges too often make. One of my all-time favorite logos is the National Geographic’s thick yellow rectangle. Making space for the fact that National Geographic has already claimed that shape and also the fact that all shapes are subservient to the rectangle, I tried to create my own shape that could possibly rival it, and have named it the “Super Eliptogram.” I want students to look at Vassar’s logo and think: “There’s the Super Eliptogram! I really adore learning at Vassar College.” As for the little tagline I put at the bottom, I don’t think Vassar has ever been particularly strong in the tagline game, so I’m not gonna argue that this one is particularly good either, but it’s also not inaccurate. 

Nicholas Tillinghast/The Miscellany News.

Figure C. I’m already this far along with redesigning Vassar’s branding, so I’ve decided that as a college, we need a bonafide mascot. Think of this creature as our own personal Philly Phanatic or Gritty, but our mascot will be named Charles G. As you can see in the picture, Charles G. has the rough proportions of a deep-sea creature and the strong legs of a horse. He will be 12 feet tall. Since I am a big fan of mascots that wear their teams’ uniforms, Charles G. will wear Vassar soccer shorts and cleats always, except when he’s at Alumni events, in which case he wears khaki Chinos, a bow tie and heels.

There you have it. Through these redesigns, Vassar can continue its legacy of being the place where people go.

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