I have to say that I have mixed feelings about this rebranding. Part of me says great, look at things with a fresh eye. A greater part of me says that its a monstrous waste of time and money (about €100k we are told).
TCD, Trinity College Dublin, is a brand. Its one that has stood the test of time for literal centuries. It is, along with a very few others, one of the few global brands we have for Ireland. We are told that we have to change the name to Trinity College, The University of Dublin, as people in Chindia get confused. Hmmm. Do they get confused as to what MIT is ? Or Caltech? I doubt it. They may be momentarily confused as to whether it is an independent university or not but is that reason enough to meddle with something that is time proven? I have not seen any evidence adduced, mere assertion, that this is a problem in recruiting Chindian students. Call me old fashioned but I would like evidence.
Its worse. Leavign rankings aside its useful for people who wish to find research to know where you are working. Bibliographic databases, such as Web of Science and Scopus and so on work on institutional affiliations. Now about 75% of all TCD work is labelled Trinity College Dublin. So that will remain as it is for all outward facing activity. But out in Chindia we will be Trinity College the University of Dublin. Presumably the confusion as to what exactly TCD is and was will now be replaced by confusion as to why nobody from TCDTUD is publishing (but gosh them lads in TCD seem very active).
And then theres the crest. We are to go from a longstanding (but with no certainty as to when it actually formalised) crest to a new one. John Scattergood presented to the Fellows a long, detailed, arcane and fascinating presentation on the various arms, crests and armorials of the college and the university. We are now to move from this longstanding, widely used and ancient looking crest to one that frankly looks like it was created in MS Paint. Theres a bizarre argument from the brand consultants that we need to move from yellow and blue as it represents “value” (as if that was bad) brands such as Ryanair and Ikea. If TCD were as successful in its field as they are in theirs then I would be a happy camper…
This is the present shield…. doesn’t it just scream CHEAP !! CHEAP!!!! So easily confused with Maxol…. (yes, that was also an argument).
This is the proposed new shield. Much classier eh…
There is a good argument to look again at brands. And theres a good argument that we should have one consistent logotype (we have at present dozens, and thats confusing). What’s concerning to me is that we seem in this exercise to have taken absolutely no cognizance of the heraldic elements – TCD is an essentially medieval conception, and thats part of its strength. We can for instance recognize the essential religious nature of the original foundation with a bible without having to accept the literal truth therein or to say that TCD is now a religious institution. We have spend the equivalent of 20 PhD fees or the cost of two postdocs on a casual rebranding. The evidence from internal surveys is that the academic staff (those much vaunted frontline workers) were in the majority (50-80% depending on the question) happy with the visual identity of the college. One wonders why that was ignored? One also wonders when we have marketing and design professors why they were not consulted.
College is broke. We have spend c 100k on this so far. We will spend how much more on this? . Frankly, a cent would be too much. This does nothing to advance the core mission of the college.