No to enforced SOAS Re-branding and Identity!

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Last year SOAS External Relations Directorate set out to re-brand the SOAS identity and visuals. Having spent (apparently hundreds of) thousands on a Market Research consultancy, the research showed no conclusive reason to continue with a change of logo and any drastic change to the visuals (patterns, colours etc). The focus was to make the brand stronger. However, they took the uninformed decision to remove the name 'School of Oriental and African Studies' (our unique selling point, one would have thought) from everything leaving us as simply 'SOAS, University of London' – which is fine internally, but means nothing much externally. Although a group was set up to discuss matters concerning the SOAS visuals and identity, the group did not meet but twice at the very beginning of the process. SOAS Marketing, working with a design consultancy, came with this new gold (mustard/orange/yellow) tree and leaf visuals to replace the perfectly good logo SOAS already had. Once the logo, colour scheme, font and leafy visuals had been created nobody was consulted regarding whether or not it was suitable. Marketing (External Relations) continued to roll out the identity by force, disregarding internal advice, and taking no consideration for the fact the colour scheme is poor, unrepresentative and dull and the tree is generic, badly designed, and weak and better represents a children’s school. The leaves on the new tree represent the regions we focus on, yet they also look like leaves you step on in a London park. A visual identity that needs an explanation is not a *visual* identity. The aim was to achieve 'A professional, consistent and modern visual identity will help consolidate our profile in the Higher Education marketplace. In the UK for instance we are not nearly as well known as we should be, and as evidenced by the research projects, many UK and international stakeholders don’t clearly understand what we do or what we can offer.' The new identity does not even fulfil its own goals. SOAS is green, earthy, vibrant, interesting and original. SOAS is alive, so why represent it with a decaying yellow tree on beige backgrounds? SOAS should be visually represented by use of the wealth of art from those regions we cover, not by obscure leaves. Instead of spending on scholarships for students, admin staff to improve services, a better enrolment system, more library books, improving our league table position, or focussing on any of the factors students raise year on year SOAS has wasted apparently half a million pounds on this failure of a project. This petition calls for a review of the new identity and logo; we will not be represented by a dying tree and we will not accept the new visuals. If SOAS External Relations Directorate cannot come up with something more suitable and representative then we call for reverting to the original logo. Please sign the petition in agreement and leave your comments.

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