Western Michigan University (WMU) is facing a backlash for its attempt at rebranding, especially its new university logo and color scheme.
Vice president for marketing and strategic communication Tony Proudfoot argued that the two new logos they created have achieved the goal of simplifying WMU’s visual identity.
“This is investment in the university, an investment in our identity and how we’re known. It will have the return in that competitive advantage,” Proudfoot said.
But members of the school community have raised concerns about the change, questioning the allocation of resources and why certain stakeholders were not included in the process.
Dr. Cathryn Bailey, a WMU professor and president of the faculty bargaining unit, emailed WWMT a statement saying, “Our members, the faculty of WMU, are always concerned about ensuring that investment in WMU’s core academic mission comes first — rather than cosmetic ‘bells and whistles.’”
How It Started
Criticism over the rebranding started when photos of the new logo — painted on the center ice at Lawson Ice Arena — made the rounds online. WMU alum Jon Blackmore shared his opinion on Twitter and created a petition against the rebranding.
It was not time to evolve and what has been done is a devolution of 40+ years.
I hope leadership stops listening to people that clearly are not in touch with what @WesternMichU is all about.@Pres_Montgomery @WMUBroncos @WesternHerald @wmusocial https://t.co/NrZldLykug
— Ghost Bronco (@WMUGhostBronco) June 25, 2021
Proudfoot explained that the reason behind this move is to strengthen the WMU brand in hopes of attracting more students and donors. Despite the negative feedback, he said that the university is moving forward with the new logo.
“The thing about creative work, the thing about subjective work is, you’re going to have people who like the outcome and people who don’t like the outcome,” Proudfoot said.
The total cost for the rebranding will be $672,000. A majority of this budget will be used to update the signage along Stadium Drive and US Route 131.