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UNH's logo: Hip ... for now

The University of New Hampshire has a new logo. If there were a superhero called Captain New Hampshire, it would fit perfectly on the chest of his blue tights. Maybe the logo itself has super powers, like the power to lure university-shopping high school students by the simple beauty of its two block letters. For what the university spent, we hope it does.

UNH stirred up a lot of emotions last year when it confirmed that it had hired a New York City marketing firm to design a new logo to replace the old one, which featured the Thompson Hall cupola. (The new logo is not one of that firm's designs.) The old one might not have been hip enough for today's high school students, but it communicated a great deal of information about UNH. It told prospective students: Here is a university that has been around a long time, that is proud of its traditions and accomplishments, and that is a well-established institution from which they would be proud to graduate.

What information does the new logo communicate? What does it tell the prospective student about UNH?

Separated from the words "University of New Hampshire," the shield with NH on it looks like the logo for a computer security company. Or maybe a hospital or tool manufacturer (Nashua Hospital? National Hardware?)

It's a nice looking logo. It is clean with sleek lines and an instantly recognizable image. But gone is any connection to UNH's past. A modern take on the UNH seal might have been less fashionable, but it would have connected UNH's great traditions to its future. This looks like the logo for an online university or pest control company.

Fourteen months and tens of thousands of dollars were spent to get a hip new logo. How long until its hipness wears off and UNH needs to replace it, probably at twice the price?

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