The University of Malta’s new semester kicked off yesterday with a rebranding exercise which saw a change in logo and typeface.
The logo, which the corporate guidelines describe as “a modern rendering of the original logo, whilst still retaining all of its classic features,” has already attracted online controversy. And it’s down to one particular classic feature which is missing; the Latin words written on the book.
The traditional motto read, “Ut Fructificemus Deo”, which means, “We should bring forth fruit unto God”. The elimination of the words instantly caught the attention of many people, including the Head of Department of the Faculty of Theology, John Berry.
“It’s pitiful that the words included in the traditional motto of our Alma Mater in the rebranding process of the University logo,” Berry said on a Facebook status on Monday. “I am in favour of renewal and progress, but against a cancellation of memory. May we change, but always be in touch with the institutional roots and history.” The post also came with four photos; the old and new University logos, along with a similar rebranding exercise by the University of Oxford, which had kept the original Dominus Illuminatio Mea motto.
John Berry’s post alone got over 150 reactions and nearly 30 shares in just over 12 hours, but his wasn’t the only public negative reaction to the University’s new rebranding.
“Just pictures seems to be just right and fitting for today’s approach,” another status read. “Next, an emoticon…” Others put up the now old (or, in their words, “real”) emblem of the University as a tribute of sorts.
“So the univeristy not only removed text from its logo,” one Facebook comment read. “It also removed text in the language that for the entire history of university education till the second part of the 20th century was the language of its instruction”
While the negative comments were certainly plenty, others welcomed the new, minimalist look that the University will be going for, also commenting on the fact that perhaps, including Latin and the word “God’ were a thing of the past.
“I don’t think anything was meant by it,” one person commented. “Just an effort to update the logo and old fashioned Latin writing obviously didn’t mesh, but people take the opportunity to politicize it.”
As the Department of Philosophy’s Professor De Lucca explained, however, the situation might not be as simple as many people are implying.
“As a matter of personal preference, I would have retained the motto in the logo,” he started. “However, I can see why this was done.” As De Lucca explained, the Latin words were never really in the ceremonial crest to begin with. “The University of Malta has both a crest and a logo, and the motto has been retained in the official crest,” De Lucca said. “It was only when a logo was produced (in the 1990s, I believe) that the words of the motto were included on the book. That logo, however, never replaced the official crest, even though the latter has sometimes (incorrectly) featured the motto in the book, unlike the original”.
De Lucca’s comment concluded by explaining that the crest will still be used during all official ceremonies of the University, as well as by the Office of the Rector.
The University of Malta’s rebranding exercise will gradually roll out in the coming days, and currently includes a new shade of red, new fonts (Cera PRO and Lato) and a new acronym – gone are the days of UOM, it’s now simply UM.
The University of Malta released corporate branding guidelines for their rebranding, a PDF file which it made available to anyone interested in learning more about the new face of the institution.
Meanwhile, strong conflicting opinions continue to surface. As one comment (which was instantly branded as sanctimonious) put it, “In an age where everyone makes it to Uni, God did not”.