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Brooklyn College President: Logo Too 'Phallic-Looking'

Brooklyn College President: Logo Too 'Phallic-Looking'

Karen Gould, who became the president of Brooklyn College in 2009, decided when she took over that the Brooklyn College school logo was too “phallic looking.” The logo was a silhouette of the La Guardia Hall tower, which has a dome at the top of it.  Gold arrived at Brooklyn College after leaving her job as provost of California State University, Long Beach. 

It’s a good thing Gould doesn’t represent the Vatican.

Gould approved the spending of $107,000 to create a new logo, hiring an outside firm, Neustadt Creative Marketing, to do so. She could have asked the college’s fully staffed in-house design studio to replace the La Guardia logo they created 10 years ago for free. One employee remarked, “She had a whole creative-services area at her beck and call.” Just months after Gould took the helm of the institution in 2009 as its first woman president, the college hired Baltimore-based Neustadt Creative Marketing to draft a new logo and redo the Web site.

The new logo features “Brooklyn College” in large type, with “The City University of New York” in smaller type. The process of selecting the firm to design a new logo was interesting; there was no bidding process and Gould did not solicit proposals for a replacement. Neustadt Creative Marketing boasts on its website, “We replaced a logo that highlighted the campus clock tower with a fresh, youth-oriented design that would help the college stand out in the brand chaos of New York City.”

Gould apparently wanted to make sure the new symbol would not be abused; Brooklyn College published a 29-page “Visual Identity System” to inform others exactly what the rules were for using it, stating that the “letter forms have been sculpted specifically for Brooklyn College . . . designers should never attempt to redraw or reset them.” Gould herself wrote in the manual that the new logo was a “critical tool for our college to communicate effectively with local, regional, national and international audiences.”

Barbara Winslow, an associate professor in the School of Education, was excited and found her juices flowing in an email to the college communications department after the logo was created, writing, “Can you send me a copy of the new Brooklyn College logo? We want to make a Women’s Studies banner, and want to use the not-so-phallic logo.”

College spokeswoman Keisha-Gaye Anderson asserted that the $107,000 did not come from taxpayers or tuition, but would not reveal where the funding came from. She wouldn’t reveal why Neustadt Creative Marketing was chosen instead of the in-house design studio. 

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