Sure, a logo by itself does not define or create an identity, but in the case of the recently unveiled University of Hawaii logo, one that cost the state taxpayers a whopping $81,000, the logo does not help the University’s identity in any way and in fact creates more negatives for the institution.

Forget for a moment these ninnies at the University went all the way to ”’Baltimore,”’ for heaven sake, to get a logo for ”’Hawaii,”’ so acute is the severity of their cultural amnesia.

Forget even that both designs selected as finalists are chicken skin UUU-UUU-UGLY. If you can manage it, even forget we live in a state of stunning beauty, literally bursting with local artistic talent.

The real story is this. The current U.H. logo flap has elevated form over substance to the extent one has to question if there is ”’any”’ substance whatsoever at U.H.

As the Honolulu Advertiser, in a recent editorial, opines, it’s a matter of priorities: First devise a product, then brand it.

It calls to mind nothing so much as a classic Monty Python sketch recapitulating the history of manned flight. Time after time some courageous would-be aviator (complete with leather flying helmet, white scarf and goggles) is seen jumping off a cliff madly flapping his arms as he falls to his death screaming “Aaaaaaargh!” … followed by a juicy Monty Python splat on the rocks below.

Then, like the University of Hawaii “branding” team, some daring pioneer comes up with a brilliant notion — the modern airport passenger terminal. As a result of this technological break-through, well dressed travelers are later seen waiting sedately in luxurious chairs for their flight to be announced listening to canned music echoing throughout a cavernous air terminal.

Next, files of orderly passengers que up at the gate where they are lead to a cliff and we see again the familiar “Aaaaaaargh!” — splat sequence.

Advice to the University of Hawaii? Back to the drawing board. Monty Python was funny. Pitiful is not the same as funny.

Prediction? This branding humbug ain’t gonna fly.

”’Thomas E. Stuart is a resident of Kapaau, Hawaii, and can be reached via email at:”’



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Hawaii Reporter is an award-winning, independent Hawaii-based news and opinion journal founded in 2001 and launched in February 2002. The journal's staff have won a number of top awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including the top investigative news reporting awards, business reporting awards, government reporting awards, and online news reporting awards.