Mount Holyoke College Proposes, Then Scraps, New Logo

Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, hired a creative design firm for a new branding campaign. The effort included developing a new logo. The proposed logo shown here when turned on its side shows the Venus symbol of a circle with a cross below it that is often used to represent women. The design consultants had constructed the logo to show Mount Holyoke’s long-time dedication to women’s higher education.

But some members of the college community said that the logo was offensive to transgender students and graduates. After receiving feedback from the college community, Mount Holyoke asked the design firm to “develop a visual identity that could speak to the College’s identity as a gender-diverse women’s college.”

Charles L. Greene, vice president for communications at Mount Holyoke, issued a statement that said: “It is now evident to us that this symbol has a long history of exclusion connected to movements that, while trailblazing for some groups, represents the erasure of others. We have thus determined that the College cannot move forward with a word mark that references this symbol. While it is always disappointing to realize that our creative work has not achieved its goals, it is deeply upsetting to realize that the work is seen as offensive and damaging.”

Green added that “our team is going to take a step back in the design process, both to more fully engage the community in a conversation about what it means to be a gender-diverse women’s college and to re-envision the ways in which we solicit feedback and participation in the design process.”

Filed Under: Women's Colleges


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