Sunday, November 04, 2007

Branding Bascom Hall with a big red Dubya

It seems everything has to have a logo these days. For the University of Wisconsin, it's the big W on those red banners on and around 150-year-old Bascom Hall. Is it just me, or are they really as tacky as I think they are? Whether the apparent political reference is intended, or more likely, inadvertent, the banners certainly create a kind of visual pollution on Bascom Hill. Which is odd, since the University says it is "interested in maintaining an environment free of visual and environmental pollution." Here's what the banner guidelines in the University Facility Use Policies and Guidelines G-7 say:
The University of Wisconsin-Madison is interested in maintaining an environment free of visual and environmental pollution. This effort is supported by a University of Wisconsin-System policy that restricts the use of signs on the campus:


Institutional banners on poles or buildings on Bascom Hill are restricted to themes that represent the institution as a whole. The Chancellor's office will approve the use of institutional banners on Bascom Hill, as well as the time periods during which they may be displayed. University Communications will work with Campus Services regarding the set-up, take-down, repair and replacement of banners.
Do as we say, not as we do -- in other words, no visual pollution unless we do it ourselves. Apparently the University's own exercises in branding take precedence over aesthetics, a sense of history and the fight against visual pollution.

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