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UNM unveils a proposed simplified new logo

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It’s red, it’s picture-free and it could be coming soon to a T-shirt near you.

The University of New Mexico on Friday revealed a proposed new logo, the latest step in a larger rebranding effort. The design features an interlocked “NM” set across a “U.” Pending approval by acting President Chaouki Abdallah, it would become the logo used on everything from signs and business cards to social media accounts and sweatshirts.

The current UNM logo

The current UNM logo

It would replace UNM’s longstanding logo featuring a shadowy Mesa Vista hall inside a red arch. Introduced in 1989, it has limited resonance: Just 65 percent of those surveyed in the UNM community last year could identify it, said John Benavidez. A principal lecturer in marketing at UNM’s Anderson School of Management, Benavidez chaired the committee that worked with Dallas-headquartered Torch Creative to develop the new logo.

Cinnamon Blair, UNM’s chief marketing and communications officer, said the Mesa Vista design is rarely found on merchandise like clothing and bumper stickers.

“When people are looking to show their school pride, they’re not looking to that mark, and that’s problematic,” said Blair, adding that it also did not reproduce well digitally.

The committee started working together in March 2016. Benavidez said members wanted something simple, bold, versatile and representative of the university and the community.

“It is very consistent with our brand messaging, ‘Each of us defines all of us,’ ” Benavidez said during Friday’s presentation. “We have three different letters coming together to define one university.”

In addition, he said the “U” reflects the statue outside Hodgin Hall, while the “M” intersects with the “U” in a subtle, Southwestern chevron pattern.

UNM has so far paid Torch Creative $11,125 to develop the logo, Blair said. If Abdallah approves, implementation should come at limited expense: Blair said UNM will phase it in gradually, updating materials like stationery only after running out of current supplies and replacing signs only as necessary.

While UNM will continue gathering logo feedback, Blair said Abdallah could approve the mark this summer for official rollout this fall.

Friday’s audience offered positive reviews.

“What I really like is the shape of it,” student Veronica Muñoz de la Cruz said, noting that it is not horizontal or squared like most letter marks. “It makes it unique and makes it stand apart.”

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