Jump to navigation
You are here:
* National Service is Everybody's Business (1993)* The Spirit of Invention (1994)* The New Home of the National Yiddish Book Center (1994)* Hampshire Graphic Identity Program (1994)National Service is Everybody's Business
by Gregory S. Prince, Jr., Wall Street Journal, August 13, 1993
Congress is close to passing President Clinton's national service bill. Under the proposed National Service Corporation, young people who agree to work in community service can receive up to $110,000 to pay for college. Ideally, the program will help restore to the fabric of our society the understanding that helping others is an important and valued endeavor.
At Hampshire College, we share the president's commitment to public service. Since the college's founding, students have been required to engage in some form of public service during their studies here. We also believe that Washington can't and shouldn't be solely responsible for national service programs. The whole nation should be involved--state and local governments, private organizations, universities and colleges. We too should serve. In that spirit, Hampshire College's Board of Trustees has voted that the college will match--dollar for dollar--the national service scholarships of students who attend this school. Simply put we will double national service scholarships.
Hampshire would also like to encourage--dare we say challenge?--other colleges and universities to establish similar matching programs for National Service Corporation Scholarships.
Not only can this commitment enhance higher education's service to the nation, but it can also become an invaluable part of a young person's education. It can provide a set of goals; it can impart a sense of shared concern more powerful than anything they can read in a book; it can provide money for school for students who desperately need it. Equally important, public service, if the funding and commitment are real, can be an effective way to address many of the problems facing our society.
We've seen all of this first-hand at the Five Colleges, a group of schools in western Massachusetts committed to innovation and a wide vision of education. Each year, the public service projects undertaken by our students--at Amherst, Mount Holyoke, Smith and Hampshire Colleges and at the University of Massachusetts--fill hundreds of pages. We know that, given opportunity and encouragement, young men and women are eager to serve their community and their country.
At the Five Colleges, community service takes many forms: working in health clinics on preventive care; planting and harvesting crops for the Western Massachusetts Food Bank to feed the hungry of the Pioneer Valley; teaching English to immigrant families seeking better lives in our state. The examples go on and on. But no matter the form of service, the lesson is clear: The young will invest their time and efforts--their inherent energy, enthusiasm and creativity--to solve the problems of their communities.
Hampshire College opened its doors in 1970, shortly after Robert Kennedy wrote that "at the most simple and direct level, the contributions of young people are needed by the nation." Those words are as true today as they were amid the promise and pain of the 1960s. Therefore, Hampshire is ready to enlist in national service, to give to it and not just receive from it. Higher education as a whole can do no less.
TO: Greg Prince, PR
FROM: Kelley Piccicuto, DOF
DATE: December 20, 1994
RE: Hampshire's New Graphic Identity
Just a few thoughts on the new design...
Although you began your presentation on the 13th with the statement that this was a good time to change the Hampshire identity regardless of our present fiscal situation, I want to register my opposing thoughts on the matter. It seems to me there are so many other more important places we could be spending our money. The new publications look terrific but I think we should have stopped there. In fact if we had used the tree symbol on the new publications there would have been the added benefit of instant identification for those people already acquainted with Hampshire's established symbol.
All office personnel in charge of ordering supplies should have been warned well in advance that the graphic identity was being changed. It was not necessary to surprise people on campus. Had people been warned in a timely fashion we may have saved quite a bit of money in supplies and stationery orders. The laureate laid paper is expensive scrap. The need for the new stationery to work with window envelopes might have been considered had the people who work with the stationery been brought into the process earlier.
The use of colors is another expense I am not convinced we need at this time. Melissa stated in her presentation that we would only use the colored letterhead "for important correspondence" since it is so expensive. If we cannot afford to use the letterhead in its best possible form than we should have designed a letterhead we can live with comfortably.
I agree the negative H is bold but it has no relationship with Hampshire. If you have to explain the four colors and the four institutions you lose what you want out of a symbol: recognition and connection. The H looks too industrial and many people cannot see the H without coaching and/or explaining; again not what I would call an effective logo. The type face is too small. Losing an inch and a half on the left will result in more two page letters (not a huge problem but a hassle for us in the trenches).
You spoke about how we are just now reaping the benefits of additional national recognition. This seems to me to be exactly the wrong time to drop our traditional, recognizable symbol and switch to something so different. We could have done something "bold" WITH the tree perhaps. We could have opened up the quest for a new identity to our present students, faculty, staff and alumnus. We could have taken the best of those ideas to North Charles Street design for their take on what would work best with our new publications thus eliminate the possibility of a popularity contest.
The identity announcement party did not seem the appropriate time to bring up my concerns. When questions regarding the practical side of this switch arose we were invited to eat cake. In the past you expressed an interest about hearing what is being said in the corridor after the meeting and some of these sentiments have been spoken in many corridors and offices.
DATE: January 4,1995
TO: Kelley Piccicuto
FROM: Gregory S. Prince, Jr.
SUBJECT: Hampshire's New Graphic Identity
Thanks for your thoughts on the new design. Please feel free to share this response to some of your concerns with others who are "talking about it in the hallway."
Evidence exists among higher education institutions, as well as in the marketplace in general, that graphic identities make important statements to key audiences. In Hampshire's case, that key audience is first and foremost prospective students and a larger community of alumns, donors and potential donors. This audience drives the system, and, in order to reach it, we were urged by professionals to adopt a uniform, comprehensive graphic identity for internal and external publications as well as stationery. I was persuaded by this argument, for I was convinced that our admissions material had a "Victorian" sensibility and that they would not be well received by high school students. I was equally convinced that, having begun the process, uniformity and coherence were important.
The goal of our graphic identity program is to have a geometric shape become associated with Hampshire. We have not eliminated the tree; it remains Hampshire's symbol. We now have greater flexibility and leeway for creativity for banners and for other ways of having the institution presented graphically and symbolically. The sense of spatial playfulness that comes from the "H" shape, moreover, appeals to me.
Using the logo on the left does take space, however, I think letters are more readable with more space and printing looks much cleaner. The real pressure will be for authors to make sure their letters do not exceed one page. I certainly am one who is going to be affected by that pressure, since I am not known for my succinct memos and letters. The pressure for all of us to become more succinct will be useful.
Adopting a new graphic identity is a traumatic experience for any institution, and a "new look" is often initially unpalatable simply because it is new. I ask that you give the "H" some time. I would also ask that you please share your technical concerns with Nancy Sherman and Melissa Stephen in the publications office; Nancy and Melissa will provide you with the kind of technical response I cannot.
Thanks for writing.
TO: Greg Prince, PR
FROM: Kelley Piccicuto, DOF
DATE: January 11, 1995
While I wholeheartedly agree our Admissions materials needed to be upgraded to attract the best possible candidates to Hampshire College, I am unconvinced we needed to spend the extra money to change the logo and the stationery. I do not see the significance or the benefit of a "geometric shape." In contrast I see obvious gains in continuing to use the tree symbol which has valuable recognizability locally and nationally.
Where you see "spatial playfulness" others just don't get it. In a completely unscientific survey of people not connected with the college, an overwhelming majority do not see the "H" never mind make a connection with our institution.
Adopting a new graphic identity should not have been this traumatic. The process was flawed. Furthermore, I think it is a mistake to dismiss our concerns as simple resistance to change. A change for the better is one thing, a change for the worse is yet another.
s for giving the "H" some time, I contend this is nothing one tries for a while. Logos and identities are slow growing and to suggest we try this for a period of time and perhaps switch back is foolish and wasteful.
The entire exercise is especially troubling to me after serving on the latest Budget Task Force. Those discussions were painful and difficult. To now see money wasted on seemingly unnecessary expenditures is hard to swallow.
I have shared your memo of January 4th to a number of staff and faculty. They too are unconvinced of the need to switch identities at this time.
Ultimately this is your decision and I guess at this point we just agree to disagree. Thanks for taking the time to write.