Our Deputy Director of Logo Development, Roger Placement, has raced to the defence of the University of Portsmouth, which has been criticised for spending £800,000 on an image and logo overhaul while at the same time cutting between 5 and 7 per cent from its departmental budgets.
Mr Placement pointed out that Portsmouth’s present logo, which appeared to depict a navy blue upturned shield bisected by a deep purple figure resembling a pregnant woman standing on one leg, was clearly “inferior work”.
In his opinion, Portsmouth would be getting “value for money” by spending a mere £515,000 on the replacement of signs bearing such an unfortunate logo and another £280,000 on the development of a brand-new version.
Did Mr Placement have any professional suggestions for the new Portsmouth logo?
“It’s important not to do anything too drastic. The University of Portsmouth is now recognised in some parts of Portsmouth by its distinctive, if incomprehensible, blue and purple logo. Perhaps that could be retained but be supplemented by a bold ‘V’ sign as an allusion to the presence in Portsmouth Harbour of HMS Victory.”
Might such a change compensate for the deterioration of the student experience caused by the departmental cuts?
“Well, I note that a spokesperson for Portsmouth has claimed that the university has ‘for far too long’ been ‘a hidden gem’. Nothing is more guaranteed to make that gem sparkle than a seriously overpriced rebranding exercise.”
NB: Mr Placement’s personal logo depicts a large amount of money disappearing down an open drain.
“Let’s not rush to judgement.”
That was the cautionary plea from Jamie Targett, our Director of Corporate Affairs, as more revelations emerged about the pay and expenses enjoyed by some of our leading vice-chancellors.
“It may be true”, admitted Targett, “that vice-chancellors and their senior colleagues claimed almost £8 million in expenses in the past two years. It may also be true that £1,600 of that figure was spent by the University of Surrey on relocating the incoming vice-chancellor’s pet Maltese dog Oscar from Australia.
“And it may also be true that Graham Galbraith, vice-chancellor of the logo-strapped University of Portsmouth, claimed £5,187.33 for flights and five nights at the five-star InterContinental hotel in Kuala Lumpur, while it does seem that Sir Keith Burnett, vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield, ran up £3,107.54 for a five-night stay for himself and his wife at a five-star hotel in Singapore.
“It does appear to be the case that vice-chancellors from Birmingham City, Bath Spa, Sussex and Hull were lucky enough last year to share nearly £1 million between them for doing nothing more arduous than leaving office.”
So wasn’t there a strong chance that those academics currently on the picket line who have received an average pay rise of 1 per cent over the past five years and face a £10,000 a year cut in their pensions might regard such excesses as deeply offensive?
Targett thought it important to keep a sense of perspective. “There are always compensating features. For example, I have it on reliable authority that Oscar was required to travel tourist class.”