University Brand: A Bold New Look

Branding FAQ

1. Why did Cal Poly Pomona change its logo?

There were several reasons for changing the university logo. One was its visual connection to the CLA Building, which will be vacated this year. Another was the opportunity to convey what it means to be a modern, diverse polytechnic university.

The previous logo prominently featured the CLA Building (the “pointy building”), which was constructed 25 years ago on an earthquake fault. Discussions about a new logo began several years ago after the CLA was designated for closure or demolishment. It did not make sense to have a logo associated with a shuttered building – further, rather than be identified with a single physical location, we believed strongly that our logo should reflect our collective institutional spirit and values.  

In addition, work on the Strategic Plan and the Academic Master Plan provided an opportunity to explore the meaning of a polytechnic education. Members of the university community identified eight specific elements of an inclusive polytechnic educational experience: Application of Knowledge; Creativity, Discovery and Innovation; Critical Thinking and Problem Solving; Diversity & Multidisciplinary Perspectives; Integration of Technology; Collaborative Learning; Community & Global Engagement, and Professional & Career Readiness. Those elements are now symbolically reflected in the new logo, which includes an-eight-sided octagon. The octagon shape has even further significance because it relates to our eight academic colleges that carry out our academic mission.

2. Who participated in the process?

The branding initiative was a campus-wide collaborative process launched a year ago that involved eight committees drawn from the university community: students, faculty, staff and alumni, including several with professional design and marketing backgrounds. The university partnered with a design agency to gather extensive data, create logo and seal options, and explore the choices that were most likely to move Cal Poly Pomona forward. Data from more than 10,000 interviews informed the process, as well as communication with various college advisory boards, and faculty and student groups.

3. Why is branding important to a university?

At Cal Poly Pomona, we have a unique approach to education and a compelling story to tell. We want our campus community, our alumni and the general public — employers, industry partners, community leaders, the business community, donors, prospective students and families — to view us as we see ourselves: a bold leader and innovator in higher education.

A strong brand identity represents our vision, spirit, energy and leadership in cultivating student success and transforming lives. We can use our brand to amplify our message when we meet with prospective students and families, raise money to support student scholarships and programs, secure new research funding, and attract new employers to recruit our students.

4. Why was the new logo selected?

We wanted to convey the vibrancy of our polytechnic educational experience, as well as the research and scholarly activity that make us an exceptional university. The new logo was selected because it reflects our vision to be an inclusive polytechnic university that embraces creativity, innovation and diversity.

The multifaceted octagon symbolizes the eight elements of an inclusive polytechnic education and the eight academic colleges. The arrow indicates movement and direction toward the future.

5. Why add a new color?

As we begin our 80th year, we reiterate our commitment to remaining connected to our heritage and preserving our history. We value our long-standing connection to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. And we continue to share much in common, including our Rose Float-building partnership and our agricultural foundation. The two campuses also share the colors green and gold, as well as a horse mascot.

As we began honing our identity, we kept our legacy colors, visible in the arrow portion of the octagon, but expanded our palette — adding blue — to distinguish ourselves as Southern California’s polytechnic university.

6. What about the Athletics logo and Billy Bronco?

The green and gold Bronco that represents our Intercollegiate Athletics remains unchanged. Billy Bronco is definitely here to stay.

7. Why change the seal?

With a new, forward-looking university logo, it was important that the seal convey Cal Poly Pomona’s unique history and importance to the Southern California region. It also reflects our academic mission and the excellence of our teaching, research and scholarly activity with the words: Creativity, Discovery and Innovation.

The previous seal was based on the ceremonial mace, which is sometimes mistaken for other objects. The Latin motto above the mace, “Instrumentum Disciplinae,” literally means “learning tool” but has been defined as “application of knowledge” and more loosely as “learn by doing.” We believe that the education provided at Cal Poly Pomona is much broader, with “application of knowledge” being one of the eight elements of our inclusive polytechnic model.