Fresno State launches new campus logo

Fresno State is launching an integrated marketing and communications initiative that incorporates a new logo, the university’s well-recognized dog-paw symbol and three words sharply defining the university and its mission of opportunity: Discovery. Diversity. Distinction.

While the formal name remains “California State University, Fresno,” the new logo embraces the popular name “Fresno State” in all references to the university and unifies campus entities with one graphic element.

 “We aren’t changing our name,” said Provost William Covino, co-chair of the university Integrated Marketing and Communications Steering Committee. “This initiative, instead, reflects and amplifies the positive reputation already established by our formal and informal names.”

The campaign was announced on campus at an event today, April 12. A flash mob of dancers amped up the energy level, accompanied by the Fresno State pep band and mascot Time Out. Banners bearing the new logo were unveiled and the new logo appeared on campus websites and on apparel available at the Kennel Bookstore or through the bookstore’s website

The logo’s distinctive new type font spells out Fresno State in the university’s traditional colors – red and blue.

A paw print connects the name with Fresno State’s most-recognizable symbol, the Bulldog, associated with the university as a whole, not just its athletics mascot. The paw print symbol is an established emblem used by the Fresno State Alumni Association, which has distributed thousands or paw-print pins that are proudly worn around the world.

President John D. Welty described the new logo as “an authentic representation of who we are at Fresno State. It will provide instant recognition and identification, build a strong identity and allow us to communicate with a consistent voice.”

The defining words – “discovery,” “diversity,” “distinction” – emerged from among dozens of words and phrases that embody the essence of the Fresno State academic experience as laid out in a new Strategic Plan for Excellence. “Focus groups frequently used those three words to describe the university,” said Shirley Armbruster, associate vice president for University Communications and co-chair of the Integrated Marketing Steering Committee.

Developing the new logo was a broadly inclusive process that relied on research data, surveys and focus groups involving approximately 2,500 faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni and community members, Armbruster said.

The initiative is the result of nearly three years of consideration. Meetings, focus groups, one-on-one interviews, information from other universities and from communications and marketing experts indicated that Fresno State needed a need a unified brand and image.

To minimize expenses, the university’s Integrated Marketing and Communications Council, representing constituencies across campus, and its Steering Committee did 100 percent of the work, guided by a consultant who is an expert in integrated marketing in higher education.

It would be typical for a university of Fresno State’s size and scope to hire an external consulting firm or marketing agency at a cost of $250,000 or more, Armbruster said. Instead, using a consultant provided experienced and professional guidance at minimal expense — $15,000 of non-state funds.

The new logo replaces more than 100 individual logos being used by different campus entities. It will become part of stationery, business cards, brochures and other printed, online and marketing materials, phased in as existing stock is exhausted, to minimize cost.

“We are especially sensitive to the cost factor, because of our current troubled budget situation,” said Covino, the university’s top academic official.

The steering committee asked a group of graphic design students to help, guided by campus Senior Graphic Designer Todd Graves and the Jeffrey Scott Agency, a local advertising, branding and marketing firm that provided free consulting on the project. The team created more than 50 variations that were tested in focus groups to determine the one best suited to advance Fresno State.

Associated Students Inc. President Selena Farnesi endorsed the Fresno State branding initiative, saying, “I love the idea of a campus-wide logo that is both professional and reflects school spirit and student life. It makes you feel good about being connected to Fresno State.”

For more information, contact Armbruster at 559.278-5292 or

Lanny Larson

written by

Editor, University Communications
  • Logo Snob

    meh. the thin font weight feels weak and leaves more to be desired. i actually like the old logo better.

  • DigsTheLogo

    I think it looks professional and really BRANDS our University. Everybody knows our U as FRESNO STATE. Only logical to make it official in everything Fresno State. I like this logo/brand ten times better than the whole sun engulfing the name with the official name under it. This one looks current and a lot more professional. Recruiting students, they will be able to recognize the name as opposed to seeing California State University, Fresno. Heck, even most people think our official name is Fresno State University (aka FSU) which would actually be a great idea should the U ever decide to break away from the CSU brand. Whatever the case, FSU, CSUF, CSU Fresno, Cal State Fresno, FS, etc. people and future alum know our University as FRESNO STATE and that will never change. Kudos to the entire U for the rebranding. In a time where Fresno State is currently switching athletic conferences (WAC to MWC..maybe even Big East) and now having 3 new coaches in Coach Terry, Coach DeRuyter, and Coach Pebley, Fresno State is positioning itself for more success in the future and more recognition with the new brand. To put in one sentence, good job Bulldogs. Keep up the good work.

  • Ouch

    Wow that’s bad. Fantastically poor font combination. Horribly unbalanced. Nothing is good about it.

  • No Bueno

    It doesn’t “look professional” because it lacks the word university. Fresno State is slang while California State University Fresno carries more prestige. It looks like a pop culture icon. I’m getting a degree not trying to look cool! 

  • Guest

    As a student I’m outraged I wasn’t consulted — since “university” has been removed and I certainly would like people to know I attended a university — not just some place in Fresno. This whole thing, especially how it’s been presented to students and staff is disgusting. Students are being asked to pay more (for a diploma that won’t even say University) and so many academic programs are cut, yet we can pay 15,000 for some company to come help us “market” ourselves better. WE AREN’T A BRAND. We’re a UNIVERSITY. Learning should be the primary objective, not this nonsense. Down with Welty and the other over-paid morons who continue to suck up money that should be for teachers. 

  • AVGee

    God forbid they use the word UNIVERSITY or COLLEGE in the logo. I don’t understand what about that concept John Welty fails to understand. It’s been his personal goal since he’s been at California State University, Fresno to OFFICIALLY change the name…something students AND faculty have REPEATEDLY voted down!

    Fresno is NOT a state.

  • dissappointed

    Another logo for the Bulldog gangs to use.

  • Katherine

    Would it hurt to say something positive for once rather that whine, whine, whine? These folks worked really hard and took on extra work to give Fresno State’s look a facelift. The sunburst logo was pretty dated. I’m sure if we did nothing you’d complain about that, too.

    Sure, the students have had it really hard since the budget cuts, but so have faculty and staff. They’re forced to do more with less everyday to try to meet the needs of students. As a former employee, I think it’s pretty snarky to pick on their hard work.       

    • Jeremiah Henry

       Indeed, there is a distinct difference between supporting the troops and supporting the war.

    • 808independent

      So if I paint your house bright pink with black stripes and you say you have an issue with it, I should say, “Geez. I worked really hard on this. Say something positive.” The sunburst was better than this, reflecting the valley and agriculture at least, versus a paw print, which represents what? Time Out? Stray dogs? Gangs?

  • Anonymous

    This new logo looks like something out of a bad commercial. Yes, everybody calls it Fresno State. That’s exactly the reason we don’t need a logo to bring us to the corporate world level. To me, this is on par with calling our University “The Bulldogs.” We are a part of the California State University system. The word University should always be in our logo, as should California. I would prefer “Cal State Fresno” over what we see in this new effort. It just demeans the academy taking us back to the 40s and 50s.

  • ivan

    I won’t repeat criticisms already made regarding wording, the sports symbol, the lack of consultation, the poor design, etc. My concern is that, in a time of severe budget constraints, we are once again engaging in woefully misplaced priorities. Spending $15,000 on this, plus “hundreds of hours” of consultation. Who knows who was consulted, but they should have been doing teaching and research rather than “re-branding” the university. It will make zero difference, but I guess it gives the army of administrators at CSUFresno something to do.

  • Hchapman

    Folks did put in unpaid work on this rebranding. In general, faculty and staff are asked to do more work all the time. What makes the rebranding a problem is the unprofessional look of the logo for academic purposes, such as writing letters of rec to serious institutions of higher learning/employers out of the area and handing out business cards when outside Fresno County. 

    Academic departments should have the option to choose the new logo or keep the old academic emblem [the sunburst is pretty rare on the academic side]. Some will find the new logo fresh and cheerful; others will be turned off by its lack of academic aura. Professors prefer to be associated with a “university,” as in the “California State University, Fresno.” Ultimately, departments should be allowed to choose.

  • Disgruntled Again

    Here are two more “D” words for the subscript:

    Disgusting. Because once again academic integrity is lost to vulgarity and crass pandering.

    Disaffection. Because that is what this little adventure in “branding” is likely to increase among serious faculty.

    Distraction. Because there are so many more important issues than this sideshow on which the Administration should be concentrating. 

    • Jessica Montanaro

       Right on. I had to leave Fresno State because they were cutting classes so badly, I probably would have never graduated. When you have a prerequisite for something, and it’s only offered one semester, AND it fills up before you’re even allowed to register for classes when you’re a current/active student, you’re not going to want to wait around to see if you get lucky a year later. Meanwhile, how much was the football coach making (a million?) and why do they have all this extra money to keep building crap like the covered parking spaces? Fresno State is less a school and more a business.

    • Disillusioned

      Well said! The claims and explanations provided for this “rebranding” is puzzling. I still don’t understand why “University” is not in the logo or in our name. Aren’t we a university? We are not a Save mart, right? Why should we shy away from calling ourselves a university? According to the new logo web page, the university seal can only be used at the university level (e.g. The President’s Office,…), which means faculty don’t have access to the seal print that symbolizes their work at an academic institution.  What an irony! I wonder whether I can borrow the university seal to cover the cat or dog paw print in the official letterhead when I send out a recommendation letter for my student?


  • Samgeev

    What can you say about a university whose logo is that of gangs?
    See gangs and paw print:
    See also Wikipedia under “paw print”:

    • Tom

      Exactly how is that the responsibility of Fresno State?  The fact that a bunch of idiot gang members have chosen to adopt the bulldog as their name has no bearing on FS.  Get real.   

  • Tom

    I don’t have a problem with the logo.  Incorporating the school seal would have been wise though.  In addition, is it possible for those responsible to use consistant colors or have the university colors been changed as well?  The shade of blue is incorrect. 

    With that said, there is a lack of consistancy on the university website with about 5 different shades of red and blue used in various capacities.  The administration must do a better job of overseeing these details if they are to be taken seriously from a branding perspective.  Otherwise, it is a waste.     

  • Tim

    The adoption of the pawprint of the athletics mascot and the name “Fresno State” as the “brand” for California State University, Fresno is a clear sign that the President believes thar athletics is more important than academics.  The devotion of this amount of time and resources toward this unneccesary project is further evidence that the President (and his 19 Vice-Presidents) do not consider academics to be the highest priority at California State University, Fresno.  Matbe that’s the reason that they want to leave the word “university” out of the name.

  • saddened faculty

    I am embarrassed by the new logo. It is seems as if it were designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator, it in no way represents the academic component of the university (where is the name “university?”), I would be embarrassed to send a grant letter or letter of reference on this stationary, it is not artistic in any way, it uses a gang symbol as its only precis right in the heart of where the gang is active, and as documented by a biologist on Craig Bernthal’s blog, the paw print is that of a FAT FAMALE CAT rather than of a Bulldog. The message? We aren’t a REAL university — where research (cat print versus dog print) matters. 
    This logo depresses me in part because it is symptomatic of how our university is now being run. They say they have consulted but the folks I spoke to who were “consulted” say this is a misrepresentation of the spirit of the term. It also reflects the corporate, rather than academic way of thinking that has become prevalent within the system and on this campus.  It’s “fun” feeling reflects what we now are — an assembly line where the number of units pumped out efficiently is more important than quality education. I am so saddened. 

  • CSU Alumni San Jose

    The “Fresno State” and “San Jose State” name are both terrible.  Why exclude a great name like “California State University” as part of your identity.    Join with San Jose alumni who want to change this.  See

  • Richard A. Murray

    It appears that there is a tendancy for people to criticize anything new. It is just seems like the thread here is to be negative, to jump on President Welty at any chance. I like the fact that the University is calling itself what the public and many graduates always consider the name of the institution to be. In any conversation I have had with friends and associates over the past 40 to 50 years is that I went to “Fresno State,” or “Did you hear about the impressive programs in early childhood education at “Fresno State?” I don’t believe that anyone has ever denied me a job or chose me last because I didn’t indicate that I graduated from Calfornia State University, Fresno. While I have placed the official title on my résumé, I only use that for official documents. I also want to point out to several writers who are worried about losing academic status from this “logo” business that they would be wise to use the proper spelling of stationery when trying to impress employers — otherwise they might find their career becoming stationary.

    I would also like to point out the massive number of higher education institutions around the country that are universities, but have chosen to be known in other ways: Georgia Tech, MIT, UCLA, Penn State, Texas Tech, Army, Rutgers, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Cal Poly, Texas A&M, Cal Tech, Indiana State, Montana State, SUNY, RPI, Cal Berkeley, Idaho State, Columbia, Kentucky, Vandy, Clemson, Princeton, Brown, Yale, Harvard, Purdue, NC State, Northeastern, Washington State, Cal Maritime, Colorado Mines, Drexel…this list goes on and on. The point here for California State University, Fresno is the fact that it is one campus among 22 others. Branding is all about distinction. It is valuable to be part of something huge, but primarily this is to enjoy the economics of scale. It doesn’t hurt for Fresno State to attempt to be distinctive and not lose the value of its academic credentials. You people who are critical of this initiative are majoring in minors. You need to see the glass half full for a change…

    My name is Richard A. Murray and I am proud to disclose my name in blogs such as these and it would be refreshing if others did the same and not hide behind their own ”logo.”

  • Taberfn

    Having worked and studied two years in France and in Germany, the use of the name “Fresno State University” brings a BLANK STARE.  Using “California State University, Fresno” has a response of “California” and it is the best California State University.  The same response is received when teaching twice in Africa and at ten universities in China.  Using CSU Fresno in the logo would also help the foreign student graduates when the return to their home countries.

    • Richard A. Murray

      I totally agree with you that the official name for Fresno State should remain in place and should be used when appropriate — such as the situations you describe. However, this does not necessarily mean that a “logo” with common usage is not also appropriate in those situations where it would apply — like in normal conversation. The beauty of it is each person can use the various names as fits their purpose. Richard A. Murray

    • tjfres

      Well, I’ve lived in Asia for the past 9 years and find the exact opposite to be true. While I’m not a big fan of the new logo, using the name “Fresno State” in casual conversation, whether discussing academics or sports, has never been an issue with me on this side of the planet, in terms of people not knowing what I was referring to.
      On paper and officially, California State University, Fresno is and should be the norm. Otherwise, I will stick with using “Fresno State” and know of a good many non-Americans who’ve attended the university that do the same. Whether you like it or not, “Fresno State” is a very strong brand.
      However, I would suggest that the univesity seal be incorporated into the new logo interchangeably with the “paw” along with the accurate shade of blue.
      Go ‘Dogs!!

  • The Complainer


  • 808independent

    This is an awful, horrifying logo. The paw print is ridiculous. It literally looks like a dog stepped on it. Since Time Out is now apparently the face of CSUFRESNO, why not go full throttle then and have a pile of dog feces on the logo too? Have you seen the recent UC logo? It is equally as awful. I don’t know who in marketing or at the university has the authority to change or authorize these things, but for the love of God, get rid of this wretched logo. At least get rid of the paw print. I can’t tell you how embarrassing this is.
    Someone should start an online petition against this logo. I never liked and never will. Stunned in disbelief that this was considered it!

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