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University of Copenhagen
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We showed the University of Copenhagen logo to people on the street. Did they recognise it?

Vox populi — The university has scrapped the faculty logos and now focusses on a wine-red, royal logo. But can people, walking right past the front door, recognise it?

The University of Copenhagen has recently scrapped a whole range of logos and will now only market itself with its wine-red logo with King Christian III on it.

This is what we did:

We asked 12 people: Do you know this logo? And if you don’t, can you figure out which organisation or company it symbolizes? Here, below is the round logo we showed them.

We did a man-on-the-street interview series among the people who walk past the university’s main doorstep on Frue Plads. It indicates that few of the passers-by recognise the logo as the University of Copenhagen.

Like a couple of street vendors, we stand on the corner of Kystalgade and Fiolstræde at the old university library. We have printed out the round royal logo (minus the two blobs, the horizontal line and the UNIVERSITY of COPENHAGEN text) on an A4 sheet, which we present to people who are on their morning walk.

READ ALSO: »Farewell to the dove and the serpent, the man and the linden worm – now there is only one logo at the University of Copenhagen«

Most people speed up and rush past us with their faces turned away, with a negative expectation that we will somehow sell them something. But we manage to talk to twelve people.

The church, the police – or the University of Copenhagen?

First off are two pensioners Jonna Kær (81) and Gerda Jensen (85).

»No,« they both respond when we show them the logo before they continue: »We have never ever seen this before.« They give up on giving a shot at what it could symbolize.

The next to talk are a couple of parents on a trip into town with their children Elliott and Astrid. Their mum is Sidsel Rud, 32 years old and MSc Economics and Business Administration.

»No, I don’t know the logo, but is it something to do with Denmark and Sweden, because there are lions and a royal crown in it?« she reasons.

Her husband, David Pelesic (38), is a trained butcher and has not seen the logo before, but says that his first thought is that it could have something to do with the church or the police.

Sidsel Rud is offered a guess and hits the nail when she says: »Is it the University of Copenhagen?«

Doesn’t associate the king and the lions with anything

The next person to stop is Maria Enevoldsen, a 23-year-old who is ‘in between things’ as she says in terms of employment.

She hasn’t seen the logo before either, but takes note of the king and the three lions. It just doesn’t lead to any immediate associations.

Kostas Katsines (photo to the right) is studying 3D graphics at the True Max Academy and is blunt in his reply:

No. I don’t know what it is, and cannot guess what it is,« he says.

Didde Larsen, 20, who works in a clothes shop, does not know the logo or gets anywhere close to the University of Copenhagen when she guesses.

»I know the lions. It looks like something royal,« she says.

Journalist gets a bullseye

More fortunate is Elizabeth Sand, 27. She has a degree in journalism, but is on maternity leave and is out on a walk with her pram.

»Is it not something to do with law – and the University of Copenhagen?« she asks and then discloses that she has just read an article in the University Post via Facebook about how the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) is merging all the faculties’ logos into one.

Analysis leads to the right answer

Ester Gregersen (right), 70, has a magisterial degree in sociology, and takes plenty of time to scrutinise the graphics and text.

»No. I don’t know what it symbolizes,« she says at first, but then adds that »it’s something to do with Copenhagen, because it says ‘Hafniensis’.«

When she hears the right answer, she lets out a sigh of regret:

»So it is the University of Copenhagen … and I’ve even studied there and probably had the logo on my identification card,« she says.

She thinks that the logo signals the past, even though the university probably wants to do the opposite, as she says.

Frederik Kaptain (on the right) is 25 and a project manager at the Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper. He has never seen the logo before, but then sets off on an analysis that ends at the jackpot:

»What does it say in Latin? … Hafniensis … and then there is a year? It must be a faculty at the University of Copenhagen,« says Frederik Kaptain, who works in marketing and is trained to look at logos.

Recognizes the king’s logo … almost

Mikkel Littau, 22, is studying at Roskilde University (RUC), but is planning to switch to history at the University of Copenhagen this summer.

»This looks like it has something to do with the Danish parliament. I haven’t just seen the constellation before. Is this an old logo?« he asks.

When he gets the right answer, he says that he knows the logo, but that he is accustomed to seeing it with the two round bubbles and the line below, where it states UNIVERSITY of COPENHAGEN.

Mikkel Littau
image: Anders Fjeldberg
Nicolai Nordentoft
image: Anders Fjeldberg

Nicolai Nordentoft, 31, is on parental leave from his job as senior analyst at Danske Bank. He also gives up on the logo.

»I don’t know what it is,« he says, and when he is asked to guess, he answers: »Is this something to do with royalty or the judiciary?«

When he gets the right answer, he says: »It doesn’t suggest education.«

Translation: Mike Young