This week, McMaster unveiled its latest project — a university flag.

The university already has a logo, slogan, colours, but was always lacking the presence of a waving banner. In response to this missing element, President Deane arranged for his office to draft a design of the flag and pass it through a few university groups including media personnel from his office and the Board of Governors.

The flag went through a few stages before being finalized, and after some debate, the final product is a maroon background with the school crest and “McMaster” written beneath it in a serif font.

It’s not bad, but it isn’t great. As a university with close to 30,000 students and access to a variety of design-related resources, the flag is disappointing — even more so when you think about the time and effort that went into its creation.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as big a fan of Microsoft Paint as the next person, but when you have a student body filled with talented individuals who could create something iconic and timeless, yet you choose to work internally and mostly independent of the students to create a lackluster product, it seems like a very myopic decision.

This new flag came about as a way to meet a certain university standard. One that many other schools live up to with a prominent and noticeable brand. McMaster has the ability to create an image for itself that entices students and represents its creative and innovative population. Instead, it chose to work without students and create an image that falls behind the progress of the school.

And while we’re on the topic of Mac’s branding not mirroring the student population, I think now is also a great time to bring up our slogan.

McMaster’s Greek motto reads, “Ta panta en Christoi synesteken,” or in English, “All things cohere in Christ.” While McMaster’s Baptist history is important, it is no longer relevant. I mean no disrespect to our Christian students and staff, but a motto that essentially translates to “Jesus powers this school” is not the most representative of our student — or staff — population. It’s another element of the university brand that could be changed, but isn’t being addressed the right way.

It’s exciting to see that the president and the university want to revamp the school’s branding to reach its full potential, but it would be nice if our potential-reeking student body could be included as part of these decisions when it could be of use.


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