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The New School Considers Changing its Name in Rebranding Effort

By Aidan Gardiner | May 13, 2014 8:45am | Updated on May 13, 2014 10:11am
 The university might rename itself by next year as part of a comprehensive rebranding, a source said.
The university might rename itself by next year as part of a comprehensive rebranding, a source said.
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DNAinfo/Heather Holland

MANHATTAN — The New School has launched a comprehensive rebranding campaign that could rename the entire university by next year, a school source said Monday.

The university, which adopted the moniker The New School in a 2005 branding effort, began researching its current brand's effectiveness last year and has hired a firm that could propose new designs and logo ideas by the fall, a source said.

A university spokesman confirmed Tuesday that there have been talks during the rebranding process about changing the school's name, but added that it was too early in the process to say whether the change would take place or if so what the name would be.

He denied a report that administrators were considering renaming The New School after Parsons, which is known around the world as a premier design school and host to the popular show "Project Runway."

Administrators at The New School, which was founded in 1919 by progressive educators, hope to unveil a new identity for the school to compete with more well-known institutions like New York University, but also to reflect internal changes at the school, a source said.

Administrators have also long known that The New School name is far less recognizable than its fashion and design school.

The New School adopted its current name and identity in 2005 when then-president and former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey launched his own effort with the design firm Siegel and Gale to brand the university as one institution rather than eight separate schools.

The result of Kerrey's rebranding was eight cumbersome names like Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts.

Many said the 2005 identity felt forced, didn't accurately reflect the culture of the school and was confusing, a school source said.

Kerrey left the school in 2011 and was replaced by David Van Zandt, who came from Northwestern's law school and promised more a data-driven and inclusive leadership style.

Last year, the school hired a research firm that, over a period of about five months, interviewed prospective students and their parents along with current New Schoolers, a source said.

The school will draw from the data collected for its forthcoming rebranding, a source said.