Being Emotionally Stupid about Logos & Structures

06 Apr,2022




By Sanjeev Kotnala


Sanjeev KotnalaIt is a late realisation. I have been stupid and emotionally biased like a classical armchair activist while commenting on IIMA’s attempt to redevelop old structures. How silly and self-centred I was! My alma mater, ‘The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad’, planned demolishing or replacing old Loui Khan-designed dorms with a new structure. At that time, it was painful for me to think of the campus without those beauties. But have they not outlived their extended life and could no longer be restrengthened? In fact, they were safety hazards.


There was a suggestion, and I endorsed it. Why not make the new structure keeping the old façade. Simple solution. Quite stupid, really. The old dorms were designed in a different era, when student’s and institute’s needs, desires and ambitions were different. The students and faculty were happy walking on Stanford Ramp, climbing Harvard Steps or crisscrossing the Loui Khan Plaza. With time, the new campus developed. It was a concrete structure. It used the current technology and newly defined dreams, aspirations, and needs of the students, faculty, and the institute.


The alumni and faculty lobby were against the change. For the alumni, it is the famed pallu of Indian mothers. They deservingly draw much strength from the established imagery of IIMA and thus change is simply unacceptable.  Why get emotional about such things. Why can’t we accept that things will not be the same?



The story is repeating itself with a proposed logo change. Most brands have undergone logo changes to revitalise and contemporarise and to reflect the changing world culture. Many of the alumni who are raising their voice against the IIMA logo change have changed logos across products and services in their professional life. But the IIMA logo is the Holy Cow! It has a different emotional connection and recognised worldwide. In truth, the association is with IIMA, the name. and outside academics, the jaali and the Sanskrit words under the current logo may not be well-established.


The voices are questioning a lack of inclusiveness and transparency. How can they forget that management and marketing by nature is non-democratic? Someone must stick the neck out, take a call and move on. Logo and identity change need not be an all-inclusive process, and every stakeholder need not be engaged and involved.


I would like to think that IIMA Board has followed the process. And if that is right, the rest of us should live with the decision and move-on. The institute for long has been in the news for unwanted reasons.


Management, including marketing, is all about taking an open-eyed conscious decision with the available information and moving on. No one knows if the decision will be right or wrong.  And the voices can also not guarantee that their decision would be the right one.


Some stakeholders are hell bent on stopping institute from taking decisions and I find no difference between them and the opposition in national politics or the farmers at the Delhi border. The agenda is simple, oppose whatever is done.


Change is a constant, biases are permanent, and evolution is part of the process. But no, the voices forget it all. They show great lapse of rational and logical thinking the institute is known for.


I suggest let’s move on. If there is a constructive, positive suggestion or recommendation, table it at the proper forum but be willing to accept the decision, even if it goes against them.

I, for one, refuse to continue evaluating with emotional bias.  I realise I am not even a close stakeholder. After commenting the last time, I have not even tried to find out the status.


The realisation was complete last Saturday. The class of ’87, IIM Ahmedabad, met online to discuss 35th reunion at the alma mater. I realised,the reunion is about memories and meeting friends. The institute is a small but integral part of it. It does not matter where the reunion happens if the batchmates enjoy their togetherness. There is nothing great about reunion at the institute. Why get emotionally drained at the not-so-well-kept dorms? Why experience the alienating concrete campus at IIMA? Why wander around like in an open zoo with hardly anyone knowing you?


The truth is, we stick to groups made of memories. The institute is just the foundation of such groups.  If you understand ‘Na mano Toh Pathar – Mano Toh Bhagwan’, you will understand the utter nuisance and emotional stupidity in case of the Loui Khan designed dorms and the logo.



Personally speaking– I find there is no need to change the logo. The new proposed one (as shared in WhatsApp group) are chunkier and lack the grace. There is no need to have different logo for national and international markets.



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