In response to criticism that their new 'NorthStar' logo resembles a swastika, officials at Fanshawe College say they "regret that our logo has been misinterpreted in such a negative way."

The logo and a new slogan 'to educate, engage, empower and excite' were unveiled for the public on Wednesday, and the response on social media has been dominated by discussions of the logo's resemblance to the emblem of Germany's Nazi Party.

A statement released by Tony Frost, executive director of Reputation and Brand Management at Fanshawe College, goes on to explain the intent, origins and the process undertaken to select the new logo.

Officials say it builds on a logo introduced in 1981 with four stylized Fs that represent the four counties served by Fanshawe's campuses.

Frost said it is called NorthStar "because of its visual and symbolic resemblance to the star famous for helping generations of travellers find their way."

More than 6,000 people weighed in on the logo and in a survey of over 2,500 students, staff and alumni, NorthStar was preferred two to one over other concepts, including the old logo.

Frost added "When historical symbols change, it is reasonable to expect mixed reviews. While reaction to this change has been overwhelmingly positive, in recent days some have voiced concern that the logo may resemble a symbol of hate. This is a very serious claim and we regret that our logo has been misinterpreted in such a negative way.

"It is my hope that by learning the background behind the image, people will see the image in the spirit in which it was developed."