The logo designs of colleges and universities can take many different forms. They were designed to be symbols of the characteristics that describe their institutions best: honor, excellence, tradition, pride, and the pursuit of knowledge, among others.
These universities were formed at different times, borrowing artistic influences from their respective time periods. This resulted in university logos and symbols with vastly different designs, with each their own unique meaning and history.
In this article, we’ll show you 30 university logo design examples so you can be inspired when you start your own logo design project.
Harvard’s logo, called The Harvard “arms,” is composed of a crimson shield and the Latin word veritas (meaning “truth”) spread among three open books.
Simple and straightforward, Stanford University’s logo only uses its name in Stanford Cardinal Red as its wordmark logo.
Composed of red and gray square and rectangular blocks, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s abstract logo forms its initialism “MIT.”
Exuding history and regality, Columbia University uses a traditional pictorial logo depicting the King’s Crown in Columbia Blue.
The University of California, Los Angeles uses a lettermark logo that spells out its initialism “UCLA” on top of a calming UCLA Blue backdrop.
Rich with meaning, the University of Pennsylvania’s logo is a combination of many different elements: the white shield, the Gules Red chief, the Azure Blue chevron, two open books, the dolphin from Benjamin Franklin’s coat of arms, and the three white plates from the Penn family’s coat of arms.
Princeton University’s logo is a black and Princeton Orange shield with an open bible with the Latin words vet nov testamentum (meaning “old and new testaments”) and a black chevron that represents the university’s pointed rafters.
Cornell University’s logo is a simple emblem that depicts two shields and an open book within a larger shield. The outer circle of the emblem bears the name and the foundation year of the university.
New York University’s pictorial logo depicts a white torch taken from one of New York City’s most iconic landmarks, the Statue of Liberty, on top of an NYU Violet background.
The University of Chicago’s logo was derived from the university’s coat of arms: a maroon shield with a white blazing Phoenix and an open book that contains the Latin motto crescat scientia vita excolatur (meaning “let knowledge grow from more to more, and so be human life enriched”).
The Johns Hopkins University logo is a deep Heritage Blue shield divided into three main components: an open book for knowledge, a globe for worldwide excellence, and Lord Baltimore’s crest for its connection to the community.
With deep heraldic roots, the University of Southern California’s logo is a shield bearing 3 torches for learning the arts, the sciences, and philosophy, and the setting sun of the West, seen at Southern California’s coast.
The University of Michigan’s letterform logo is a bold letter M for Michigan in Maize Yellow, on top of a blue background.
Brown University’s logo is a shield with 4 open books for learning and the red St. George cross. Above it is the cloud of ignorance and the sun of knowledge.
Full of history, the Rice University logo is a navy blue shield containing 3 Athenian owls and 2 white Chevrons from the Rice and Houston families’ coats of arms.
Georgetown University’s logo is full of details alluding to American history. Its most prominent features are the eagle that holds a globe for knowledge and a cross for Christianity in its talons and the Latin words utraque unum (meaning “both are one”) which signifies that the two can co-exist.
This particular version of the University of Washington’s logo is a purple stacked signature composed of the letterform W and the wordmark of the University of Washington.
The University of Texas at Austin’s logo is a Burnt Orange shield with an open book, the Texan star, and 18 leaves that represent the university’s 18 colleges and schools.
The Emory University’s logo is a shield in Emory Blue bearing a torch and a trumpet which mean the discovery and proclamation of knowledge respectively.
The Washington University in St. Louis logo is what you get when you quite literally combine Washington’s coat of arms and St. Louis’s fleur-de-lis symbol.
The University of Rochester logo is a Rochester Blue and Dandelion Yellow shield that contains the three symbols: open book for the arts and sciences, the lyre for music, and the caduceus for medicine, and the motto MELIORA.
The Vanderbilt University logo is the letter V for Vanderbilt with the negative space taking the shape of an oakleaf and an acorn.
Georgia Institute of Technology only uses the Georgia Tech wordmark in its logo and the icon of the Kessler Campanile sculpture in Tech Gold.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign logo is a simple letterform of the letter I for Illinois in Urbana Orange and blue.
Dartmouth College’s logo is the letter D in Dartmouth Green with its negative space taking the shape of a tree called the Lone Tree, where senior Dartmouth students used to gather.
The University of Notre Dame logo is a shield in Notre Dame Blue that contains several symbolic elements such as the open book for knowledge, the Latin words vita dulcedo spes (meaning “our life, our sweetness, our hope”), the Catholic cross, the waves for the university lakes, and the star for Our Lady, Star of the Sea.
The Stony Brook University, State University at New York logo is a shield in Stony Brook Red with a lone white star and 5 white rays that represent Stony Brook’s 5 schools.
Pennsylvania State University’s logo is an interesting one because it depicts a “Nittany lion” (which doesn’t exist) in 3 different kinds of blues: Nittany Navy, Beaver Blue, and Pennsylvania Sky.
The Boston College logo is a seal containing a shield with 2 crowns from the Boston, England coat of arms, the badge of the Society of Jesus, an open book with the Greek words for “Ever to Excel,” and 3 mountains for Tremont, Boston’s former name.
The University of Maryland’s logo is simply the State of Maryland’s flag in globe form.
These university logo designs take inspiration from many different sources: their origin, history, heritage, location, values, and identity. It’s about applying the traits that make your brand distinct to your logo design that makes it truly effective.
Graphics Zoo’s team of graphic designers have years of experience in logo design making that can help you in making your institution its own logo design. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org