What’s in a logo?
What do you notice about this collection of university logos (not assembled at random)?
I suspect some would argue that logos are a trivial way of presenting a higher education case, but in education as in other areas of life communication is vital, and a logo supports (or at least can support) communication.
Ten years ago, just after I took up office as President of Dublin City University, I decided that DCU’s then logo was not an ideal tool for helping to communicate the university’s mission and strategy. Mindful also of the fact that design consultants can charge a small fortune to come up with a logo, I invited a small number of firms to put forward proposals, but with the condition that the final result must not cost more than £5,000. At that time, most university logos were still old-style crests, and I asked that the new logo must look quite different, and that it must be simple and instantly stand out in a collection of universities. The result is contained in the above collection, and while I am obviously biased I feel still that DCU’s logo serves its purpose extemely well.
The apparent new standard of university logos, as the above examples show, appears to be some kind of image or crest alongside a perhaps slightly stylised printed name of the institution. Or just occasionally you get a design that is impossible to grasp at all unless you already know it, such as the logo of the University of Goettingen, middle bottom. I am not wholly sure that the new standard, however, serves any great purpose.
In the end I believe that a good logo that attracts attention easily and that has been well received by the university’s staff and students can help create a sense of community; not on its own, but as a support. I believe the DCU logo has done that, and that it has helped the university’s communication efforts. But then again, I would say that.