Shield - Strength
The shield represents the shield of faith and academic strength.
Crown - Jesus Christ
The crown communicates that we are under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Additionally, the color and shape of the crown also evoke rays of light, or an aurora or torch, which symbolize the Light of the World and reflect our call as believers to "Light the Way."
Cross - Salvation
The cross, appearing to stand on Calvary's hill, communicates that Jesus Christ and sharing the Gospel is at the center of all we do and who we are as an institution.
N - Community
The letter clearly identifies Northwestern-our name, our community. The "N" is intentionally positioned under the crown because Northwestern, as a community of believers, will always remain under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. "Light the Way" adds a flair of personality to the logo. The tagline is essentially Northwestern's mission, vision and values distilled into a phrase. And the three simple words pack one exciting calling.
Behind the Logo
In 2002, President Alan Cureton, the college administration and the Northwestern Board of Trustees outlined six priority goals. One of them was “to develop and communicate identity.” Part of that goal meant establishing a unified and consistent “brand” or identity for Northwestern.
“We live in a society that learns, and even makes important decisions, from visual information,” said Cureton. “Northwestern needed a brand identity and logo that would communicate our mission in a language our culture understands.”
In early 2006 the college embraced the challenge to communicate Northwestern’s identity and began the process to establish a logo that would represent Northwestern’s core values, mission and vision in a distinct visual element. Capsule, a Minneapolis-based design agency, took up the task in partnership with Northwestern’s marketing team. The outcome is a strong design that incorporates intentional symbolic images (above).
The primary objective of the new logo is to accurately present University of Northwestern as a contemporary Christian college with a strong, Christ-centered mission—ready to “Light the Way.” We have not changed what we do or how we do it, we simply have an important new marketing tool to help us convey to others who we are.
“The journey toward a new logo was a process not without its bumps along the way,” said Brook Berry, vice president for marketing and enrollment. “We actually thought we had it one year ago but received an outpouring of very valid feedback which said, ‘If it doesn’t have a cross, then it doesn’t represent Northwestern.’”
We took this feedback to heart and spent several months working to effectively integrate this essential sign of who we are into the other strong elements of the logo, and the result is what you see now.
Cover story features written by Jenny Collins ’05 and illustrated by Jessie Henderson. Special thanks to Berntsen Library staff Dora Wager and Linda Rust for assisting with research.