Complex history in a shield
The shield is taken from the University coat of arms, topped off with founding date of the original university. The University’s Branding Toolkit document describes the two elements of the design as the shield and the namestyle.
The decision to use a full colour version of the shield I think is a little daunting since there are six colours to be reproduced. Printed at a large scale on some quality paper, you’d get the benefit, but slightly more difficult to translate when smaller. The single colour versions, especially in the University’s burgundy, work well. Reducing the palette integrates the elements better, but I guess that’s the trade-off.
I discovered that there’s quite a demanding collection of history to be crammed into the shield, with the various elements being described on Wikipedia
bq. The university’s coat of arms display the founders and locations of the previous two colleges. Top left is the arms of the burgh of Old Aberdeen. Top right is that of George Keith, the fifth Earl Marischal. Bottom left belongs to Bishop William Elphinstone. The bottom right quarter is a simplified version of the usual symbol (of three castles) representing the burgh and now City of Aberdeen.
So the shield is essentially four combined into one.
The typography of the namestyle looks like an inscriptional typeface, with pretty even weight throughout and understated serifs, which evoke appropriate connotations of age and longevity. It also dovetails subtly with the Granite City nickname amongst those given to the city. All uppercase, with nicely proportioned ‘of’ staying out of the way. I liked the way the top of the wordmark aligns with the centre of the shield, anchoring along that norizontal.
If the typography and shield weren’t enough to let you know you are looking at the mark of an august institution, then there’s a reminder across the top of the shield with date of the foundation of the University. Spaced out almost like the crenellation of a castle wall.
Overall, a solid understated treatment that seeks to draw upon a long established history. Slightly garish colour notwithstanding, the mark doesn’t need to try too hard to impress, preferring to be traditional, serious and venerable ; prized attributes to in the educational sector.