unilogos Review

Posted Sun 4th Apr 2010 approx. 2 min read

Durham University

durham logo

Rebranding an old graphic

Durham University (the trading name of the University of Durham) Is the new brand created around the existing shield based crest. The existing shield has had a makeover to make it a bolder and more striking graphic.

How they did it

Extensive use of the University purple and some negative space flattens the logo, unifying the elements from the original, with it’s canton upgraded to a full quarter in the newer graphic. The new version tightens up a few aspects:-

  • The Lions are simplified.
  • The chevron is linked to the cross where previously it was contained.
  • The inner part of the cross has softened corners.
  • and the exterior of the shield is also given a curve.

The softening of the Cross Patee may be a conscious decision to tone down what can be a symbol with slightly martial connotations, and that aspect works well. The strengthening of the cross by reversing it out of the shield is also successful, but I think the softening has gone a little too far with the overall shape of the shield - a sharper edge along the top might have provided more contrast.


The branding switch from the University of Durham to Durham University, seems to have emboldened the University to emphasise it’s location with a sharp use of Baskerville to provide a more refined and modern wordmark than the less modulated text used previously. The D of durham now has a curve tapering nicely into a strong ascender. The use of lower and upper case perhaps echoes the softening of the shield and speaks in quiet voice.

Rich Graphic heritage

The collegiate structure of Durham University means there’s a large degree of independence for the colleges, as can be seen by this lovely page showing the array of coats of arms of the colleges. With such a strong range of graphic devices that students and staff obviously are very attached to, then it must have been a daunting challenge to rebrand the overall look without losing that collegiate feel.


A successful exercise in redrawing and moderninsing a long established emblem of the University, making it a more versatile mark to be used in a variety of ways.

Tagged : English , Crest , 1994-group , Shield , Serif , Purple , Russell Group , North East , N8 Research Parnership

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