The University of Wisconsin is a world-renowned university and a large part of that recognition comes from the institution’s logos.
There are a few logos UW can be recognized for. With a reputation for excellence in academics, athletics and a great marching band program, it is only right each of these entities has their own symbols to be recognized by. After its founding in 1848, the university and it’s programs have gone through their fair share of rebrands and new designs.
As for the university itself, there have been three different official logos in total. These include the early Numen Lumen seal, the wordmark logo and the current logo — the “W” crest — all pictured below.
The “Numen Lumen” seal was translated from Latin by former UW Chancellor J.H. Lathrop to mean “God our Light” during the 1850s. This logo was particularly chosen to reflect the religious values of former Wisconsinites and is now used as the official seal for university administrative documents.
Next up is the wordmark logo created by Chancellor Donna Shalala in 1990. After only 11 years, this logo was replaced by the “W” crest in 2001 with approval from Chancellor John Wiley.
The current “W” logo aims to embody tradition and campus spirit. The combination of the “W” crest and “Wisconsin” wordmark contains elements from the Wisconsin Fieldhouse, constructed in 1929, making it a familiar icon for the institution.
Another logo synonymous with the university is the Wisconsin Athletic Department’s logo. The athletic department has gotten a few more redesigns, with seven images preceding the current version. Starting in 1913, the Badgers established themselves as an NCAA team with a gothic-style logo. This image was meant to reflect the strength and passion of the teams representing UW.
The university then took a different approach with the image of a badger. This was meant to be reflective of the collegiate athletes’ strong character and would undergo several redesigns from 1930 to 1957.
1957 brought a more minimalist design with a simple red “W” against a white background. This would be the first of four different “W” logo designs until the modern athletic logo, created in 1991. The current motion logo is the longest running, having represented Wisconsin athletics for 30 years.
Last but not least, the UW marching band also has its own set of logos, which can be found on the members’ uniforms with a classic “W” on the back and “pitchfork” logo on the front. Even though it also resembles a “W” the logo on the front is actually a representation of a lyre, which is used by performers to hold sheet music.
The current lyre logo was adopted in the 1970s and the “W” later in the 1990s after much debate on whether or not the same logo as the athletic department should have been used.