Stanford University Logo

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Stanford University: Brand overview

Founded: November 11, 1885
Founder: Leland and Jane Stanford
Stanford, California, United States
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Stanford is a higher education institution located in Stanford, California. Its full name is Stanford University or Leland Stanford Junior University. It is a private educational and research institution and appeared in 1885. Its creators are the spouses of Stanford (Leland and Jane). They opened a university in honor of their 15-year-old son, who died of typhoid fever. Today it is one of the best universities globally, with an annual income of over $ 1 billion.

Meaning and History

Stanford Symbol

What is Stanford University?

It is an educational and research institution founded in honor of Leland Stanford Jr., who died of typhoid fever. In this way, his parents immortalized his memory. The university was formed in 1891 and is now considered one of the most prestigious in the world.

Even though Stanford University was founded in 1885, it opened in 1891. Its location was the former Palo Alto farm, which belonged to the Stanford family. The institution was modeled on Cornell University, providing higher education to men and women on an equal footing, which had not been the case until then. Following the example of the great Eastern universities, it also abandoned sectarianism, providing an open educational process based on scientific achievements rather than religious dogma.

In 1893, Leland Stanford died, and the further work of the university was in big question since a financial lawsuit was brought against him. But Jane insisted on continuing to operate despite the crisis. The next major test was the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. Educational buildings and other buildings were badly damaged. Some buildings have been restored, and some have not, as they were beyond repair.

Modern Stanford University includes seven schools. Three of them teach bachelors and consist of forty departments, four graduate masters in education, medicine, law, and business. In addition, the university has its own Stanford Cardinal sports club, which includes 36 teams participating in the Division I FBS Pac-12 Conference. They have won 128 NCAA championships and have won the NACDA Directors Cup for a quarter of a century in a row since 1994/1995. Alumni and students have also won 270 Olympic medals, 139 of which are gold.

As of 2021, the university had 84 Nobel Prize winners and 29 Turing Award winners. So the Stanford emblem is widely recognized and highly prestigious. The university’s identity is represented by three components: the seal, the main logo, and the mark of the sports department.

Stanford Seal Logo

The university seal is in the form of a rondel – a classic circle with a central part in which the key symbol is placed. In this case, it is single spruce against the background of hills. It has a strong root system that represents a long historical connection with the area. On both sides of the tree, there is an inscription in German, indicating the motto of the higher educational institution: on the left – “DIE LUFT DER,” on the right – “FREIHEIT WEHT.”

The central circle is surrounded by double edging – thin lines of different sizes with a small gap between them. This is followed by a wide white stripe, on which is the full name of the university “Leland Stanford Junior University,” the year of its opening (1891), and six stars (three on each side of the significant date). The edge is edged in the form of a geometric ornament consisting of a chain of small rhombuses.

The logo contains the name Stanford University. It is printed in lowercase, except the first letters, which are capitalized according to the spelling. The letters have miniature serifs. At “t,” the bar is shifted to the right, which is longer than the left. The “f” apex is more curved than usual. The color palette of the logo is identical to the print color.

Stanford Logo History

For the emblem of the Stanford Cardinal sports department, the developers chose the main mascot – the Stanford spruce. In this case, the tree is colored green and drawn in a slightly different shape: the number of branches is much larger than on the print. The top is elongated and narrow, and the spruce legs are wide and spreading. There is a thin white stripe along the contour of the spruce. It separates it from the background – a big red “S” stands for “Stanford.” The letter is not rounded: each turn has a cut corner, making it geometrically similar to the number “5”. A double edging surrounds it along the edge.

1966 – 1979

Stanford Cardinal Logo 1966-1979

In 1966, Stanford University (College) sports teams updated the logo. They were also called Stanford Indians at that time, but there were no Indian motives in the design. The main distinguishing mark is the large S, written in bold, rectangular serifs. It did not have a single rounding on the outside – all the bends were chopped off so that the symbol in shape resembled a very complex polygon.

After the renaming of the sports department in 1972, the emblem has not change. Voyagers won the competition, but staff and students insisted that the teams be named Stanford Cardinal after Stanford University’s official color. It was this shade that was used in the S logo.

1979 – 1989

Stanford Cardinal Logo 1979-1989

After the redesign, the serifs disappeared. The shape of the “S” has changed: it has become narrower and acquired a frame of two lines of red and white. At the same time, a dark green tree appeared in front of the letter. And not just a tree, but a sequoia, also known as Redwood. It is believed that its botanical name originates from the name of the Sequoia Indian chief, who invented the Cherokee alphabet. So the emblem, to some extent, reflected the connection with the previous nicknames of the teams.

It cannot be said that the tree depicted was a full-fledged talisman. Stanford Cardinal no longer had mascots at that time, and the sequoia participated in the LSJUMB orchestra. She first appeared in a musical group in 1975. Despite her unofficial status, she found a place on the logo of the sports department. To some extent, this is a reference to the municipal seal of the city of Palo Alto and the seal of Stanford University, which features the famous sequoia El Palo Alto.

1989 – 2002

Stanford Cardinal Logo 1989-2002

In 1989, the designers removed the green plant, leaving only the letter. All roundings have completely disappeared from “S”: even the curves on the inner part have become rectangular.

2002 – 2015

Stanford Cardinal Logo 2002-2015

After ten years of using a minimalist logo, the sequoia was decided to be put back in place. This time, the artists outlined it with a thin white line so that the outline separates the green tree from the red letter.

2015 – today

Stanford Cardinal Logo 2015-present

In 2015, the symbol was updated again. The designers made the sequoia white, replacing the usual shade Palo Alto green (Pantone 3298C). At the same time, the classic Cardinal red (Pantone 201C) has been retained because it has been the primary color of Stanford University (College) sports teams since 1982. White has been a secondary color since the 1940s.

Font and Colors of the Emblem

Stanford Emblem

Following the pioneering principles of Cornell University and using its experience as a model, Stanford University also took over its printing. There is a visual similarity between them in structure, colors, the number of edging lines, and the content of the text. However, there is no similarity in other elements.

The university uses a lot of fonts; each department’s website has its typographic standards. A typeface with small serifs reminiscent of Crimson Text was chosen for the logo.

The emblem color scheme includes Cardinal red (Pantone 201C), Cool gray 11C, Palo Alto green (Pantone 3298C), Process black, and neutral white.

Stanford University color codes

Falu Red Hex color: #8C1515
RGB: 140 21 21
CMYK: 0 85 85 45
Pantone: PMS 7620 C

What is the logo for Stanford University?

Its logo consists of a single S with cut corners in a double border. In the center, there is a tree from the class of conifers – sequoia. It is indirectly associated with the university: it is a symbol of the California city of Palo Alto, in which the university is located.

The Stanford University logo depicts a tall sequoia – a representative of the order of conifers. According to legend, it is related to the history of Palo Alto, where the university is located. Thus, the tree personifies the connection of the higher educational institution with the city.

Is Stanford a trademark?

Yes, Stanford is a registered trademark. Its logos, seal, name, and other elements of identity are protected by intellectual property law. They can only be used with permission from the university.

What is the Stanford seal?

The Stanford University seal depicts a tall sequoia that laid the foundation for the university’s city (Palo Alto). The tree is in the center, against the backdrop of hilly terrain. It is surrounded by several rings of varying thickness with text inside.