The University of Michigan is one of Ann Arbor’s top attractions. This is the undoubted leader in the field of education, the center of innovation, research, and creativity. It first opened its doors in 1817. At first, it was called Catholepistemiad, but after four years, it was renamed because the word of Latin-Greek origin became the object of ridicule. From a legal point of view, the modern university appeared only in 1837, when the corresponding law was passed. Since then, it has been actively expanding, replenishing the curriculum with new directions, and encouraging student sports. At the moment, he owns 29 Michigan Wolverines teams – multiple winners of tournaments and championships.
Meaning and History
Hundreds of schools, faculties, and divisions of the University of Michigan are united by a common visual identification system. It builds on logos (main and horizontal) and traditional printing that has evolved over the centuries. At the same time, the main graphic sign of the educational institution is the so-called Block “M” – a large yellow letter written in bold with rectangular serifs. One of the first Block “M” was laid out with multi-colored flags of football fans in 1907. Since then, this symbol has not changed much, but it became the official logo of the university relatively recently in order to tie together its disparate parts.
The University of Michigan logo has two versions: vertical and horizontal. The main one is considered vertical, which consists of a yellow letter “M” (top), a white two-line inscription “UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN” (bottom), and a blue square (against the background). The horizontal version does not have a square, and the text is blue and is located one line to the right of the “M.” It is relevant in cases where there is not enough space for a horizontal sign.
Previously, the sports department only used the capital “M.” It has represented the entire university since the 1960s, taking over most of the printing functions. As for the logo itself, it appeared relatively recently. Until 2002, it was not even published on the official website. Different departments and divisions had different visual symbols based on Block “M.” Simultaneously, there was no centralized branding system that would determine colors and fonts.
In order to streamline the identity, the administration of the educational institution in 2011 adopted general design rules. This made it possible to standardize all the graphic signs that existed at that time. Since then, the logo has featured the Michigan Maize-colored “M” and the university’s name in Victors font.
The first print version appeared in 1817 at the opening of the University of Michigan. It was not at all what it is now. She, or rather her detailed description, was discovered by the librarian William Wamer Bishop in May 1929. This discovery resolved the dispute regarding the founding date of the educational institution. At that time, it was believed that the university was opened in 1837. But the existence of a seal with the indication of 1817 became decisive in the conflict and allowed 20 years to be added to the age of the school. In addition, all subsequent seals began to write “1817” instead of “1837”.
As far as is known, the earliest version contained the Temple of Wisdom and was used until 1825. The next design has been lost. In 1843 Minerva Seal appeared. And finally, in 1895, the first graphic sign was created with the Lamp of Knowledge, which became the basis for the current version. In the center was an oil lamp standing on a book. They symbolized knowledge, which obviously follows from the name of the lamp. The background for them was a quadrangular heraldic shield with a sharp base. In the background was the sun taken from the coat of arms of the state of Michigan.
Under the shield was a ribbon with the motto “ARTES SCIENTIA VERITAS” in Latin. The circle was taken in a wide ring with the inscription “UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 1837”. These elements are present in a modern print but have a different color, scale, and design. As is already known, in the 20th century, the founding year of the university was replaced by “1817” because the found description of the first symbol of the university resolved the graduates’ dispute. And in 1958, the article “THE” was added to the inscription. It is in this form that printing has come down to our times. It contains a blue shield with a yellow lamp against the background of the rising sun with 15 rays. The lamp stands on the book, a yellow scroll with the motto is unfolded under the bottom.
The use of print is limited. Its main purpose is to certify official university documents, including diplomas of graduates. In addition, it is found on awards and certificates in the form of small stickers.
Michigan Wolverines Logo
The university’s sports teams have adopted the state’s nickname, which is more than two centuries old. According to one version, the wolverine is associated with endurance and strength. Others believe that the inhabitants of Michigan were called so by their neighbors, dissatisfied with the border between the states. They compared the Michigans to greedy wolverines. Either way, the Michigan Wolverines proudly carry their name and have even used the animal logo in the past.
At the same time, the main symbol of the department is Block “M.” It appeared as early as the late 1800s but only became popular in 1907 when football fans displayed it during a match of several hundred yellow and blue flags. However, it remained unofficial for a long time.
1912 – 1921
The 1912 logo featured a blue wolverine with a red halo. It was under an arch of the word “MICHIGAN” in a rectangular serif font.
1948 – 1963
In 1948, a graphic sign appeared with a blue “M.” The letter adorned the front of the cap on the head of an anthropomorphic animal.
1964 – 1978
The artists painted a white and blue wolverine against a large yellow “M” with a dark outline.
1979 – 1987
The animal was moved up and turned to the right side. It stood on a blue “M” with a yellow plaque bearing the word “MICHIGAN.” The blue has taken on a vibrant hue.
1988 – 1996
Wolverine has disappeared. The inscription was repainted yellow and the rectangular plaque blue. And this color again became dark.
1996 – 2011
The word “MICHIGAN” was again blue and was inside a yellow rectangle. The large “M” has an additional blue outline in the background.
2012 – today
The sign with the inscription disappeared, and the “M” became yellow. The dark outline is preserved.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The main symbol of the University of Michigan is Block “M.” It is registered as a trademark and generates huge revenues that go to finance sports teams. The letter reflects the 200-year heritage of the educational institution and makes it recognizable.
On the Block logo, “M” is complemented by the inscription “UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN.” The designers used an elegant Victors font with thin serifs. The high contrast between the base and connecting strokes makes the text dynamic. Sharper and elongated serifs distinguish the font on the press.
The official colors of the university since the late 1860s are corn and blue. Moreover, the second shade gradually changed from azure to dark blue, which is now known as Michigan Blue (#00274C). He is paired with Michigan Maize (#FFCB05).