UPenn Logo

UPenn LogoUPenn (University of Pennsylvania) Logo PNG

The university’s emblem conveys its cultural and historical heritage, dating back to 1740. But the UPenn logo has a modern design because the educational institution constantly evolves. This suggests that the university is committed to innovation, not forgetting its long-standing traditions.

UPenn: Brand overview

Founded:November 14, 1740
Founder:Benjamin Franklin
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

UPenn, formerly known as the College of Philadelphia and the University of the State of Pennsylvania, sprang from a never-opened charity school that was to operate in a building with a preaching hall. Benjamin Franklin established his institution there to focus on spiritual education and a wide range of humanities. Because of his involvement in the university’s early history, the UPenn logo contains the main symbol from the Franklin family crest, an abstract image of a dolphin.

The University of Pennsylvania is one of the colonial colleges because, according to official data, it appeared in 1740. The College of Philadelphia (as it was originally called) opened in 1755, and 15 years before that, in 1740, the preaching hall that would become the first building on campus had just been completed.

Meaning and History

UPenn Symbol

The university did not get its present name immediately, but only a few decades later. As for its system of graphic symbols, it is even newer: the logo and coat of arms were created in 2020. On the other hand, the very first version of UPenn’s modern shield was adopted in 1932. That is, the institution’s identity has a long historical basis.

The UPenn logo, like the coat of arms, contains a shield with traditional elements. The current version was introduced in early 2020. In addition to the slightly modified shield, it includes a wordmark: the dark blue lettering “Penn University of Pennsylvania.” The first word is greatly enlarged and placed at the top, and the other three – much smaller – occupy the second line. Both use a font with thin and long serifs, but they are two different grotesques. The preposition “of” is italicized.

What is UPenn?

UPenn is an alternative name for the University of Pennsylvania. It is one of the largest institutions of higher learning in Philadelphia. It is one of nine colonial colleges established before the day of the United States Declaration of Independence. It was founded in 1740 by the famous politician Benjamin Franklin.

The mysterious creature at the top of the shield is a dolphin, taken from the Benjamin Franklin coat of arms. This is how the designers of UPenn’s icon paid tribute to the man who founded the school. And the rectangular band with three white circles is a tribute to William Penn, as the same element is found on his family coat of arms. All visual symbols of the university have a hidden meaning and are linked to centuries-old history.

UPenn Seal Logo

The University of Pennsylvania is proud of its traditional shield, which contains elements from two family coats of arms. A rather unusual image of a dolphin, resembling a fish with large wavy fins, was inherited from the family of UPenn’s creator, Benjamin Franklin. And the three white circles on the chevron were borrowed from the coat of arms of William Penn, the founder of the Province of Pennsylvania. On top are additionally drawn open books – a symbol of education and the pursuit of new knowledge.

The dolphin, placed between the two books, is in a wide dark red stripe. It occupies the upper part of the shield. Below are two blue rectangles that join to form a right angle and divide the remaining space into three white triangles of about equal size.

Beneath the shield is an unfurled white scroll. It bears the phrase “LEGES SINE MORIBUS VANAE” in blue capital letters, which translates from Latin as “Laws without morals are useless.” It is an old university motto, adopted in 1932. It is based on a line from the Roman poet Horace.

Font and Colors

UPenn Emblem

As already mentioned, the UPenn logo uses two very similar fonts. The word “Penn” is written in an antique from the Perpetua family. This serif typeface was developed around 1925. It was created by the letter carver Arthur Eric Rowton Gill, based on his experience with memorials and monuments. For “University” and “Pennsylvania,” they chose a similar font called ITC Stone Serif, and for the preposition “of” a version of ITC Stone Serif Italic. Their author is graphic artist Sumner Stone. He came up with the original typeface in 1987 when he was an employee of Adobe.

The UPenn symbolism reflects his color scheme: a combination of red (#990000) and blue (#011F5B). As we know from the archives, they were chosen by a student participating in intercollegiate athletic competitions in the early 1870s. Before that, the school had no official palette at all. Legend has it that the team captain decided to give the university the colors of those competitors they had beaten. As it turned out, they were Harvard Crimson and Yale Blue.

UPenn color codes

Royal BlueHex color:#011f5b
RGB:1 31 91
CMYK:99 66 0 64
Pantone:PMS 2758 C
Crimson RedHex color:#990000
RGB:153 0 0
CMYK:0 100 100 40
Pantone:PMS 7626 C