New University Seal and Brand Mark Unveiled by UMass Amherst, Providing Distinctive Additions to University’s Visual Identity System
The University of Massachusetts Amherst today unveiled a new university seal and brand mark that expands the university’s visual identity system, reflecting the values and unique position of the commonwealth’s flagship campus.
The new seal and brand mark fill gaps in UMass Amherst’s visual vocabulary, which originated when the previous university seal, a version of the Massachusetts state seal, was discontinued in 2011. The new seal and brand mark will complement, not replace, the university’s current wordmark and Athletics’ “Power U” mark. Work on the project started in 2021 and final designs were completed following extensive consultation with students, faculty, staff, alumni and UMass leadership.
New University Seal
In bold UMass Amherst maroon, the new university seal highlights the iconic spire of Old Chapel, long a scholastic and community gathering place at the very center of campus. The spire is set upon a shield with a distinctive shape that recalls historic UMass signage. The classical architecture of the granite spire embodies stability, continuity and academic gravitas.
The seal’s multifaceted rendering of the spire brings a modern perspective to the familiar structure and expresses the lasting impact and breadth of the university today. Soaring beyond the seal’s circular boundary, it harkens back to creation of the university and symbolizes both its revolutionary spirit and academic excellence.
Unveiling of the new UMass seal coincides with the state’s plan to replace its existing seal, adopted in 1898. In May 2022, a Special Commission on the Official Seal and Motto of the Commonwealth, established by the Legislature, made up of lawmakers, members of Indigenous tribes, historians and others, voted unanimously to recommend that the state seal and motto be updated.
UMass Amherst instituted use of a modified state seal in place of the block UM logo, currently in use by the UMass System, in 2003. Gradual phase out of the seal began in 2011, and the university has not used the state seal as part of its official visual identity in more than a decade. The campus wordmark, governed by brand architecture, has been the university’s primary visual element.
New Brand Mark
A distinctive Letter M design will serve as a new brand mark for the university, expanding the visual identity system. The collegiate M will be used to creatively express the essence of the UMass brand across many forms of branding and communication such as social icons and merchandise. This is meant to be an addition to the already established Athletic mark (the “Power U”) and to expand the design elements available to visually represent the brand.
“We are grateful to so many members of the campus community for their participation in the process of developing the new seal and mark,” said John Kennedy, vice chancellor for university relations. “The result is a compelling visual expression of the campus that reflects our history, tradition and values.”
Student Government Association Vice President Meher Gandhi said, “As a student government that has focused strongly this year on advocating for student consultation for changes made by university administration, we are very glad to have been a part of the decision-making process for the new UMass seal. As we advance as a university, it is important to do so with keeping in mind diversity, equity, and Inclusion, as well as the troubling history of the state of Massachusetts and its relationship with the Indigenous populations that inhabited the state. We’re pleased to see a seal that truly represents UMass and encompasses an iconic building on campus.”
Development of both the seal and brand mark were done in house by staff in University Relations, with Efi Georgiou, executive creative director, leading the creative process.
Merchandise featuring the new university seal and brand mark will be available at the UMass Store in the Campus Center and online at www.umassstore.com starting Friday, March 31.