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Western's New Visual Identity

Video screen capture

Why the new identity?

Western is a complex organization with multiple identities and symbols, which sometimes hinders our ability to communicate the impact of the university as a whole. A more unified visual identity for Western will strengthen our ability to gain greater recognition for our world-class research and teaching at home and abroad.

Do you have questions about the new visual identity? Read our FAQ.

Do you want to learn more about the review process? Visit the website.

Western Community Involvement

From June to December 2011, we involved faculty, staff, students and alumni in a discussion about Western's visual identity - the logos and words we use to describe the University. We conducted online and in-person surveys, workshops and individual interviews with close to 5,000 alumni, donors and friends, more than 3,700 students and approximately 2,000 faculty and staff members.

The Creative Team

Hahn Smith Design is a Toronto-based graphic design firm that has developed award-winning identity systems for organizations such as The Museum of Modern Art, The Art Gallery of Ontario, and Harvard University.

Hahn Smith has been working with Western's Communications and Public Affairs Department to create and implement this new visual identity.

Anatomy of the New Identity

Western Logo Stacked


Western Logo Stacked Reverse

Anatomy of The New Identity

The shield being used in our new identity is taken from Western's original coat of arms.

The Name is Western - 86 per cent of survey respondents referred to us as Western, which is more true to our original name - Western University

UNIVERSITY • CANADA - It's important people know Western is a university in Canada, as some outside our country may not be familiar with us.

The Font - A custom-made serif font, truly unique to Western. We're calling the font Hellmuth in honour of our founder, Bishop Isaac Hellmuth.

The Colour - Is purple! A slight move from Pantone 266 to 268 makes it darker and richer.


The Shield

  • Rising sun – made more stylized (less like a fire ball)
  • Book of knowledge – Western's founding date of 1878 has been added
  • Stag – The stag comes from the City of London's coat of arms. We are proud to be located in London, Ontario and have made the stag more active than the previous version.
  • Demi lion – The demi lion is from the coat of arms of Canon Alfred Peache who in 1862 gave an endowment that made possible the establishment of Huron College. Peache would become Western's second Chancellor.
  • Maple leaf – Repositioning the stag opposite the demi lion allowed us to include a maple leaf. Western can represent itself internationally and be proud of our great country.

The Identity System

Horizontal Version

The horizontal version of Western's logo can be used for many different applications and is the preferred version of the new logo. When creating materials that will be used internationally or outside of a normal university context it is best to use this version of the logo that includes UNIVERSITY • CANADA. All official generic and administrative unit stationery will use this version of the logo.

Stacked Version

In applications that require a more vertical orientation, this stacked version of the logo is best.

This version of the logo allows the shield to be a little more prominent and works well as a stand alone on the cover of reports for example.

Reversed Version

A simple key line around the outside makes the logo work well on dark backgrounds while keeping the integrity of the rest of the logo intact.


Faculty logosFaculties Stacked Logos

The stacked version of the faculty logos is the preferred version.

In all cases the logo leads with the shield and Western in purple and the faculty name in grey.

The stacked versions will be used on all stationery items - business cards, letterhead, envelopes, etc.

Faculty logosFaculties Horizontal Logos

The horizontal version of the logo also leads with Western and the shield in purple. This version of the logo works well for wider applications like the main banner art on websites for example.

Western University

1151 Richmond Street, London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 3K7
t. 519.661.2111
Updated by The Department of Communications and Public Affairs
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