Guidelines for the Creation of a New Shield Design or Logo by Harvard Departments, Units, and Officially Recognized Organizations for Themselves or Their Activities

These guidelines apply to all Harvard departments, units, and officially recognized organizations (Clubs, Shared Interest Groups (SIGs), student groups, etc.) wishing to create a new shield design or logo (“new logo”).

1. Permission for the creation of a new logo must first be obtained from the appropriate authorities to whom the Harvard department, unit, or organization reports. In the case of Clubs, SIGs or other officially recognized alumni organizations, permission should be obtained from the Harvard Alumni Association or the local School Alumni Office. This must happen before embarking on the creation of a new logo or contacting the Trademark Program for its review of the logo.

Individual Schools may adopt supplemental rules and approval processes with respect to the review of a new logo by School-based departments, units, and organizations (“School-based entities”), up to and including requiring permission from the relevant Dean’s office. School-based entities are subject to such supplemental rules in addition to all guidelines included in this document. For information about these supplementary rules and approval processes, if applicable, persons conducting School-based entities should contact their School Communications Office and/or Dean’s Office.

Not every department, unit, or organization is automatically entitled to a new logo. Individual School policies may dictate when a new logo can be created.

2. If a new logo is approved in concept, the following design requirements must then be considered when creating a new logo:

a. The Harvard VERITAS shield, as well as the School shields and other official University logos (“Harvard insignia”), are representations of the University and cannot be altered in any way. Therefore, a new logo cannot be derivative of any existing Harvard insignia, and may not alter, include, or reference internal elements of existing Harvard insignia such that the resulting logo resembles one of Harvard’s insignia. For example, the VE-RI-TAS design found in several existing Harvard shields cannot be incorporated into a new logo, as this would be considered a derivation. The shield shape itself is acceptable for new logos.

b. New logos must be consistent with the University’s Use-of-Name policies and guidelines, including the standard of accurate representation. Therefore, if the name of the Harvard department or unit will be used in the new logo, the full, approved name must be included. If an acronym is used, it must be done by way of the full acronym, and not by spelling out Harvard alone while abbreviating the remainder of the full, approved name. For example, HABC could be used, but not Harvard ABC.

c. The text portion of the new logo should not specifically emphasize the word Harvard, if included. The text must use a comparable font style, size, color, and value for any “Harvard” reference as for the remainder of the text, except where an official School logo includes such differences.

d. The Trademark Program does not license designs that incorporate or use national flags. However, flag-related graphic elements, or other elements that reference flags, but which are not official national flags, may be considered.

e. If the Harvard VERITAS shield or other Harvard insignia are included as part of the new logo, the design must incorporate sufficient clear space between the represented Harvard insignia and any other design element such that no element is in contact with the Harvard insignia and the Harvard insignia is not otherwise subsumed by the design.

f. The proposed new logo cannot infringe on any third-party trademarks. In general, a logo design should be avoided if its resemblance to an existing third-party logo is likely to cause confusion among the public as to its source.

3. After permission for creation of a new logo has been obtained from the proper authority as outlined in section 1 and the logo has been designed in accordance with the design requirements in section 2, the prospective new logo must be submitted to the Trademark Program for review to ensure that it is consistent with the above guidelines and any other applicable use-of-name policies and guidelines.

4. Following review by the Trademark Program, final review and approval should be conducted in the following manner:

a. Central Administration and FAS: The prospective new logo should be submitted to the Harvard Public Affairs & Communications Office (HPAC) for review to ensure that it is consistent with Harvard’s Graphic Identity Guidelines. The new logo should then be submitted to the appropriate authorities to whom the Harvard department, unit, or organization reports for final review and approval.

b. Clubs, SIGs or other officially recognized alumni organizations: The prospective new logo should be submitted to the Harvard Alumni Association or the local School Alumni Office for final review and approval.

c. School-based entities: The review process for School-based entities may be subject to supplementary rules adopted by the School. Where such guidelines exist, the prospective new logo should be submitted to the appropriate School administrators identified by that School’s supplemental guidelines for further review. For all other Schools, the prospective new logo should be submitted to the appropriate School Communications Office for review to ensure that it is consistent with any School Graphic Identity Guidelines. The new logo should then be submitted to the appropriate authorities to whom the School-based entity reports for final review and approval.

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See also: Policies