Friday, December 11, 2009

The Old VCU Logo - Pot Plant? Image of the Fan District? What was that thing?

(Click for larger view - Image by Ken Hopson)

In the fall of 1968, the newly formed Virginia Commonwealth University (a merger of the Richmond Professional Institute and the Medical College of Virginia) hired the New York marketing and design firm of Schechter and Luth, Inc. to develop an identifying symbol, colors, and names for the University’s campuses. The firm released its findings in January 1969.

The design of the VCU symbol provoked considerable controversy. Some commentators thought it too abstract; others believed that the design should have been created by the school’s own art students. The design itself generated many interpretations. Some saw the tree of knowledge, others discerned the street pattern of the Fan District, and a few even claimed that it resembled a marijuana leaf. University officials stated that the symbol sought mainly to create something new that would unify the two former schools and emphasize the “bold new” character of VCU.

In the late 1990s, the VCU symbol gradually became replaced with a contemporary font that displays the letters VCU and the words Virginia Commonwealth University
. But you can still find some places on the Monroe Park campus where the old logo still remains. The image above was created using items from the archives in Special Collections and Archives, VCU Libraries.

-- Ray B.


HEK said...

This logo always reminded me of the print form the sole of a sneaker in wet cement. There was plenty of that around the VCU campus in the '70s-'80s.

Scott said...

Look around old Richmond architecture and you will notice a lot of tobacco leaf imagery. Or is that marijuana leaf imagery? Talk to Silver Persinger about it. Maybe there's room for another alternative history cause for the Civil War, in addition to slavery.

Anonymous said...

I always heard it called the bush of knowledge.

rushmore said...

Hey is there any way anybody has a straight on shot of this logo? I went to VCU in the 80s and would love to reproduce it for my own sake and yours. If you do will send you a vector version of it. Send to

Anonymous said...

Although it was officially refereed to as the Tree of Knowledge we called it the Shrub of Knowledge
{Class of '91}