Your Visual Identity: Seal vs. Logo

Nancy McDonald
Admissions & Marketing

Most schools have an official seal, and for many, it is used as the school’s primary logo, but there is a fundamental difference between a seal and a logo—a seal harkens back to a school's past, whereas a logo represents who you are now and where you are going. Which direction would you rather be headed in?

You need to make a quick and lasting impression on your prospects and constituents every time you reach out to them. Start the process with a strong visual identity that effectively maximizes your presence in the marketplace. While a seal may hold emotional meaning and tradition, it doesn't make for an effective school logo, and here’s why:

Characteristics of a Seal:

  • Complex iconography
  • A motto, dates, or location of the school
  • Outdated typography
  • Historical documentation from the school's founding
  • Difficult to reproduce and read

Characteristics of a Logo:

  • Quick and impactful recognition
  • Simple yet meaningful iconography
  • Modern typography
  • Active and forward-looking
  • Easy to reproduce and read

You don’t have to stop using the school seal completely, rather reserve it for the most official and ceremonious occasions. Often your seal can be the springboard for a fresh new identity. Notre Dame High School took the plunge to evolve its seal into a logo and they haven’t looked back since. Not sure if your current logo is keeping pace? Here are some tips on how to tell.