A logo, at its core, represents an institution’s brand at the highest level. For Bethel that means our logo represents our faith, heritage, academics, and unique community.
Because of the importance of a logo as a symbol of who we are and what we stand for, we embarked on an initiative to evolve the institution’s visual identity to better represent our brand.
After the research phase of the branding project it became clear that, in order to enhance and unify the master brand, a new logo should be created for three reasons:
To create a more cohesive and unified logo that represents all of our schools—Bethel Seminary, the College of Adult & Professional Studies, Graduate School, and College of Arts & Sciences.
To create a visual element that can be used as a consistent mark regardless of the school or program. Over time this mark will become a symbol of the brand itself, a mark of our quality, community, and faith.
To create a functional and flexible system for consistent application throughout the university. As Bethel continues to grow it’ll be important to have a logo that incorporates offices, departments, programs, centers, and other sub-brands while maintaining the look and feel of the master brand.
Process and Research
The first step was a survey of our community that included students, alumni, faculty, and staff. Some significant recurring themes from our survey were:
An overwhelming indication that an emblem or symbol should be included in the logo.
A balanced desire to emphasize academic excellence and our Christian faith.
A feeling that the logo should convey a sense of legacy and heritage
After the survey we developed more than 60 different options and invited everyone in our community to participate in feedback sessions to help shape the direction of the typography and the icon.
Next we worked on reducing the number of options to the best five. We shared those five options with our National Alumni Board, Branding Steering Committee, seminary alumni, faculty, staff, and students. We took their feedback and worked to produce three final options, which we presented to the Branding Steering Committee and President’s Cabinet.
On October 22 the Branding Steering Committee and President’s Cabinet selected the final logo for production.
The torch was ultimately chosen as the symbol to represent our faith and academics. In John 8:12 (ESV) it says, “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” In the same way, our students, employees, and graduates are a light in our world as they advance the gospel and truth.
Along with strong spiritual ties, light has also been used as a symbol of education. The illumination of discovery and the process of uncovering truth are core to our academic experience. If you notice, the flame on the torch has subtle movement, which indicates the idea of our light spreading.
In addition, a flame is something that’s shared cross-culturally as humanity shares the experience and knowledge of both fire and its light.
The 1871 banner was added as an element to represent our heritage. In our preliminary research people repeatedly said Bethel is a place of significance. The fact that Bethel has been in existence since 1871 speaks to the strength of our institution.
A crest was chosen as the backdrop for the logo for two main reasons. First, it helps with the academic and traditional feel of the icon as a whole. Second, it ties back to our heritage and is a modern version of the official crest of Sweden.
The type was chosen because it’s a serif typeface, and serifs come with a certain set of built-in characteristics like stability, strength, trustworthiness, and sophistication. By setting the university's name in a serif typeface, we visually imply that Bethel contains and exhibits these characteristics. This type also works well in a wide range of sizes, maintaining its distinctiveness and cohesiveness whether small or large.
Bethel University Seal
The Bethel University official seal was updated in 2004 and not changed as a part of the branding project. The seal is used on official Bethel University documents and materials.
Common uses for the seal include:
- Official legal documents
- Convocation and Commencement documents
- The official catalog
Please contact the Office of Marketing and Communications with questions or to request graphic files.