Established in 1910, as the new logo clearly indicates, Mount Royal University began as Mount Royal College up until 2009 when the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada granted it the designation of University, becoming only the fourth university in Calgary (and the 98th in Canada) — and if I understand this correctly, in Canada this means that as a University, Mount Royal can offer degrees as opposed to only diplomas and certificates. While the new name alone warranted an identity change, the old logo was in the most dire need of an update. With a process that started in March of 2009, a new identity designed by Cundari was unveiled this past February.
The three folding forms represent open books — classic symbols of education and learning. They also reflect open doors — suggestive of possibilities, opportunities and access to higher education, all core principles of Mount Royal University. In conjunction, the three forms unite to present the letter “M”, representative of Mount Royal, and its integrated academic community of students, faculty and staff. Coming together, the three forms also create a subtle maple leaf form, denoting the strong Canadian legacy, profile and aspiration of Mount Royal University — our past, present and future.
— Identity Guidelines [PDF]
The new icon is remarkably nice, and it surprisingly works on all the levels above without much pretense or by requiring a big stretch of the imagination. It manages to look, strong, reputable and even, well, Canadian without being Maple-Leaf-Red. Where most universities would have been content to use Trajan, Cundari must be thanked too for heeding the call and using the rich man’s Trajan, Requiem by Hoefler & Frere-Jones. The result is twenty-one centuries better. It’s both reassuring and scary to think that it wasn’t so easy to arrive at this final logo… 91 logos!
Further research led to the development of 91 logo options, from which a short list of four designs was approved by a Logo Task Force made up of representatives of the President’s Direct Report Group, University Management Group, Deans’ Council, and the four divisions at Mount Royal — Student Affairs and Campus Life, Administrative Services, Academic Affairs and University Advancement.
— Logo FAQs
The color palette is also rather pleasant, even if a little on the cold side. The logo works really well in one color and I very much like the unexpected use of the lighter shade as a transparent effect. I’m also a sucker for logos that pattern well, and this one patterns better than most Winter Olympic logos.