MU visual style
History and development of Masaryk University's visual identity
A unique visual identity is among the most important communication tools of any institution or company. It is designed to reinforce identification with a brand, ensure adequate presentation and embody the key characteristics and positions of a given institution.
Masaryk University's visual identity has developed simultaneously with historical trends in brand building. At the outset, the university employed a crest-shaped emblem which adorned e.g. envelopes. The author of the design remains unknown.
Throughout the long period when the university bore the name of Jan Evangelista Purkyně, no uniform visual style was adopted or developed. Initial attempts at a graphical representation of the brand and a visual unification of university materials took place only after 1989 once the institution returned to its original name: Masaryk University. A design submitted by Brno graphics designer Ivan Štrouf was adopted by an artistic committee convened in 1990, chiefly for its “simplicity and modernity”. As the university wished to present itself in a historical context while also clearly asserting its status as a 20th century institution, the emblem includes an upper-case M placed inside an upper-case U and ringed with the Latin name of the university: Universitas Masarykiana Brunensis.
A contest designed to provide the university with a unified visual style manual was subsequently announced in 1995. The artistic committee selected and approved the development of a unified visual style according to a proposal submitted by Boris Mysliveček. Ivan Štrouf's original emblem design was the sole exception to the new visual style. Most faculty emblems were subsequently created as part of the new visual style.
In 2005 the university decided to update its unified visual style, especially since the existing version no longer corresponded to current trends and technologies. In addition to digitizing existing emblems, the author of the new system Pavel Jílek also suggested a unifying element: a strip of shapes serving as a background element. He suggested the Syntax font for use throughout the university, a font which is in use to date. This visual style was further updated in 2015 in order to unify the look of university materials across all units. A tab featuring the MU logo, modelled on the original emblem and subsequently introduced background strip, was introduced as a unifying element. Faculty emblems, fonts and colours remained unchanged. The university also began to focus on preparing a new visual identity, one which would correspond to Masaryk University's vision as well as to contemporary visual communication trends.
Logos of Particular Faculties
Faculty of Law
The emblem of this faculty is a figure of Justice holding a sword. A portrait of Adolf Bráf was chosen for the foreside of the medal, the reverse side bears a motto “Lex dura sed lex”. The figure of Justice holding a sword embellishes the capital of the sceptre; the shaft is decorated by rose-quartzes. The colour of the Faculty of Law is purple.
Faculty of Medicine
The logotype of the Faculty of Medicine depicts a combination of Aeskulap’s staff with a snake and a thread of a twin-screw DNA molecule. The foreside of the medal of the Faculty of Medicine is embellished by a portrait of J. E. Purkyně, the reverse side bears a motto “Medicinae munus – scientia de vita humana”. The capital of the sceptre is formed by a staff with a snake; the shaft is decorated with carnelians. The colour of the Faculty of Medicine is red.
Faculty of Science
The emblem of the Faculty of Science consists of a double screw in the shape of a letter Y, symbolizing the notion of DNA replication. The circular symbol bears an inscription “Scientia est potentia”. On the foreside of the dean’s medal a bust of Gregor J. Mendel is depicted (from the left, with the name of the copy); the reverse side is formed by the sun with rays and the comet (on the left). The colour of the Faculty of Science is green.
Faculty of Arts
The owl sitting on an open book is the symbol of the Faculty of Arts. The foreside of the medal shows a portrait of František Palacký, the reverse side bears a motto “Svoji k svému a vždy podle pravdy”. The owl is placed on the sceptre; its shaft is decorated with amethysts. The colour of the Faculty of Arts is blue.
Faculty of Education
After the establishment of the Faculty of Education in 1946, the flaming torch was chosen as its symbol according to the treatise of J. A. Komenský. This symbol was used for the design of the sceptre – the project was presented by Eduard Milén as early as 1950.
Later, the logotype of this faculty was represented by a book – a symbol of all the education devices. The portrait of J. A. Komenský is depicted on the foreside of the medal; the reverse side bears a motto “Traditio lampadis”. The sceptre’s top is symbolized by a flame and is decorated with amethyst. The colour of the Faculty of Education is orange.
Faculty of Economics and Administration
The logotype of the FEA is formed by an antique temple facade with two columns on its sides; an attribute of God of trade and profit Merkurius (caduceus) is part of the temple, together with a symbol of administration (sceptrum). The overall depiction not only stands for a symbol of growth of knowledge, love for wisdom and a benefit bringing understanding; it also symbolizes enterprise, diligence and skillfullness as conditions of success. The portrait of Karel Engliš was chosen for the foreside; the reverse side bears a motto “Efficiency, Economy, Solidarism”. The capital of the sceptre is formed by Mercury’s helmet; the shaft is decorated with topazes. The colour of the Faculty of Economics and Administration is brown.
Faculty of Informatics
The design of RNDr. P. Sojka with an inscription “Ligatura FI” and a motto of B. Pascal “Le silence éternel de ces espaces infinis m´effraie” stand for a symbol of the Faculty of Informatics. The faculty has used the insignia of the Faculty of Science up to the present time. The colour of the faculty is bright saffron.
Faculty of Social Studies
The author of the logotype of the Faculty of Social Studies is Lefteris Joanidis. The ambiguous character of the logotype is symbolized by the two ways of looking at it – one can see either two faces turned to each other, or white chalice. Therefore, the logotype stands for a symbol of communication or relationship between two people, which is the core of the faculty’s specialization. The medal and the sceptre also comprise of the two profiles defining a chalice. The sceptre is embellished by gemstones; crystal decorates the lid of the chalice. The insignias of the faculty have been used since 2004. The colour of the Faculty of Social Studies is yellow-green.
Faculty of Sports Studies
The colours of the faculty are blue and turquoise. The overall design of the logotype is based on the letter abbreviation and it conveys primary information about the specialization of the faculty, which is sport. The plain rhomboid merges into a double S; the rake angle of 80 degrees is supposed to evoke a feeling of dynamic and modern faculty. The author of the design is František Borovec.