Penn State Logo

penn state logo

Pennsylvania State University has two main logotypes: an athletic logo that belongs to Nittany Lions program, and the institutional logo (“shield logo”). The athletic logo depicts a lion’s head in navy blue.

Penn State logo meaning and history

penn state logo history

The Nittany Lion was chosen as the mascot for the athletic program of Pennsylvania State University in the early 1990s. A Nittany Lion is not a real animal, this is how one could call lions living nearby Mount Nittany. This animal was “invented” by the school’s senior H. D. Mason in 1907. Interestingly enough, by the time the lion was chosen as the school’s emblem, not a single lion had been seen near Mount Nittany for two or three decades.

penn state new logo

Fran Fisher, longtime radio broadcaster for Penn State football, was among those involved in developing the logotype. According to him, the school made its goal to start making money out of the University’s merchandize – the approach that had not been used by other schools before. An attorney recommended Fisher to begin with creating a unique logo and licensing it.

Emblem Penn State

Emblem Penn State

Because of the fact that Nittany lion was extinct, Roy Parcels of the Dixon and Parcels agency, which was commissioned to create the Penn State logo, had some problems figuring out what the animal could look like.

penn state football logo

To make things worse, a lion was an extremely popular mascot – 200 schools had a lion for the mascot. Parcel mentioned he was not going to depict a ferocious animal with enormous teeth and claws. He seemed to be on the same page with the coaches in the University’s teams, who had been surveyed for the purpose: many of them wanted the emblem to emphasize the lion’s class and dignity.

Symbol Penn State

Symbol Penn State

None of the first 15 versions created by Parcels seemed to satisfy his clients. The second series of designs, which was presented in about three months, was more successful.

Originally, the name of the teams was placed below the logo, yet in the course of time it was removed as the logo itself became recognizable even without the text.

Font of the Penn State Logo

penn state university logo

The current logotype features a minimalistic sans serif font with flattened vertexes. In comparison with the previous wordmark logo, which was a custom artwork rather than a combination of glyphs taken from an existing font, the current logo looks simple, if not generic. In terms of legibility, though, the current type is by far better. You can easily read it at first glance, while its predecessor was somewhat confusing.

The 2005 Penn State logo virtually coincides in its shape with the one created by Roy Parcels in 1983. However, in the 2000s and 2010s the club went through several other wordmark logos before returning to the iconic 1983 version.

Color of the Penn State Logo

Color Penn State Logo

The two colors seen on the Penn State Nittany Lions logo are navy blue (Pantone 282 C) and white. In addition to them, the hockey mark also features red (Pantone 200 C), while the shield marks of the University itself include three shades of blue: Pantone 287 C and its 30% screen version, as well as light blue (Pantone 284C). The team’s mascot, Nittany Lion, has brown as one of its dominant colors (Pantone 1245 C).