University Challenged – UBC’s Student Society Sunny AMS Logo


The Alma Mater Society (AMS) of the University of British Columbia Vancouver (an AMS to my fellow non Americas readers is a Students Union (SU)) as part of a larger redevelopment have announced a new logo by Glasfurd & Walker.

It’s moved from a circular sun on a wavy background to a more formal shield containing the lowercase letters ams and a small stylised sun at the base, plus EST. 1915.

There were a few high profile university rebrands in 2013 (although this isn’t the Uni itself, just the SU) and the AMS follows some trends here, the University of New Hampshire plumped for a paired down shield design containing just an N and H, which was doing the rounds towards the end of the year on all the design blogs (I didn’t report it here because it was so exposed elsewhere). It wasn’t loved by all with predictable responses such as the comment on the linked post:

“Can’t believe they spent so much for such a banal and plain result.”


New University of New Hampshire Logo
New University of New Hampshire Logo

The University of Waterloo dropped a modernised 2009 logo of a big rave esq W for a refined and updated version of the ceremonial shield they kept on as a “posh” option.


Updated UW logo
Updated UW logo
Come to Waterloo, have a rave.
Come to Waterloo, have a rave.

Johns Hopkins University added a shield where none was before.


And Suffolk University in Boston dropped their “picture of a bell tower” logo an sneaked a stylised shield and some flames in.

New Suffolk Logo
New Suffolk Logo
Old Bell Tower logo
Old Bell Tower logo

This small sample then tells us that Shield = University and anyone willing to stray beyond is a brave soul (Kudos to Helsinki then for this excellent text based design).

Therefore it seems logical for the AMS to head in a shield direction and to use elements from the previous design, namely the sun. That previous one was due an update you fell, it’s got an especially 1990’s look to it without being in anyway offensive or particularly poor, all lowercase could be questioned but, hey they kept that on the “ams” of the new one so somebody likes it.

Does it need “est 1915”? Almost certainly not, I don’t see what it adds? I like my University to have heritage but I want my Students Union to be looking forwards not behind. Still it does seem, as Everton FC can attest, folks like cramming stuff into shields.

The new one is a touch bland, this coming from me who likes a simple stylish 1 colour logo, it doesn’t show any character,  it looks like more of a University brand than a Student brand, more so when you look at the actual university logo, which is, wait for it, a shield, with a sun in and 3 letters at the top (pus a wave or three). There’s a little discussion from Feb 2012 in the minutes of a meeting which is interesting to read (page 2, point 3) where this worry about looking the same comes up.

And the final design is a modification of one Glasfurd & Walker had proposed (I’d love to see that one if anyone has it..?) that was dropped apparently for font licensing issues.

But the trouble remains, this looks like an evolution of the UBC brand, of a University, and not of the AMS student brand.

UBC University Logo


via The Ubyssey 

EDIT: This business card has the original logo and lettering, not sure what it is, and the EST is dropped for “Student Society of UBC”, it’s this logo they must be talking about in that linked PDF from 2012. I like this more.

A previous version in application.
A previous version in application.

About is a website sharing opinion on logo design and branding.

Kieran Harrod is a freelance designer based in the United Kingdom. more…


If you’d like to support, you can consider buying your fonts at using the referral link.


© All 2021 All rights reserved. A site by Kieran Harrod Design

Submit a Designs for Review

I’d be delighted to receive your recommendations for brands and logos to review. All submissions should provide a link to a portfolio page or case study with multiple images. The more information you can provide, the more likely a brand will be reviewed.

Only real projects will be reviewed, please don’t link to concept logos or proposed rebrands.

Submission does not guarantee a review. Size, quality and other subjective factors all play into what might be reviewed.

Stay up-to-date, subscribe to on YouTube