The Sydney University Medical Society (MedSoc) has a historic logo designed by Professor Sir Thomas Anderson Stuart, which has remained in use since the late 1880s. Perhaps the reason this design has endured over a century is the strong symbolism featured on it: the caduceus*, lion passant guardant (USyd, NSW, UK), waratah (NSW), and abbreviation for ‘University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine’.
Unfortunately, the original plates were lost over time and the only digital images we had to work with were two low-detail JPEG files (see images below). Even some on the MedSoc Council didn’t realise that our logo featured a lion and waratah on it.
As part of preliminary work for the Sydney University Medical Journal (SUMJ) 2010, I decided to create a detailed vector version of our logo. I looked through our Journal archives to cross-reference the general design and decided to base my new artwork on a print I found on the cover of SUMJ 1965 (vol. 54)…
The vector logos were created using Adobe Illustrator CS4. From a design perpsective, my primary aim was to modernise the appearance whilst remaining true to the original design. Thus my 2009 version employs cleaner lines and revised geometries, which help to emphasise the symbolic elements. For example, text was set in Univers 73 Black Extended after the style of the 1965 version’s sans-serif type.
The 1965 colour scheme was very eye-catching, dominated by scarlet and jungle green, to the point of being described as ‘Christmassy’ by some. I’m not sure whether this was a true representation of Anderson Stuart’s original colour scheme, but in any case I decided that a more subdued palette was preferable for my 21st century refresh.
The new logos were officially adopted at the 2nd meeting of the 124th MedSoc Council.
*Whilst the caduceus is traditionally the symbol for messengers and commerce (the traditional symbol for medicine being the rod of Asclepius), I suspect that Anderson Stuart chose it deliberately to represent the Royal College of Physicians.