Stony Brook University has created a new logo.

Stony Brook University has created a new logo. Credit: Handout

Gone are the familiar Milton Glaser-designed colored circles featuring starry skies and white rays.

Welcome the new logo for Stony Brook University: a red shield featuring a single star and a cluster of rays.

To bolster its image, the university has crafted an updated logo, simplified its name and re-branded its medical components.

The medical school and related disciplines will all be known under the rubric of Stony Brook Medicine, and the hospital Stony Brook University Hospital. The college will be known simply as Stony Brook University. Gone are the familiar: State University at Stony Brook, SUNY-Stony Brook, and SBU.

When the school was founded in 1957, the original logo featured wavy lines with a circle, said university president Dr. Samuel Stanley Jr.

"It was redone in the mid-90s into the three balls," he said. "The feeling was it was kind of a dated-looking logo."

Plus, no one Stanley asked seemed to know the symbolism of the red, blue and green circles arranged in a triangle.

Glaser, the artist behind such famous advertising logos as "I Love NY" and the Brooklyn Brewery symbol, said the idea was to show the transformative effects of higher learning.

"It was supposed to be the idea of illumination, light penetrating darkness -- cosmic meaning of some kind," he said.

But the university wanted a more modern style. "We arrived at something that was more forward-looking, and kept the star and the rays," Stanley said.

The shield logo, created by Alabama-based Lewis Communications, represents strength and also fits the mold of the traditional academic crest emblem, he said.

While Glaser said he was surprised the university used his logo for so long, he suggested the shield was too stale and traditional of a symbol.

"A shield is so -- if I may say so -- conventional and familiar in academic vocabulary that it's not exactly something they'd be surprised by," he said. "It seems like an old-fashioned idea."

While the new logo is in use online, Stanley said budgetary realities mean the school will update signs and stationery only as necessary.

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