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A history of UW logos – Which is your favorite?

University of Washington logos

For Huskies, the University of Washington means many things. To the majority of people outside the UW community, the school is an image—a purple block W.  

When people look at the logo, no matter where they are, they don’t just see the logo. They see their personal experiences with the university, and their impressions are based on media and other sources. They see the UW’s reputation.  

With its logo, mascot and color scheme, the UW has always tried to represent the students, the school and the ideals held here. The brand’s evolution has taken some unusual twists and turns but has endlessly inspired students and alumni alike. Let’s open the history books and look back at nearly a century of UW logos.  

First, some interesting notes:  

  • Until 1919, the UW did not have a mascot and used only the block W. But as other schools adopted mascots across the nation, Columns reported, student leaders realized that Washington needed an icon.
  • The nickname “Sun Dodgers” was used until the UW switched to Huskies in 1922. Wanting to move away from Sun Dodgers, university officials decided to go with Vikings but students immediately protested and the school settled on Huskies a few months later.
  • It wasn’t until 1984 that the UW agreed it needed a clear identity and moved to adopt a consistent logo and color scheme. Before that, more than 550 licensees were authorized to use either the block W or Husky logos, and the result was a mishmash of UW imagery.

    University of Washington logo 1919

    Sunny Boy statue at Husky Hall of Fame.

Our story begins with a drawing in the Sept. 1919 issue of the on-campus magazine, Sun Dodger, in which a staff artist depicted a fictional UW student named “Sunny Boy,” a smiling freshman wearing a huge bow tie and carrying an umbrella (right). Despite the initial protests of magazine staff, the name “Sun Dodgers” stuck with the local press and Sunny Boy grew in popularity. Eventually, students commissioned a 3-foot-tall wooden statue in his likeness and carried it to the away football games. See the video from the Husky Hall of Fame.

An article in the Washington Alumnus, which later became Columns magazine, noted the Husky is “a symbol of willingness, courage, endurance, strength and fight.” After settling on the new name, university officials were most excited to use a live dog as an on-the-field mascot, and felt the name Huskies “suggests the idea that Washington is the most northern American university on the Pacific Coast.” A nod to our neighbors to the north, eh?  

The Husky logo itself underwent many changes over the years. Sometimes it would smile slightly (1932). Other times it looked a little mean (1971). Sometimes it appeared cartoonish (1959). Other times it was serenely realistic University of Washington logo 2001(1979). For a few years in the 1950s, the logo returned to the block W that had been popular before 1919, and when the Husky design converged with the block W for the first time in 1979, the W stayed on.  

In 2001, the UW finished a two-year collaboration with Nike to create a standardized color system and modern Husky logo (left). Athletics Director Barbara Hedges told The Daily at the time, “It’s a very striking logo. It gives our student athletes a strong identity that they deserve.” Not everyone was excited about the new design, however. A UW sophomore was quoted in a 2001 Daily column: “I can’t trust it. The old one had so much pride. It was a loyal dog. The new one looks like it’s going to steal my hamburger from the barbecue.”  

The UW’s current branding initiative began in 2007 and moved the focus back to the block W. In doing so, the university is creating a brand thUniversity of Washington logo 1995at anyone can recognize simply by seeing the purple W. Bold, bright purple lends itself to the innovative nature of UW students and alumni, while the block lettering shows we are unabashedly proud to stand out among the crowd.  

In a 2005 Alumni Vote, UW graduates selected the 1995 logo (right) as their all-time favorite. This rendition shows a determined Husky with a block W in the background. What’s your favorite UW logo? Which logo was in effect during your time on campus?  

Please do share!

Graphic by Ken Shafer Design.


115 Responses to “A history of UW logos – Which is your favorite?”

  1. Ellyn Turner wrote:
    January 14, 2011

    I still like the 1995 logo. However, I attended the UW in the 70’s and have the 1979 Husky, minus the W, tattooed on my arm.

    • Steve Stageberg wrote:
      June 9, 2011

      I like the 1995 with the ‘real’ Malamute. I’ve heard for some time now that the weasel was getting the boot. Long overdue.

      My two Malamutes agree…

  2. Thai-Duong Nguyen wrote:
    January 14, 2011

    I attended UW from 2000 to 2005, and marched in the HMB from 2001 to 2005. All over campus on everything I saw the logo W that is labeled as the 1974 logo. That’s my favorite, probably because I’ve seen it so much.

    The 2001 dog’s head is from Nike, and I thought it looks cool but couldn’t “embrace” it knowing that it is from the company owned by Phil Knight, who contributes a lot to our contemporary rival, Oregon.

    • Dawg Father wrote:
      January 18, 2011

      the 2001 logo is the worst logo ever. it looks like a weasel

      • Karly wrote:
        January 25, 2011

        YES! I agree… a weasel. I went to school from 1999-2002 and I hated the Weasel… and I now own a husky and she certainly looks more like the 95 Husky.

        All in all I like the W or the 95 Husky with the W behind it.

  3. Jeremy McCollum wrote:
    January 14, 2011

    I like 2001. The 1995 one, when I was attending, was my second favorite.

  4. Jeff wrote:
    January 14, 2011

    Attended ’92-’95. Love the ’95, ’79, and ’74 logos. I hope the weasel is consigned to the dustbin of history.

  5. Benjamin Lukoff wrote:
    January 14, 2011

    Attended ’94-’97, but both parents were professors, so my family has pretty much always been associated with the UW. My favorite’s ’79, but that’s probably because that’s the first one I knew. ’95’s pretty good. Bring back the Husky — I don’t like the ones with just a W.

  6. Jason wrote:
    January 14, 2011

    Attended from 1999-2004. I’m a big fan of the 2007 logo. Love the timeless simplicity of it.

  7. Richard Tracey wrote:
    January 14, 2011

    No, never to the Hedges/Neuheisel/Nike logo! I attended 68-72 & 82-86 but don’t know if that affects my choice, which would be the 95 “UW” design.

  8. Marijana Pavlich wrote:
    January 14, 2011

    I graduated in 2004, but my favourite logo is the ’95. The 2001 is stylish, but it looks more like Nike than the UW. There should always be a dawg on the logo; I don’t like the letter standing alone.

  9. Peter wrote:
    January 14, 2011

    Attended 94-99′ I like 07′, 01′, 95′ (in order). I need something that will stand the test of time to paint on my new kegerator and am going with the 07′

  10. Craig wrote:
    January 14, 2011

    Attended 2002-06 and I’ll always love the 74 dawg the best! However, I do like the slightly restructured current W the best of all the W logos.

    The block W stands proud and strong and it’s great to see it incorporated on more and more university materials, from academic to administrative to athletic.

    However, I think we need to add an official Husky logo to serve as a secondary logo — it doesn’t need to be placed in front of the W. My vote is to bring back either the 74 (my favorite) or the 95 (the people’s choice, based on the last vote held) and make it official again.

  11. Craig wrote:
    January 14, 2011

    Whoops, the 79 dawg!

  12. Chris wrote:
    January 14, 2011

    Most are pretty good… 1995 has the biggest lead followed by 1979.. We need to get rid of the “Coyote” looking Husky 2001 – Rick Neweasle’s era..

  13. Kammerer wrote:
    January 14, 2011

    Class of 2002, the 1995 was the logo seen everywhere until just before graduation in 2002. It is my favorite and by far the best. The 2001 weasel dog logo had NO student input and is still an embarrassment to the school. I still refuse to purchase, display or wear that logo! The 2007 logo is a step back in the right direction and I hope the school brings back the 1995 logo of the dog in front of the W!

  14. Merrily Johnson Stewart wrote:
    January 14, 2011

    Attended 1960-1964. I really like any of the logos with either a strong, bold W (especially ’74) or a W with a Husky(’79 and/or ’85). I was embarrassed to even have the funny looking Dawg in 2001 as our logo. I own lots of Husky stuff, but I don’t think I even bought a single item with that weasel on it.

  15. Candice wrote:
    January 14, 2011

    I like the ’79 and ’95 logos. Those Dawgs look awesome. I hate the weasel Dawg. Thought it was going away and it needs to. Not majestic or deserving of our time.

  16. Patricia H. wrote:
    January 15, 2011

    Class of ’84, but started with the ’79 logo which was too goofy looking. Like most people, I like the ’95 with the ‘W’ and regal looking Husky. I also love the strength of the singular (no Husky) block, but if you’re not from here, you may not translate it to the UW (Washington). I despised the 2001 Nike Swoosh Husky. We don’t need to advertise for them. Plus, isn’t that when the purple and gold hues change to more ‘blue/purple and muted gold? Personally, I’d like to see another variation with the 2007 ‘W’ and the 95 Husky. I think that would look refined and strong.

  17. Bill Volkmann wrote:
    January 15, 2011

    I agree with Patricia H. I’m class of 75. The icons in 95 are the best I’ve seen anywhere. If we’re gonna be the Dawgs, got to have one in the icon and not the “weasel” looking one.

  18. UW Husky wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    It’s all about the Happy Husky logo. The Weasel logo can take a hike.

    There is one logo that’s not on the list. I have an old pennant, probably late 60s or 70s, with a logo I’ve never seen on anything else. It has a Husky with “U of W” as part of the Husky’s body.

    • Sarah Chesner wrote:
      January 18, 2011

      That is a really interesting logo. I will try to find out exactly when that one is from and why it wasn’t included in the poll they did in 2005.

    • Joe Stephanson wrote:
      January 18, 2011

      That is an awesome icon on your pennant. I actually saw a couple like that on eBay.

  19. Rick Robbins wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    1995. Dub and Dawg. Perfect.

  20. TheDawgDude wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    It has to be 1995. Of the “W”s, ’74 edges out ’07.

    Oh, and please, please burn every Weasel in existence (’01).

  21. John wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    1979 hands down

  22. Jason wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    Currently a graduate student at UW. 2007 by a mile, for me. Like a previous poster said, I like the simplicity and timelessness of it, which I think is crucial for branding. Not a big fan of any of the other logos actually, and I will throw in my agreement that the 2001 logo is pretty awful.

  23. AnchorageDawg wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    Both 1995 logos are prime time AWESOME . . . I’d love to see more “throwback” logo apparel available for purchase . . . The current selection is very limited.

    • lucky wrote:
      February 23, 2011

      I am shocked to see that so many people liked the 2001 logo. Everyone I’ve talked to has agreed that it is the worst and it looks weaselish. I love the 79′ but I think 95′ is the best. Go Dawgs!

  24. Joseph wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    I like the 95 best, but also enjoy the block W in its several forms. I hate the weasel. I was at the U from 2002 to 2005, the heart of weasel time. We only lost under the weasel motto, burn it!

  25. Ben wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    I attended ’98-’01. Got to go with ’95. ’74, ’79 and the current logo are great too. Ironic how the ’95 logo is the most popular yet it coincided with the worst helmets ever (the all-purple ones).

  26. thaddeus wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    i went to UW from 2002-2006 and again for grad school 2009-2010 and I’ve grown acustom to the block W. any logo UW goes with needs to incorporate that. But at the same time we need to pay respect to the Husky. That being said the 1995 logo is great, but i do prefer the 1979. and if you walk around campus on game day, you’ll see a kid with his parents old tshirt or sweater with with either the 79 or 95 logo on it and you instantly become jealous. in 20 years no one will be jealous of my weasel gear that i have.

  27. Jeff wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    Attended ’92-97 My favorite is the 1995 Husky much more of a Haida art look to that dawg. Much more proud look than a rip off of the Husky tools logo.

  28. udubalum wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    ’95, hands down

  29. Henry Ware wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    1995 or 2007. NEVER the 2001. What a catastrophe. Somebody’s otherwise unemployed relative got paid to design it, from the looks of it. Calling it a weasel gives the real weasels of the world (including those in Eugene and Pullman) a bad name. It looks more like a jackal.

  30. Joe wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    I was at the UW from 57 through 60. I liked the original W, but not the 2nd W. I never liked the cartoon. My favorites are 79 and 95.

  31. Greg wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    For this 1996 graduate, 1979 is the best by a landslide.

  32. Judy wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    I like the ’95 logo

  33. Elaine wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    I like either the 1979 or the two from 1995. I don’t care for the UW or the dog by themselves.

  34. imarrcuss wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    I like the 1995 logo, even though I attended from ’80 to ’83.

  35. Kristine wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    1995! I am a 2003 alum (1999-2003) but love, love, love the ’95 logo! Bow down!

  36. Mark wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    I attended from 2000 – 2006 for a bachelor’s degree and a certification.

    My favorite is either of the 1995 logos. If I had to choose just one it would be the one on the left with the Husky between the U and W.

  37. Wayne wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    Love the ’95 logo; hate the weasel. I have managed to avoid buying any Husky clothing that displays the weasel and never will. Went to the UW in the late 70s and late 80s.

  38. camano wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    ’95 or ’79

  39. Joshua McFalls wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    2001 !!!!

    • Joshua McFalls wrote:
      January 18, 2011

      2001!!!!! Looks leaner and ready to run !!!!

  40. Laurel wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    1995 logos, hands down.

    My first UW license plates featured this Husky on them. I was required to replace the plates about 2 years ago, and am now stuck with the “weasel” Husky on them.

    • Bow2WA wrote:
      January 18, 2011

      You can get the new plates with the “W” only and no weasel. Lots of people have switched. Good Luck…I refused to get that plate. I just couldn’t stomach it.

  41. DD BROWN wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    79 is my favorite

  42. Matt wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    I’ve never actually heard anything bad about the 2001 logo before. It’s my favorite! I have it displayed at work and most people like it and everyone else is indifferent. Though I’m also at a company with about 5 of 4000 from Washington.

    A block W is so boring.

  43. healiy wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    i like the 2001 one, simple and handsome! lol

  44. Chris McKenny wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    ’95 logo……. ’nuff said!

  45. Ilia wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    I graduated in 2003 and rowed for UW but I love the 95 logo!!! Go Dawgs!!!

  46. Pete wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    wish I could still get 1995 logo on Husky gear

  47. Cheryl Lambe wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    My favorite is the 1995 logo, but I’ve grown to really like the 2001 edition. Wish it had the U and W on it some place though.

  48. Lifelong Dawg wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    I love the 1995 W with Husky and also like the 1979 version or the 1974/2007 strong purple W!!

    Actually, almost anyone of them besides the 2001 logo!! I have always said that looks more like a weasel than it does a Husky.

    Go Dawgs!!

  49. Bow2WA wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    I attended 84-88 and love the 95 dawg with the W behind. The 79 logo is a close 2nd. Destroy the weasel once and for all. I hope to never see it again.

  50. Derek wrote:
    January 18, 2011

    I like the 2001 logo the most, it’s sleek, modern, and a little majestic with it’s head turned like that. I also like the 95′ one though.

    I wonder if the dislike of the 2001 logo is due a lot to the collaboration with Nike.

    • Paul wrote:
      January 20, 2011

      HELL YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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