New Logo Honors Bethel College History
From its founding in 1947, Bethel’s values have been reflected in its logo and seal.
When considering what the new Bethel University brand marks would look like, it was important to look to Bethel’s history to inform the future. Four key elements that were established in the early days of the college’s history were identified as essential features that would remain in the new university marks. These are the cross, shield, flame and helm.
“It’s clear that, from the very beginning, these four elements were central to the mission and vision of Bethel’s founders and therefore needed to remain central to our identity,” says Rich Cummins, vice president for institutional advancement.
Cummins oversees Bethel’s Marketing and Communication office, who worked with Brand Innovation Group (BIG) out of Fort Wayne, Ind., to revise the logo, seal and other brand elements. The team from BIG conducted a variety of research before updating the marks.
“A lot of thought, research and discussion went into this update,” says Cummins. “We went through multiple rounds of revisions, because we wanted to get these right and make sure we stayed true to the heart of Bethel’s mission. The whole process took more than six months.”
The new logo, seal, shield and other brand elements can now be seen on campus with spring signage updates. Other communications areas, such as the website, social media, admission materials and Bethel Magazine, will be updated throughout the summer and fall.
The name “Bethel” was submitted by founder J.A. Huffman to the Board of Directors. In a 1948 article of “The Bethel Beacon,” he explains the meaning behind the name.
“Bethel is a beautiful name, a combination of the Hebrew word Bayith which means house, and El, the first part of the Hebrew name for God, Elohim. The name Bethel then means House of God—a very appropriate name for an institution of this kind.”
The original Bethel College logo, printed on the diploma of Bethel’s first graduate, Marcus Krake ’48, visually represents the values upon which Bethel was founded. From the Articles of Incorporation (1947), Bethel’s purpose was, “to establish, operate and maintain a college for the education and training of both men and women … to prepare them for pastoral ministry, missionary and other Christian service; in the arts and sciences …” This can be seen in the helm, cross, Bible and words “With Christ at the Helm.”
The official logo of Bethel College was designed to symbolically represent the basic beliefs and commitments of the institution. The logo is composed of: The Lamp of Learning – represents the involvement of faculty and students in a wholesome educational experience; The Cross of Christ – represents the commitments of the Bethel community to Christ and His principles; The Shield – represents Christ’s presence as we participate in our community and the affairs of the contemporary world; The Helm – symbolizes Christ’s guidance to the individual and to the institution.
In 2006, the Public Relations Office (now Marketing and Communications) worked with the agency RHB to establish new brand marks. Two seals (corporate and presidential), were created, which incorporate many elements of the 1968 logo, including the shield, lamp, flame, helm, cross, and words “With Christ at the Helm.” New logos were also established in 2006, including a horizontal and stacked version, using the shield/starburst as a graphic element. The presidential seal is shown. A corporate version of the seal included the word Indiana at the bottom.
Shield – At the very center of our logo and seal, the shield represents Christ’s presence at the heart of all we do.
Flame – Inside the shield, the flame represents both the lamp of learning and the Holy Spirit. The bright, hot center of our mission, the flame conveys the intersection of faith and learning. Like the Missionary Church flame, it has three tips representing the Trinity.
Cross – Visible in the top left corner of the shield and completed by the flame’s tip, the cross represents Bethel’s commitment to Christ and His principles.
Helm – Bethel’s motto, “With Christ at the Helm,” remains at the bottom of the seal, symbolizing Christ’s guidance over the institution.