Sir, can you tell me about the new logo? – The Head’s answer, a Bubble exclusive!

Over the course of the last few weeks I have been asked on a number of occasions about the new logo.  Therefore, I hope it will be helpful to write a short piece on the reason and inspiration for the new logo that pupils and staff will begin to see appearing on your computer screens, on publications and around the school site.

Firstly, it might be helpful to make clear that the School has never really had a logo in the true sense of the word.  The second point to make clear is that the coat of arms, with which the School is associated, will remain and will be a component of our visual identity.

The coat of arms which we use is, in fact, the coat of arms of Greenwich Hospital.  The shield with the cross of St. George, the crown representing our royal patronage, the Royal Naval crown at the top, the four anchors and the interchangeable use of Reg Hosp Gren and Otia Tuta, provide us with a link to our foundation, the organisation which oversees the running of the School, Greenwich Hospital.  It remains an important validation of our long history.

The new logo
The school’s coat of arms

One of the questions that I have asked many pupils is what they think of when you mention “BBC”.  What everyone thinks of is the BBC logo which is easily recalled; the two Bs and a C in the blocks. However, not many people will be aware that they have a coat of arms which is equally important for the organisation.



The BBC coat of arms and the BBC logo

Many organisations which have long histories will have a coat of arms, a heraldic symbol giving a sense of their history and origin and providing a symbol of their credibility. Coats of arms in England are regulated and granted to individuals by the English Kings of Arms of the College of Arms. The Greenwich Hospital coat of arms was only registered formally in August 2015.

logo greenwich hosp auth

Authorisation of the Greenwich Hospital coat of Arms taken at the offices of Greenwich Hospital

However, coats of arms are complicated and visually very similar, so many organisations use a logo that is easily recognisable, easy to use and reflect the nature of the organisation.

Logos are used to provide a visual identity.  You need only look at the logos below to realise how effective a logo can be in providing visual identities that make them instantly recognisable, without even the use of words.

Back in January 2016, we started to look at exactly what RHS stood for, what it was known for and what was so distinctive about the School.  During the process, parents, alumni, pupils and staff were engaged in trying to distil what makes the School distinctive. From the responses, we have been able to find common ground, statements that were made repeatedly and that will help us to communicate the value of the School to prospective parents, to existing parents, to alumni and to the regional and national community.

As part of this, we have looked to create a logo that is easy to use and, in time, will be instantly recognisable. This new logo, as you will now be aware, has two distinct features; the building and the clock tower, which is such a presence within this area and can be seen from Essex, Suffolk and far afield. It also features the sails that link us with the Royal Navy, the sense of naval heritage and the influence the school has had in maritime exploration.

It is deliberately made to look something like a crown because we are the Royal Hospital School and our association with the Royal family, with whom our patronage, is so important.

One of the interesting aspects of this process is that last year, when I was clearing out some paperwork, I came across one of the first publications that was produced for the School back in 1933 (see below).  On the front of this rather worn copy, created at the launch of the School, is what could be described as the School’s first logo; it shows a crown and the sails. When compared with the latest publication, the School’s new prospectus, there are real similarities and therefore perhaps our new logo is not so new after all!


Where will the logo be used?

  • Publications and written material
  • Emails and communication
  • Minibuses
  • Advertising
  • Signage
  • Sports equipment

Where will the coat of arms be used?

  • School uniform and sports kit (simplified crest as currently used)
  • Architectural design such as the Jutland Memorial
  • Official documents

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