Though no longer in use, a keen eye can still spot the University of Idaho starburst in various locations around campus. Also referred to as “the daisy” or “the snowflake,” the starburst was the official logo for the university from 1971-2006.
Leo Ames, the creative director and head of publications at U of I, wanted a design that would have an immediate visual impact and hired Kern Devin, Jr. out of Seattle to create the logo which he did by alternating “U”s and “I”s in a circle. Ames explained that the “U”s and “I”s symbolized the various disciplines which united to form the university. The star-shape in the center marked the university as the oldest Idaho higher education institution, radiating out to serve the rest of the state.
When a new marketing campaign was launched in 2006, it was decided that the logo was too frumpy, had admirably served its purpose, and the time had come for it to be retired. There was outcry from some alumni and students, but to no avail.
Removing the starburst from campus was a daunting challenge. It was everywhere – light fixtures, refuse bins, decorative embellishments on fireplaces, courtesy phone panels, and informational plaques. Finally, it was decided it would be gradually phased out during regular maintenance around campus. It was officially retired in 2007.
In recent years, the starburst has returned to the University as a retro design on merchandise available at the VandalStore.
Alderman, Jesse Harlan. “Students protest demise of University of Idaho logo” Associated Pres, Nov. 20, 2006.
Bird, Kenton. “The Old…and New, of the Idaho Look.” Argonaut, Nov. 13, 1973.
Garmire, Sean. “Plaque but no tower for logo.” Argonaut, Mar 27, 2007.
Rugg, Janet. “University symbol redesigned.” Argonaut, Oct. 23, 1970.