An Emblem for the Association

15 Dec An Emblem for the Association

The excerpts below refer to a very early effort on the part of Telluride Association to develop an emblem for itself. The effort was “crowd-sourced,” and generated a fair amount of discussion. Apparently, however, the early efforts led to naught…

From 1912 Proceedings, pp. 23-24.
Mr. Ray submitted a letter from L.L. Vincent in which he gave two designs for an emblem, and various suggestions in regard to the way in which either might be manufactured in case one or the other was accepted as the Association emblem. These emblems have as their basic idea the Wheel of Fortune combined with the Torch of Knowledge. The following is an extract from the minutes in regard to this matter:

“Wegg moved that is in the sense of this convention that an emblem be adopted at this time, that the emblem without the wing is the one desired and that a committee of three be appointed to carry the work to ultimate completion. Parker moved to amend the motion ‘that design with wing is preferable.’ Munroe moved as an amendment that a committee of five instead of three be appointed. Howard seconded Parker’s amendment. Mr. Nunn stated that he felt we were not ready to adopt the emblem; thought that matter should be referred to a committee with instructions to take up with those fit give advice and added that he hoped it would not be rushed through. Mr. Nunn moved that we table Mr. Wegg’s motion with the amendments. Ashworth seconded. Miller arose to urge the adoption of a pin. Ruled out of order. Standing vote taken, showing 42 for and 30 against. Motion carried.

Ashworth moved that a committee of eleven be appointed to investigate matter of pin for next year and that a sum of $30.00 be appropriated from Convention Expense, in order that committee could get out design. Munroe seconded. Townsend suggested that smaller committee be appointed. Parker amended the motion to read: ‘Committee of five from one place, such committee to confer with a member of each one of the other branches.’ B.S. Walcott seconded. Amendment carried. Motion as amended carried. Ashworth suggested that Ellms be made a member of above committee.”

In accordance with the above motion the following committee on emblem was appointed: D.S. Wegg, chairman; W.V. Ellms, McRea Parker, W.D. Alexander and W.H. Maguire. Mr. L.L. Vincent was tendered a vote of thanks for his work done toward selecting an emblem for the Association.

1914 Proceedings, p. 50.
“The committee appointed at the 1913 convention to investigate for the Association the matter of an emblem reported their recommendation, that no selection of an emblem and seal be made at this time. This report was adopted.”

Recent years
There have been some conversations in recent years at the Association about a new logo, its artistic merit, philosophical meaning and accurate representation. The images shared above were reconsidered and generated some interest:


  • The retro nature of these emblems suggests history and permanence, two desirable qualities to advertise when negotiating with partner institutions.
  • I enjoy their classic Greco-Roman aesthetic, which I think is appropriate for an organization with our mission and history.
  • Our various TA-identified images in the recent past (fonts, logos) have been rather severe and linear. This has made good sense, especially when evoking the architecture of the houses, but perhaps it came at the cost of missing the warmth and quirky fun that I so strongly associate with Telluride.


Some of the ideas for a new logo that members brought up were:

  • The inclusion of abstracted but recognizably male and female figures, and the image of them engaged in collaborative striving and mutual support
  • The idea that the figures are both breaking the circular frame of the emblem and yet endeavoring to push against it and perhaps to expand it. It think that this works as a metaphor for “broadening the field of knowledge” but also as a visual endorsement of the idea of interrogating and challenging boundaries more generally.
  • The swirling drapery, in this context as a metaphor for the free and unconstrained exchange of ideas.
  • A friendly, not overly representational olive tree in a nice muted brown, the trunk of which meekly suggests the look of a scroll, with TELLURIDE above and ASSOCIATION below in some sane color such as white or green or dark blue? A sun rising behind it would probably be overkill.


Members also talked about what values the logo should represent and what emotions should it elicit:

  • Cool and dewy calm, contemplative maturity, innocence, humility
  • Warmth, connection, community
  • Being part of a proud tradition — like the feeling of being applauded by your professors as you walk to your graduation
  • Courage and resilience. The thing that sets Telluride apart from other supportive communities is our unflinching willingness to grapple with ethical questions.
  • Maintain the boldness without losing the warmth. Many of us have made dear, dear friends in Telluride, and I’d love to achieve a logo that captured the ways in which our communities are tough and demanding but also (and in part because of this) often full of delightful surprises.

These discussions in 2009 led to the adoption of our current emblem – the T in the orange circle. What are your thoughts on the logo? Does it capture the history and values of the Association?

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