Gallaudet University, Washington’s college for the deaf, has introduced a new logo (right) that actually incorporates sign language into the school’s name.

According to an article by Daniel de Vise in the Washington Post:

The pair of arcing lines above the new logo for Gallaudet University, unveiled Wednesday, might look like a random flourish of decorative branding. But to the Gallaudet community, they mean a great deal more.

Gallaudet leaders believe they have come up with the first university logo to incorporate both English and American Sign Language. The arcing lines, which sweep across the letters of “Gallaudet” and meet in a point, represent the unique sign that corresponds to the university’s name.

The logo project can take up a lot of time, and millions of dollars in consulting fees, at universities as they struggle to find images that convey what they are in a relatively simple, elegant fashion. (This is the old logo.) There’s also some potential to make a horrible mistake with such campaigns.

Gallaudet was apparently in meetings with designers, and no one was coming up with anything that really worked. It’s a hard concept, anyway, as Gallaudet is a really unique school.

Apparently at one point the designer pointed out the arch in the school’s chapel window (seen at: 32) was also meant to symbolize the Gallaudet symbol in American Sign Language, “formed by a swooping motion of the forefinger and thumb,” according to de Vise. [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer