There have been three official UW logos: the early Numen Lumen seal, the wordmark logo and the current logo, the W crest.
In a letter dated Feb. 11, 1854, UW Chancellor J.H. Lathrop translated Numen Lumen as “God our light” when he proposed the alleged Latin phrase for the university seal; however, over the years, a number of scholars have challenged that interpretation.
The UW-Madison wordmark was requested by Chancellor Donna Shalala in 1990, and after a relatively short life, it was replaced in 2001 by the W crest and wordmark, with approval from Chancellor John Wiley MS’65, PhD’68. The latest logo is meant to capture both long-standing traditions and the spirit of the campus. It incorporates a familiar architectural detail — a crest emblazoned with a "W," created in 1929 by an unknown architect or designer for use on the Field House — paired with the words "The University of Wisconsin-Madison," along with the UW’s official colors and a specific typeface.
In addition to the official UW logo, the Athletic Department has a series of its own recognizable images, including Bucky Badger and the Motion W.