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New College Identity - A Message from the RCSEd President


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22 Sep 2020

I wanted to announce a change to our logo which we have been working on over the past few months and which we have managed to do without significant expense.

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh was founded in 1505 and is therefore one of the oldest Surgical Colleges in the world. We serve almost 30,000 Affiliates, Members, and Fellows across the globe with 40% of our membership based overseas and over 15,500 members in England and Wales. We, therefore, felt it was important that our brand identity reflected our history and our reach. In developing a new logo for the College, we looked to add more gravitas, to show that we are from Edinburgh but also importantly - for the world - and to demonstrate that we are both powerful and benevolent with a friendly, forward-thinking outlook.

We started with our sigillum, which will continue to be an important part of the College fabric and used on all Diplomas and on other key documentation. We took three key things from the crest which we felt were symbolic of the College;

  • Our ‘sun’ which depicts clarity over ignorance;
  • The ‘castle’ which signifies our roots in Edinburgh – a city known for innovation and education in medicine and surgery;
  • Our date of foundation ‘1505’ which marks the date of our Royal charter.

We then looked to our heraldic roots to find a symbol that would bind these elements. The unicorn is a heraldic symbol of Scotland and is known as the ‘Horse of Healing’. It is seen as a force for good in both Western and Eastern mythology. Its qualities are innocence, purity, boldness, pride, healing and nurturing powers, joy, intelligence, hope, and positivity.

More importantly, the unicorn was a favourite heraldic animal of James IV, the king who gave the College its Royal Charter in 1505. The unicorn appeared on one side of his gold coins with the sun on the reverse. A fitting nod to our beginnings.


The new logo will first appear on our new Members App which is live to download now from the app stores. Once again, we will be keeping costs to a minimum in changing all of our materials to the new logo. This task has been relatively easy to do given the lack of the use of paper during the current pandemic.

I hope you like it as much as we do.

Yours sincerely

Professor Michael Griffin, OBE, President, The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh


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