“Is that the old Civitan logo?” This is a question frequently asked by visitors to Civitan International Headquarters. Truth be told, the Civitan emblem has changed several times since the organization’s founding. As Civitan has changed to meet the needs of the world around us, so has the face of Civitan changed. Here is a look back at the many faces of Civitan over the years – from a humble service club in the American South to an international organization of clubs that span the globe.
1917: The original Civitan emblem was simple, with “Civitan Club” on a triangular field.
Designed by the founding members of Civitan, this emblem originally represented the Birmingham club, then was adopted by other clubs as Civitan spread across the United States. In 1920, with the addition of Canada to the Civitan family of nations, the “International Association” band was added.
This emblem was featured on the cover of the first issue of Civitan Magazine, published in July 1922.
1924: However, even the 1922 logo was seen as informal by many, as it had been merely adapted from the Birmingham logo. At Civitan’s fourth International Convention, incoming International President Stockton Broome was instructed to form a committee to design a “proper emblem.” The emblem was designed by committee member and Jacksonville, FL Civitan Frank Gammon. The logo, unveiled in the December 1924 issue of Civitan Magazine, featured a prominent “C” in the center, bounded above by “International.” The emblem was surrounded by 12 points , representing the twelve tenets of the Civitan creed.
Over the coming decades, several treatments of the logo were used. The Civitan motto, “BUILDERS OF GOOD CITIZENSHIP,” was included in a scroll format nearby. The “C” was slightly modified, and often turned pure white, in contrast to the blue and gold of the logo. However, the core design of the Civitan logo remained the same.
1980: In 1979, International President Syd Fishman charged his Public Relations committee with the task of enhancing Civitan’s image. To help achieve that goal, a new logo was designed. It was unveiled at the 1980 International Convention in San Diego, CA. This new logo, designed by graphic designer Chuck Cuba of Chelsea, Michigan, was distinct from that of other service clubs, and gave Civitan a more modern look at the start of the 1980’s.
However, the new logo faced certain unforeseen difficulties. It was difficult to incorporate “International” into the design, so a slightly different treatment was adopted in 1986. This incorporated colors of gold and black, with “International” added inside a circular band.
1992: By the 1990s, there were also concerns that the “heart” logo was itself becoming outdated, as the 1980’s passed into history. After a great deal of discussion, the International Board voted to return to a more traditional look with the official Civitan logo. This was based on the long-standing logo of 1924, and incorporated a grid-style globe at the center, to represent Civitan’s international focus. The twelve bands around the border also returned, to represent the twelve points of the Civitan creed (which had itself changed in the intervening years).
Today: The current medallion logo is the core symbol of Civitan today. There are a handful of alternative treatments currently in use. In 2008, a slightly more modern treatment of the logo, the first to be created entirely digitally, was made available. Clubs are welcome to use either logo with their own materials, and can now receive them in seconds from International Headquarters via email.
Civitans now look forward to our centennial anniversary in 2017. No one can say what face Civitan will take in the next ten, twenty, or even hundred years. Come what may, rest assured that the true face of Civitan – the average club member, working to help others – will make those who came before us proud.