Here's a quick web page I threw together to look at some classic Pitt logos This is far from complete, just what I had laying around my hard drive or on the web. At some point in the very distant future when I have more time, I may add more or more high resolution images if I have them available.

This may be one of the first University logos (circa 1870) when its name was the Western University of Pennsylvania.

For the major logos for the University of Pittsburgh have been dominated by a simple block "PITT" and a "Script Pitt". A block "P" can be seen on the sweaters of football players in photographs dating back to the the time of the name change of the university from Western University of Pennsylvania to the University of Pittsburgh in 1908. The block "P" is also evident on the uniform of the 1911 Pitt track & field and 1914 fencing team photos. Block "Pittsburgh" is seen in photographs of track and baseball players from the 1920s. The block "PITT" is probably the logo used for the longest time and by the vast majority of sports teams. Evidence of block "PITT" on sweatshirts and uniforms can be seen on early 20s basketball team uniforms. Block Pitt logos of one incarnation or the other remained on the basketball team uniforms until the 70s when an alternatve cursive version of a "Script Pitt" script showed up (see basketball uniforms below) that wasn't replaced by the standardized version seen on football helmets until the mid 80s. More photographic evidence shows up for the block Pitt logo in the 30s in all sports and remained in use up through the 70s.

The most famous and controversal (because of vocal contingent of fans desiring its return) logo is the "Script Pitt". The earliest evidence I can find of a "Script Pitt" is on women's basketball uniforms from the early 1920s. These were a similar cursive style font similar to the basketball uniforms of the 70s (see basketball uniforms below) and also showed up on sweatshirts worn by the football team in the 40s and 50s as well and on track warmups of the 60s. However, most uniforms and other articles still used block Pitt designs and this cursive Pitt script appears to be a type of secondary logo. Of designs similar to the stylized one familar to most in the 70s and 80s, one of the earliest uses of a similar style is on a 1952 Football preview and of the football program from the 1959 season pictured below. This designe may have actually been designed for the 150th anniversary of Pitt in 1937 by Agnes Starrett, a resident historian at Pitt, and has been said to be a stylized version of William Pitt's signature.

SCRIPT PITTs: The design is actually a stylized version of the signature of British Secretary of State during the French and Indian War (and later Prime Minister), William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, for whom Fort Pitt and later Pittsburgh were named. The scipt Pitt logos became the most dominant logo/branding for the university and athletic teams starting with its adoption onto the football helmets of the university in 1973. This modern 1973 incarnation was designed by Bob Gessner, who also designed the Pirates logo of the 70s and the original Pittsburgh Penguins logo. However, the the use of the Pitt script logo's colors and exact fonts and designs were never consistent. The most standardized and familiar version ended up being that seen on the football helmet below. Other versions with different nuances existed and were used. Notice the sharp ending on the T's, narrower lettering versus the fat lettering, and different outline/highlights. Different teams would have different versions during the same season (ie. different Pitt script of the football helmet vs the basketball jersey). Personally, I aways loved the blue on black combo. Most of these Pitt scripts appeared are from the 80s-90s.

This is one of the only known examples of the "Pitt Script" font that I've seen used for other lettering.

Sport integrated Pitt scripts (circa late 80s/90s). : places the dates to this logo from1981-1988 though I believe it was used earlier. Alternative color scheme is also below:


There are many not here that I know exist and were used relatively widely used. indicates this logo was in use from 1947-1955:

circa 1950, this Panther logo appeared on a trading card feature a Pitt All-American. It looks like the exact head of the above logo facing the opposite direction: indicates this logo was in use from 1956-1965:

Of course this football uniform patch circa 1960 looks alot more like Walt Harris era torch-cut logo helmets.

cira 1964, I believe this logo appeared on football helmets and used the late 80ish bright yellow and blue color scheme starting in 1966: has this design dated in used from 1966-1972. I remember seeing similar designs on t-shirts as late as the 80s.

this unknown Pitt designs using various panthers:

1970s to early 90s: The mid/late 80s saw a change in color scheme to bright yellow and blue away from the more mustardy yellow/dark blue colors of the 70's early 80s. Several Panther design logos were used including these below...the most common one being the running panther on the block "Pitt" and the bulbous head panther facing left with block "Pitt". The script Pitt in various incarnations was still the primary logo with color schemes matching the flavor of the day.

More recently, the interest in retro collegiate products has led to specialization in companies such as College Vault licencing and producing merchandise with older university logos. These logos are retro, and have been used int the past, but some appear to have been slight cleaned up for use as scalable vector graphics. College Vault's retro Pitt logos are below. Notice the script Pitt is the version found on the basketball uniforms of the 70s.

This logo was used to celebrate 100 years of Pitt football in 1990 and 100 years of basketball in 2005-2006:

circa 1990s: (Major's II and Ralph Willard Era)

The introduction of alternative script Pitt logos incorporated a new cartoonish panther following a trend for mascot/logo redesigns that seemed to be occurring during this period. It incorporated secondary logos for basketball and football. The Pitt script from the 80's remained the primary logo. With the arrival of Johnny Major's second tour of duty at Pitt, the color scheme was switched back to the mustardy yellow and darker blue though in an attempt to revive the color scheme of the 70s Major's era, but the colors didn't perfectly match the previous edition.

I sort of liked these Panthers as you could easily use them to promote any facet of the university. I mocked up this Neuropathology logo for that division when I worked there:

stuff from 1997-2005 (Steve Pederson/Walt Harris era):

With much controversy, the script Pitt logo that had dominated since the 70s was scrapped in an attempt to better brand the athletic department with the city of Pittsburgh both locally and nationally. The steel torch-cut Panther head logo , often referred to by detractors as the "Dino-Cat" was designed Peter Moore to reflect the steel heritage of the city of Pittsburgh. The first logo on the left is an actual steel cut piece that was used to aid the logo design. Some people actually preferred the cleaner lines of the"unfinished" steel cut piece and it actually appeared sometimes on the scoreboard of Pitt stadium. However, the torch-cut Panther with the arching "Pittsburgh" in torch-cut font was plastered everywhere in an attempt to unify Pitt's athletic branding. A secondary torch-cut "PITT" logo was also used, but was intended mostly for local/regional use. The versions with white backgrounds are from scans of a slides from the press packets handed out when the logo was revealed in 1997.

Colors were updated to Vegas Gold (to reflect unpolished metal) and Midnight Blue. Black and white highlights were also incorporated into the logos. Alternative versions with a straight torch-cut "Pittsburgh Panthers" was also used and the example probably best represents the correct color scheme.

The infamous Eyetooth logo was also introduced in 2001 and was used as helmet reward stickers in football. It's intent was to be the "gleaming tooth of the Panther" and an icon used to reward "heroics" with a "meaningful token" harkening back to the practice of bestowing such rewards in ancient societies. It's use ended as soon as the reign of athletic director Steve Pederson did.

A revamped Panther head logo was introduced in June 2007 that streamlined and simplified the torch-cut Panther head design in order to improve reproduction on small items. It appeared on uniforms and on merchandise. It proved relatively unpoplular and was quitely phased out by returning Athletic Director Steve Pederson, who originated the original logo changes in 1997, during the summer of 2008 in time for the 2008-09 school year for which use of the orignal torch-cut Panther returned.

The current logo maintained the arch and color scheme of the torch-cut Pitt in order to coexist aesthetically with the retained torch-cut Panther head logo that was plastered everywhere and molded into existing infrastructure. The new logo returns to the predominant use of "Pitt" as the primary distinguishing mark of the athletic department while harkening back to the days of classic block PITT logos. Slightly different color shades have been seen with the block logo use, one with a lighter more navy blue, and another with the midnight blue that was instituted in 1997. Slightly different drop shadowing may be seen in these differences around the top right of the "I", with the dropshadow on the upper right appearing on footbal uniforms and helmets. However, there does not seem to be a consistent application of the two, and seems to depend on aesthetic preference. A reverse gold "Pitt" with white drop shadowing is also used on blue backgrounds.

Logos for Pitt's new athletic facilities (Heinz Field in 2001 and the Pete in 2002) also incorporated the torch-cut Panther head:

Pitt updated their Heinz Field Logo to use the newest primary logo, the "block PITT".

Here is a very incomplete uniform caparison (basketball to take some of the sentimentality out of it). Remember, way back in the day it used to be P I T T block letters:

The University Seal has also undergone changes. The dates for these seals reflect the date I could place them in based on reference material (Pitt's on-line digital archive).

at least 1870 to 1908 (the University was then known as the Western University of Pennsylvania)

1908-1920, the University name was changed in 1908 to the University of Pittsburgh (also the same year it moved into its Oakland campus). Below is a colored version that appeared just inside the online edition of the 1910 Owl. Unknown is whether it was printed on the page or placed there later.

1920-1923 (the City of Pittsburgh sheild was elongated and there is a distinct fold in the middle of the Veritas Et Virtus banner)

1923-1937, A decorative boarder was added, coins on the sheild enlarged. This may just be a secondary alternative to the 1920 version.

1937-1950 or 1961?, a completely new seal was designed with a candle theme. This theme would last until the 70s.

1950, this simplied alternative showed up by 1950. It may have just have been used as an alternative.

1961-1969?, the candle motif was used in a crest format.

1969-1970?, University of Pittsburgh banner at the top was eliminated and 1787 moved. This may just be an alternate to the 1961 version.

1970? The 1937 candle returned, but now with "of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education" added (Pitt full official name) to signify Pitt's new relationship with the state starting in 1966. It may be that this circular candle motif was used the whole time and the crest design was an alternative?


Seal with the Commwealth System eliminated, similar to 1937 with shorter candle light rays. The candel seal in some form was still seen around campus until at least 1977.

This was referred to as the "University Crest" and this image was captured from its display during the 1977 graduation ceremonies. It is very similar the current official seal.

1974-1983-1990s? A return to the original William Pitt family/ City of Pittsburgh shield design, albeit stylized. This was used with various alternatives through the early 90s.

1983-1990s?, this seal is is very close to the current seal with a more detailed background behind the sheild. It may have served as the official seal (e.g. on diplomas) as opposed to the simplified stylized logo version of 1975. It was an optional logo and a slightly simplied version became the official logo in 1993.

1987, this seal was specifically used in Pitt's 200th Anniversary celebration.

This was a version of the stylized seal used for the bicentennial. There was also a version with an alternative "PITT" font.

1987-1993, The stylized shied design was used in the late 80s and 90s. The Sheild is bigger here than in the 70s, overlapping the circular border. This may have been an alternative to the more detailed shield of 1983

The Univerity currently uses this design, which is a simplified version of the 1983 seal (the detailed background was eliminated). It was implemented as the official logo in 1993. Color shades reflect those used by Pitt prior to1997.


This is the current official seal of Pitt (A) reflecting the currently utilized color scheme since 1997. The are alternative simplified version for use web and smaller reproductions of the seal (B).

Pitt also has a seal for the Chancellor of the University:

I guess it's also appropriate to display the original Big East Conference logo here. This was used from its inception in 1979 until 1992 or '93. The football version of the logo was then introduced with the creation of the Big East Football Conference in the 90s.