Black Mountain College Project   

College Emblem











In 1935 Josef Albers designed an emblem and a bookplate for the college. Following is the description which he wrote for the publication of the emblem.


On the front of this leaflet we present our new seal and on the back our library bookplate.

Since we are now in the middle of our second year, it is clear that we have not designed them in a hurry. Meanwhile we have tried to clarify differing opinions concerning this matter of a college emblem.

As will be at once obvious, we have no inclination to play at being Greeks, Troubadours, or Victorians; for we consciously belong to the second third of the Twentieth Century. We are not enamoured of astrological, zoological, heraldic or cabalistic fashions. We have hunted neither the phoenix nor the unicorn, we have dug up no helmet and plume, nor have we tacked on learned mottoes. And for "Sapienta" or "Virtus" we are still too young.

Instead, as a symbol of union, we have chosen simply a simple ring. It is an emphasized ring to emphasize coming together, standing together, working together. Or, it is one circle within another; color and white, light and shadow, in balance. And that no one may puzzle over cryptic monograms, we give our full address.

Judgment of the esthetic qualities we leave to the competent; for unsure critics we cite a rather distinguished authority:

"By beauty of shapes I do not mean, as most people would suppose, the beauty of living figures or of pictures, but, to make my point clear, I mean straight lines and circles, and shapes, plane or solid, made from them by lathe, ruler and square. These are not, like other things, beautiful relatively, but always, and absolutely." (Plato: Philebus 51C) 

March, 1935                                  Josef Albers