We are delighted to reveal that, after months of working with England’s official heraldic authority, the College of Arms, we have received approval for the design of a coat of arms for Reuben College.
The coat of arms is an important part of every Oxford college’s identity, linking each college to its historic foundations and, in some cases, providing a unique symbolic interpretation of its character and values. Most commonly displayed within a shield-shaped escutcheon, the coat of arms forms a core feature of a College's visual identity.
Reuben College’s coat of arms – and the basis of our new logo – is the result of careful consideration of our foundations and how we might represent ourselves as the University of Oxford’s first college to be founded in the 21st century. Its design is classic, with a contemporary feel that arises through its simplicity and openness to symbolic interpretation.
There are various symbolic elements that represent our three founding academic themes:
- Environmental Change is recognised by the two main colours of green and blue, which represent land and sea.
- Cellular Life is represented by the annulets (blue rings).
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are represented by the combination of annulets (also representing binary code ‘0’) and ermine (also representing binary code ‘1’). The combination can be read as a sequence of binary code from left to right and top to bottom: 1 0011 1 (‘39’ in binary code). Reuben College is the University of Oxford’s 39th college.
- Our fourth theme of Ethics and Values, which was added in November 2020 to our focus for academic life, is represented by the symmetrical balance found within the shield’s design.
- The shade of blue depicted in our translation of the coat of arms into a College logo is defined as Tekhelet blue, which provides a link to the heritage of our founding donors, the Reuben family.
- The ermine spots are a common symbol used in heraldry since medieval times and anchor the College in this historic tradition.
The coat of arms will also be accompanied by a crest, which is the device commonly depicted on top of a helmet poised over the shield. The resulting heraldic achievement is currently under design by an artist commissioned by the College of Arms and will be revealed in due course.
In the meantime, we are pleased to have been granted permission to begin using the design of our shield across our digital and printed materials as we build our visual identity into the fabric of the University of Oxford and its constituent colleges.
We would like to extend our gratitude to the College of Arms for working with us over the past few months, and particularly to Adam Tuck, Rouge Dragon Pursuivant, who has been guiding us through the process.
Professor Lionel Tarassenko CBE FREng FMedSci (Reuben College President, on behalf of the college’s Governing Body) and Alison Stibbe (Communications & Engagement Manager).