Written by Sam Bramlett
Photos by Nick Thomsen
In honor of SCAD’s 40th anniversary, the university has brought back its old logo, the “Head, Hand and Heart” design, from 1983.
Professor Hugh Gale, the artist behind the logo, taught foundation studies when Poetter Hall was the only building where SCAD taught classes.
When SCAD was still a fledgling art school in the early eighties, co-founder Richard Rowan wanted to use a quote from 19th century art critic John Ruskin as inspiration for the school’s logo: “Fine art is that in which the hand, the head and the heart of man go together.”
Professor Emeritus Hugh Gale was the man they chose to design the logo for use on business cards, posters, and license plates. It currently adorns the corner of MySCAD’s homepage and is found in Poetter Hall, Ruskin Hall and on merchandise in Ex Libris.
“I designed posters and advertising pieces for the college during the first four years I was here,” Gale said. “There was a famous writer who said art was a combination of the head, the heart and the hand. I designed it to match the saying.”
Gale grew up in California. He believes he was destined to be an artist ever since he drew the best cows in grade school. After getting his B.A. at Chapel Hill and his M.F.A. at Syracuse University, he became a prominent advertisement illustrator. His past projects range from rebranding airstream trailers to creating manuals for the United States Navy.
When SCAD requested the creation of the logo, Professor Gale took the job. “I told people I really just looked in the mirror and got a side view, and that’s how I got the shape,” Gale said. He went on to suggest “Head, Hand and Heart” inspired the profile logo of PBS.
Gale’s illustrations led him to success as an advertiser, but it is clear that his passion for teaching led him to SCAD. “It was inspiring for me having students who could draw better than I could,” Gale said. “I could learn from them.”
Gale has briefcase after briefcase containing examples of techniques he once taught, such as the use of mylar to create prints. He even claimed, “I can teach you how to draw in five minutes.”
When Professor Gale started at SCAD, there were only 15 professors and 300 students. Professor Gale made at least five different logos for SCAD before he created the “Head, Hand, and Heart.”
When asked if he’d seen the large neon sign of hanging in the window of Poetter Hall, he smiled and said, “I was there when they built the first one of those.”