After a summer of brainstorming, University Communications employees unveiled a personalized RVA design this school year as a visual representation of the University of Richmond's connection to the city, said Cheryl Spain. Spain is the manager for internal communications services and directed the project.

The logo, which has been printed on bumper stickers and banners that hang at the university's Gateway entrance, features blue RVA letters, outlined in white with a red shadow. A small spider appears on the "A," and "University of Richmond" is printed below RVA.

The planning process began in July after President Edward Ayers requested that Spain explore ways to integrate the university with the RVA campaign, she said.

"The RVA sticker reminds ourselves and others, using a little humor, that we are proud to be part of this vibrant city," Ayers said. "I see Spider RVAs on cars all over town and I hope that trend will continue."

Spain said: "We developed numerous concepts before deciding on the final design. We felt the final design was truly representative of the university -- our colors with our spider. The design is quickly identifiable as the University of Richmond from a distance, with or without our name underneath."

Spain and her team used the RVA Creates website to design the logo, she said. The website, operated by the non-profit organization, Venture Richmond, provides an electronic generator for anyone to produce a custom RVA symbol.

"Anybody can put anything that they want into the RVA, so it becomes a window into the creativity, innovation and pride in the city," said Lucy Meade, director of marketing and development at Venture Richmond. "It's very inspiring and humbling how the community has embraced this identity. It is unlike any identity that a community has ever had. You just let the people, businesses and universities make it their own. U of R is kind of leading the way in that."

In 2010, Venture Richmond employees decided that downtown Richmond needed to have a timeless identity to reflect its economic transformation and culture of creativity, Meade said.

The ideas for the RVA logo and RVA Creates website were products of a competition between groups of second-year students at Virginia Commonwealth University's Brandcenter, Meade said.

"We were like 'Duh, that's brilliant,'" Meade said. "That's what everyone uses in their Twitter hash tags for Richmond, as well as a bunch of organizations such as RVANews and RVAMagazine."

Since the logo emerged two years ago, Venture Richmond has distributed 95,000 RVA bumper stickers, Meade said.

Spain and her team decided to use of the traditional bumper sticker for their design because they thought it would best appeal to students, faculty and staff, she said.

"Venture Richmond has granted us permission to use our image in any way we feel appropriate," Spain said, "so it's very possible that the image might appear on other items or in other places in the future."

Suggestions from students about how to use the logo at the university will be welcomed going forward, Spain said.

Contact Staff Writer at Erin Moyer at erin.moyer@richmond.edu