A KAU emblem design competition was announced in 1966, drawing a large number of submissions by artists from within and outside the Kingdom.
Eventually three entries submitted by the following artists were shortlisted.
• Ahmed Shawgi Ashi
• Adnan Al-Haj
• Abdul-Halim Radwi
The shortlisting panel comprised:
• Muhsin S. Ahmed Baroum.
• Abbas S. Tashkandi.
The winning emblem design was that submitted by Abdul-Halim Radwi.
The main colour of the selected design was blue, but it has recently been changed to green to resemble the prevailing colour of the Saudi flag.
The approved emblem consists of the following:
• A ship hull on which the name of the university is written. The ship represents the sea port of Jeddah, the university's home city.
• An open book carrying the Qur'anic verse (Read! In the Name of your Lord…) to symbolize the Holy Qur'an.
• A minaret topped with a felt-tipped pen to signify the values of education and knowledge.
The emblem is meant to represent the following values:
• Dedication: to substantially boost education and knowledge.
• Responsibility: to identify and address the needs of the Kingdom in a world of mixed cultures and educational values.
• Patriotism: to build a modern and civilized society, yet that which adheres firmly to its traditions and customs.
• Ambition: to graduate leaders, thinkers and intellectuals of the future.
• Quality: to ensure all the university's activities, facilities and services are compliant with high quality standards.