When unveiled at the event the shields are colorfully painted on wood. Until 1961, the shields were then turned into stained glass renditions. Now, the shields eventually take the form of hand-crafted wood carvings. The wood carvings are presented each year at Commencement.
All of Dominican's shields, dating back to the early 1920s, can be found on display on Dominican’s campus in Meadowlands Residence Hall, Guzman Lecture Hall, and Caleruega Hall.
The Dominican University of California shield shows, against a black backdrop, a gold dog with a flaming torch in its mouth. This symbol had its origin in a dream attributed to the mother of St. Dominic: She dreamed that she would bear a child who would set the world on fire with the wonder of his preaching.
The name of the Dominican order in Latin, Dominicanes, (domini canes) means "Hounds of the Lord."
In 1973, the Firebrand shield became the shield of the University, then Dominican College of San Rafael. The University’s motto, Veritas fax ardens, means “Truth Is a Flaming Torch.”