Nicole Sohanic, Front Rush
A college athletic identity is a special thing. When I say athletic identity I am referring to the sport’s logo, colors, fonts, and even their mascot. Change in design, of identities in particular, causes a lot of discomfort! Even if overall it is a change for the better it isn’t what people have grown to love or associate with their beloved team.
Fresh, clean, and simple can be so refreshing to a dated logo. Does that logo look clunky? Is it hard to read or does it look bad on mobile devices? This does not give a good impression to the fans, new recruits coming to visit the school, or to outsiders looking in. It can be the simplest little thing in a logo that creates a turn-off. Maybe it is off balance, two letters are just too close together, or the colors just don’t ring true to what they used to mean. Good design is something you look upon and don’t really question when it surrounds you. There are subconscious influences in your choices all the time for the products and brands you surround yourself with. a half could flow over into a recruit’s mind for the choice of the very school they decide to attend! Did your athletic program revamp its way of operating? Did you just have an incredible season and now the eyes are all on you? Is the competition increasing more and you need that extra edge? These are just some of the reasons why a college athletic program may choose to change their athletic identity.
With every significant identity change of something we interact with everyday, there will be push back. The roll-out of the new logo for your college athletic team may receive criticism. People simply do not like change. Will the current athletes and fans miss that old logo and hold onto their rally flags and jerseys? Some will. Will some question the decision why it was ever changed in the first place? Indeed! For someone who has only ever supported one look and feel of the team, this is understandable. For the players who fought their hearts out for their school, this is part of the core and pride of their team. The important thing is to recognize is that this as a natural reaction to change and should not be misinterpreted as a mistake.
Ultimately what heals all identity changing wounds is time. Remember when Google changed their beloved identity in 2015? There was intense push back on social media and many articles written deeply analyzing the foundation of the logo change. Among all the hate there were some that did see it as a nice refresh from what it once was. It is 2017, and we haven’t heard a peep about that logo change in over a year and half. The hate quickly died and turned into a comfort. Changes were applied everywhere! All of their phone applications got a refreshing overhaul and we still religiously use them as we once did. Our love for Google didn’t change, we were just forced out of our comfort zone and needed time to heal. Google is now dressed for the times and ready for future users to embrace its new look and feel.
Recruits are coming and may not even hold the same loyalty to the college athletic identity as past athletes or supporters. They may have just heard about your program for the very first time! The future of your college athletic program may call for a revamp of your identity. When approaching an identity shift, colleges should take their time, be considerate about feedback, deeply consider color palettes, and choose a professional designer who will take all that into account. The existing identity of the college is what has brought it to this point. The new identity is what will propel it into the future.