The new logo: No good?

Nike has fashioned Utah State University with a new logo and jerseys. Some say the logo is uninventive and doesn’t give the university a lasting brand.

By Jared Honda

A few years ago, the Utah State public relations department announced that they were looking into revamping the USU’s public (and especially athletic) image by replacing its current logos with newer, “fresher” designs. Specifically, phasing out the longtime “U-State” logo, and creating a single, new logo, would clear up the confusion that the dual use of the Aggie “A” and “U-State” logos created.

The university has pursued this same initiative in the last few months, but this time it was far more hush-hush, with nothing but the announcement of the new logo reveal on April 28th. Perhaps it was done to avoid the kind of student backlash that resulted from the last time they explored this option, or perhaps there were other factors (like the endorsement deal from Nike). Either way, what’s done is done, and now we are basically stuck with the result.

I opposed the logo change a few years ago, and this time is no different. Although I have no problem with the university wanting a “sharper” image for itself, these are a few (but not the only) reasons why I oppose the logo change:

1)     The new “U-State” logo looks like it was made using WordArt in Microsoft Word. No, really. Look at it. You’ll see it. Especially when made by Nike—the Holy Grail sponsor of sports—I would’ve expected something far less vanilla. Instead, I would have anticipated something that felt new but still worthy of USU’s history and athletic legacy. What a horrible letdown.

2)     Rebranding costs. Although it may have cost us nothing to get the logos produced, that still leaves the price tag of plastering these logos on things like scoreboards, apparel, helmets, the university stationary. … the list goes on. Or maybe Nike is paying for all that too. Somehow I doubt that.

3)     Confusion over the “A” and “U-State” isn’t real. Utah State big-shots are under the impression that people think that the “A” and “U-State” refer to different institutions. Being from Ohio, I can say that I never saw the “A” logo until I entered Cache Valley. No one outside of Utah knows about the “A”, so it’s a non-issue. If someone really is stupid enough to not figure out that both logos represent the university, then that’s a recruiting bonus for us: we don’t want idiots attending here anyway.

4)     USU will always have two logos. If you really want to clear the whole logo “confusion” up, you’ll need to purge the “A” from USU’s heritage. Get rid of the “A” on Old Main, and the “A” table. Redesign game day shirts, change up the Aggie license plates, etc. Good luck with that.

5)      The logo has no identity. Look at many of the great athletic programs in the country—Clemson, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, and Texas, to name a few—and you’ll notice that their logos have remained relatively unchanged for at least 30 years—in some cases, even longer. Their designs are simple, unique, and consistent. Our new logo is none of these things. Penn State tied rebranding in 2001, and just three years later, they went back to their old-school logo that they had since 1962. Sometimes, old-school is best.

A new logo isn’t going to increase recruitment to USU. Sponsorship deals are nice, but it doesn’t replace investment in Utah State as an educational institution. At a time when alumni relations and donor contributions are more important than ever, alienating people because of a new logo is foolish, short-sighted, and unnecessary. Surely, we have more important matters to focus our attention and resources on than stickers and football jerseys.

Jared Honda is majoring in political science at Utah State University.

7 thoughts on “The new logo: No good?

  1. You call the new logo “vanilla” but then you applaud other schools for maintaining a simple design. I’m not sure there’s a difference between simple and vanilla.

    All things considered, I would like USU (as a whole, not just athletics) embrace one logo and keep it. It’s a difficult process, but we need to be consistent on all our branding across all our campuses.

  2. “Or maybe Nike is paying for all that too. Somehow I doubt that.” You can doubt all you want but the ALL of the intercollegiate teams will be getting (2 both home and away, basketball and football get 3) new jerseys that come to YOU free of charge. Also, go look at ANY LOGO it will be vanilla. Alabama is a script S for hells sake.

  3. I’m going to disagree with you. This new logo and branding is exactly what what USU needed right now. The expense isn’t near what you claim it to be. Nike has donated all of the uniforms and helmets and I’ve been told that they’re also donating the new turf and paying to have the Spectrum floor refinished. The Spectrum Scoreboard was already being replaced this year so no additional expense there. The logos are simple and that’s what we need. Have you ever seen the old U-State logo small? It was unreadable. Watching a football game on TV you could tell that there was a U on the helmet but you couldn’t read the other mess unless it was a closeup of the player or you already knew what it said. The new uniforms are the best that USU has ever had. The football uni’s are the same style that the NFL is moving to this coming year while Basketball and Track are getting uniforms that will first be used in the Olympics this year. These uniforms are lighter and better for the athletes performance. The exposure has also been great. The new branding has been all over Nike’s facebook page and blog with comments from people across the country wondering why Utah State was the lucky school and why their University was left out. This has been a great week for Aggie athletics and the rebranding is a big part of that and something that will stand for a long time. This is a logo that we won’t need to replace in 10 years.

  4. haha this is laughable. There are so many poor points it’s almost not worth wasting my time on. The old logo had zero identity, zero tradition, and looked like it was created on msdos. The difference between Utah State and all the other schools you mentioned in your article is just that, tradition. Those schools have decades of excellence in multiple sports and academics. Winning the WAC in basketball is not excellence. Going to a bowl game for the first time since 1997 is not tradition and excellence. A lasting brand comes from a history of success not what the logo looks like. You have to be blind to think the previous logo was the answer to Utah States problems. The new logo, while not great by any means, far out weighs the joke of a logo they had before. As for priorities and money. Rest a sure that your President of the university and the deans of each college are not spending their time on this. That’s the whole point of an Athletic Director. If Utah State or any other school for that matter didn’t take time to improve all aspects of their athletic departments you wouldn’t have the donors you have, sponsors, or merchandise revenue. I guess the real question is what do you want? You really want them to use the same tacky logo forever? Do you really want them to put forth zero time and effort into the needs of the athletic department and let everything go to the way side? Just doesn’t make a lot of sense. You can have an opinion on whether or not you like the logo. That is irrelevant. But the rest of this jumbo holds water as well as Utah State holds a lead.

  5. Well, to make it easier, we’ll just go down his list of five complaints:
    1) What was he expecting? He lists Michigan and University of Texas as ideals. neither the Michigan M nor the Texas UT are any more dramatic than this UState. He mocks Nike for not being more dramatic, but compare this to the real, in his words, “Holy Grail” NCAA logo, the Oregon O which was also made by Nike and this is really MORE dramatic than that.
    2) First, “Or maybe Nike is paying for all that too. Somehow I doubt that.” sounds very unresearched, but that’s just the nit-picker in me coming out so we can ignore that. What he is forgetting about the costs is the revenue it also brings in. Think about the Jazz. How many times have they changed their logo, and even their colors, in the past two decade? The reason why is as soon as one logo doesn’t quite cut it anymore, the fans have to purchase new shirts, new jerseys, new hats, new bumper stickers, the works. USU didn’t even change its colors (thank goodness), so the costs really aren’t too tremendous. And really, they make jerseys VERY often anyways. A new logo isn’t going to change that.
    3) I’ll give it to him, if the university was really aiming at reducing that confusion, it was pointless, because as he said the “A” is traditional for its own reasons. But that doesn’t make this logo any less valuable than the previous UState, which is what the logo is really made to replace.
    4) Pretty much he just restates the point of number 3, so my argument isn’t much different.
    5) This argument directly contradicts what he said in number 1, because he originally complained the logo wasn’t as exciting as he expected from Nike, now he complains that we aren’t “simple” enough. As far as unique, there is nothing more unique about Michigan, Texas, or Oregon, and they seem to be doing just fine. Consistency? Sure, we could use that. Thank goodness we have Nike sponsoring us now to help. But to be fair, who has the most famous jerseys in the NCAA? Oregon, and they have ZERO consistency except for their very simple logo, which we now have.

  6. I especially agree with the first point. Why is the middle of the U whited out? There isn’t a single other logo that looks like that and it makes it look sloppy. And what’s with the inconsistent letter connections on the new “Utah State” especially the S in state. Solid article.

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