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.