ISU revealed its new athletics logo to the public on March 3rd and some students were less than impressed with the updated design.
After receiving some public disapproval of the logo across social media platforms, ISU students were asked to voice their thoughts and opinions towards the logo and if they felt it was a positive or negative change.
When Nicole Babcock was asked if she’d seen the logo she stated, “I have, and I am not a fan of it. They should have had an ISU student competition for the design, and then the student body to vote on it collectively. It would have brought ISU together more as a community. It looks like clip art, the "I" is trying too hard to be like IU or Iowa state.”
“I dislike the new logo. It has a modern feel, but at the same time it is geometrically unpleasant. The shape of it doesn’t do justice compared to the original,” said student-athlete Michael Marling.
Communication professor Farhad Bahram spoke candidly about the logo and why he feels it lacks aesthetic, semiotic, rhetoric, and social design elements. Bahram relayed that these elements are vital to consider when designing a logo. In his Visual Communication course, Bahram gives his students assignments covering logo design to give them a foundation of the four basic design elements.
“The most horrific part is the aesthetic level. In general when designers talk about the aesthetic of a good design we have a few considerations and they’re all related to design elements. One of these considerations is to have a minimum amount of textual elements. This is the first thing that the logo negates. This doesn’t mean that a good logo shouldn’t have textual elements, just a minimal amount,” Bahram said. “The second rule is that a logo should be simple to the point that a kid could draw it by memory: logos like Nike and Pepsi.”
Aside from having minimal text, Bahram says that logos should have minimal color.
“One or two, no more than that,” he says the new logo did well in meeting this requirement.
Other considerations Bahram says to think about are the number of corner points and smooth points there are.
“With this you see around 25, normally you shouldn’t see more than 10,” said Bahram.
An article on the official athletics website of ISU stated that the design was developed with a company called Old Hat Creative after they did “exhaustive research of the history of Indiana State Athletics, its past marks, its fan base and the key constituents of the athletic department.”
President Deborah Curtis was quoted in the article saying, “We have a modern logo for athletics that projects power, respects tradition, and honors our great state. The updated logo will engage a new generation and energize the Athletic Department brand.”
Tonya Dinkins gave her blunt and honest opinions on the new logo, lack of student involvement, and the university’s current reputation.
“I’m a fan of the old logo and don’t like the new one. I don’t understand why the responsibility of designing a new logo was given to an Oklahoma company when there are plenty of talented students at ISU that could have designed a new logo that actually reflects ISU and the sycamore experience,” said Dinkins.
Dinkins later commented on how this affects the university as a whole.
“I don’t understand why ISU keeps driving the value of the school down. If it’s not kicking fraternities off-campus, or giving people parking tickets, it’s something else. Right now that something else is the new school logo. The old logo was so much better. On top of it all the school didn’t even attempt to let an ISU student or Indiana design company [design] the new logo. To our school president, Deborah Curtis, how dare you?”
When Associate Athletics Director Ace Hunt was asked to speak on why the rebrand was necessary, he responded, “this rebrand was vital to sustaining the Sycamore Athletic Brand. Our athletic department needed a visual identity that is easily reproducible, consistent across all media and produced merchandise that is attractive to a wide variety of merchants.”
Hunt acknowledged the critiques of the new logo but notes that it was brought to two focus groups that included ISU students.
“The ISU students who represented the body in both sets of focus groups gave the new athletics brand a 100 approval rating. Not one ISU student gave an unfavorable rating,” said Hunt.
As far as working with Old Hat Creative, Hunt remained adamant about the company's vast experience in sports marketing and also brought up previous work they have done for ISU.
“Old Hat has over 15 years of experience working in sports marketing. They have developed athletics logos and sports marketing products for many years. Old Hat developed our logo for the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Final Four team. They are important not only in the research and creation of the new brand but also in helping to keep us consistent and present on social media as we continue to roll items out,” said Hunt.