Premium Partners

Blog: Brand Recognition

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Branding. I grew up in Wyoming where branding means something totally different than its current emphasis in college athletics. Or maybe not. 

Recently I was in a bar in Meeteetsee, Wyoming. In the restroom, on a rough-sawn wood wall, (I can hear the urbanites collectively saying "Iccch") someone had painstakingly recreated cattle brands in pen. Some were very simple and self-explanatory, others more complex, requiring thought and interpretation. The "lazy A" or "bar UE" are easy; the "H lazy B rockin' T" requires a bit more study. 

Not so much for Athletics branding. It is everywhere -- on people's clothes, on their cars, in their homes, and especially at their alma maters. Some brands are easy, like the buffaloes. Or wait, is it bison? Attaching the university's monogram to the brand or emphasizing school colors often clarifies any confusion, and surprisingly most brands seem pretty identifiable.

Seemingly, transferring the brand to facility design should be easy. And it can be. But I like it when it's not blatantly obvious. I also like the fact that collegiate mascots endure, but the brands change. A school's history of brands can be fascinating. And these days, brands evolve almost constantly--hence the popularity of flat screen TVs or massive video boards as an architectural statement. The image is constantly refreshed. Reinvention and adaptation is essential, otherwise the experience for a spectator or recruit might be stale. 

I don't mind the overpowering visual stimulation prevalent in college athletics, but sometimes I yearn for simpler times, when branding was simple, fun to interpret and timeless. 

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