Keen eyed drivers on Oakland Avenue may have noticed a new logo on Western Michigan University light pole banners lining the street. This new look is a part of a rebranding effort by the university.
“We’ve built on existing visual elements while adapting to changes in many ways,” Tony Proudfoot, the Vice President for Marketing and Strategic Communication said in the video.
Proudfoot notes the new look will gradually be appearing on and around campus. The new look has already been seen on uniforms for the Soccer and Tennis teams.
The new logo is a university wide look, featuring a gold outlined brown circle with a gold “W” in the middle. It will be used by every university institution for a more “unifying” effect around the Kalamazoo area, the university has had several colors in rotation for logos and apparel, now the only colors to be used are brown and gold.
Hello guys, as some of you may know I am a bit of a Uniform and logo nut when it comes to sports, it has come to my attention that WMU has decided to roll out a new identity kind of subtly, in a youtube video from December 6th of last year.https://t.co/qjVor8ziwc— Joseph Zurek (@joseph_zurek) April 14, 2021
“Logos and colors are really pneumonic devices,” Proudfoot said. “They carry all of the good will of the university. Anytime someone sees our logo we want them in a nanosecond to remember all of the good things about Western Michigan University and that requires consistency, so what we have done is reduced the number of marks we are using.”
The University called for internal design experts to help work on the new look, taking people from most divisions on campus. The group worked on ideas and refined the look until late summer to early fall of 2020 when groups of students and staff gave feedback on the new look.
“It has been alive and rolled out into the world, starting in September and it has been running ever since, you will be seeing it rolling out into the world over time,” Proudfoot said.
The spirit logo, the logo WMU Athletics will be using, has been incorporated for every team on campus. In the past the football team would use the “Ghost Bronco” logo made famous by former Head Coach P.J. Fleck, while the other teams on campus would use a “W” with a bronco head over top.
The spirit logo now consists of a refined version of the Bronco logo, with gold accents in the mane and details on the neck. The logo was also flipped to the right. In the past, the bronco logo has faced the left hand side, essentially running west.
“The new spirit mark is really the original Bronco turned to the right, and with the school colors,” Proudfoot said, “The whole look is a little more streamlined.”
To help ease the burden of the amount of money it takes to rebrand an entire university, the new look will be appearing gradually over time as objects need to be replaced or updated on campus. Starting with signs and posters on streets, the school will eventually have a new look with all of the logos and color schemes.
“What is important about this rollout, is this is about building a critical piece of branding infrastructure, which is really gonna solve our long term issues,” Proudfoot said. “Brands are built over decades. We are going to see this move forward as we replace new items, because it would not be wise to throw things away or replace anything that does not need to be replaced.”
More changes coming for fans will include logos on apparel, as the university stopped approving the older logos for outfitters in January.
“This is going to be an evolution as opposed to a revolution,” Proudfoot said.