The branding of USF

Following a back-and-forth approach, the university ultimately made the decision to scrap the new academic logo and use the existing athletic logo in all marketing aspects.

By Alyssa Stewart, Editor in Chief
On May 14, 2019

The old academic logo (above) will be removed from campus throughout the summer. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING

When Tom Veit, the creator of the iconic Bull U, developed the athletic logo back in 2003-04, he said he wanted to create something that was both current and able to stand the test of time.

Almost 15 years later, that ambition may be a reality.

On May 6, it was decided to adopt the existing athletic association logo to represent the entire university.

Vice President of Communications and Marketing Joe Hice announced in an email addressed to the USF community that the new proud bull academic logo will be dropped.

This decision was made after eight months of controversy about the logo’s lime-green color template and the similarities to wealth management Merrill Lynch’s bull from USF students, faculty, staff and alumni.

As the associate athletic director at the time, Veit said many people don’t understand the complexities of developing a logo for an existing university.

“If you can get 50 percent of the people just not to hate it, you are really doing well,” Veit said. “It certainly takes a lot of guts to say, ‘hey this doesn’t work.’”

The iconic U went through some initial changes when it was first launched as well.

Originally, there were 50 to 60 designs before the iconic U was created.

The university will now undergo $1 million in changes to be rid of the short-lived logo and fully implement the iconic Bull U.

According to the email sent out by Hice, the implementation process will begin immediately and continue throughout the summer.

The logo design on the staircase in the Marshall Student Center, the website, mobile app and pole banners will jumpstart the multiphase plan.

Later in the plan, the logo on email signatures and PowerPoint templates will be changed. Hice plans to consult with the marketing team on the process every two weeks.

Hice said the bull logo will still have value and now will be thought of as a “spirit mark,” which can be used to express school spirit.

Although there are no plans to bring the logo back, Hice said the departments are still encouraged to use the existing merchandise featuring it over the summer until it is phased out.

Each USF college will also need a new design template to match the logo.

Veit said he received a 70 to 80 percent positive response after the release of the athletic logo, which was an initial surprise to him.

Although reactions may be unpredictable, Veit said he could understand why students were upset about the new logo.

“Sometimes it just doesn’t resonate with people,” Veit said. “When I looked at it, there were a few things I saw that stood out to me.”

One being the color.

Veit said the previous athletic logo was a “kelly green” but after conducting surveys, it was decided to change the palette to align more with the needs of the USF community.

Hice said in the email that USF will be returning to the green-and-gold template.

Veit said he believes the marketing team gave the logo a “fair amount of time” in its decision to scrap it.

“When you launch a logo for an existing institution, people tend to have an instant reaction and then grow to like it or it goes another way,” Veit said. “I don’t think there is a magic number that would determine a length of time.”

Veit said using the athletic logo was “a smart move” because it will be seen on television, newspapers and various advertising elements which will expose USF nationally and allow the brand to resonate for years into the future.

“It brings me great pride that the athletic mark was able to last 15 years,” Veit said. “When I’m rolling around in a wheelchair to a football game, I hope it will still be around.”

 

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