The 2013-14 Our Shirt went on sale Monday morning, and some students have noticed the shirt’s design differs from what was voted on as the winning design in February’s Student Government (SG) elections.
The designer of the winning shirt, Christina Kee, a junior majoring in marketing, said she, too, was taken by surprise when she saw the final design.
“This isn’t my design of the shirt,” she said. “It’s a completely different design, and the front, the back — the everything — is not the same as the one that I posted and the one that was voted for.”
The front of the shirt design that students voted on included the USF logo alongside a gold bull caricature, and the back displayed text reading, “Mess with the bulls, get the horns” in green and gold writing. The printed design shows the full “USF” logo with the text “bull pride” underneath on the front of the shirt, and the same quote in green and yellow-gold on back.
The changes to the design were made for licensing reasons, Daria Milligan, SG’s director of marketing who coordinates the Our Shirt contest, said.
Milligan said SG partners with USF Athletics to produce the Our Shirt, and that Athletics owns the licensing to the USF logo. Because SG uses the USF logo in the shirt’s design, Milligan said Athletics must give final approval before the shirt may be produced and sold.
When the Our Shirt committee met to decide on the finalists for the design contest, Milligan said Athletics “failed to show up to the committee meeting.”
“We ended up sending the design to them afterward, and we were still waiting to hear back for the approval,” Milligan said. “They unfortunately got back to us after voting ended, so basically they said that there were some things they didn’t like the use of, pertaining to the front side of the design, which is why it had changed.”Milligan said the Our shirt committee was unaware of the restrictions with the use of the “iconic view,” or the use of the USF logo, such as the bull caricature on the original design. The redesign of the shirt was worked on and voted on by a graphic design team from SG, Milligan said.
“We talked to the student who originally came up with the front design, and she was more than willing to change the design. She was OK with it,” Milligan said. “So our graphic designers came up with something working with Athletics that they were able to approve, that we were happy with and still held the integrity of the front and back design.”
But Kee said after being told the design needed to change, she wasn’t given an opportunity to re-work the design.
“I wasn’t hearing from SG for awhile, and then if I can remember, they pretty much told me it wasn’t approved and they had to make altercations,” Kee said. “In my emails, I kept on saying that if there’s anything that you need me to address, let me know because I was very particular about the changes that would have been made, and they told me they submitted one, and that surprised me.”
Ayodele Taylor-Dixon, assistant director for marketing of USF Athletics, said he is unsure of why Athletics was not involved sooner with the design selection process.
“At different points, we had been on the committee, or somebody from our staff had been at the meetings, and when they found designs that had been made, they would have made some suggestions,” Taylor-Dixon said. “And we, for some odd reason, and it may have been a communication error where we weren’t involved until the end, (didn’t hear) until they were ready to go with the shirt.”
Taylor-Dixon also said he is unsure if anyone from Athletics contacted Kee, who said she was only in communication with Milligan about the shirt’s redesign and the changes being made.
After seeing the modified design, Kee said she did not want credit for the design on shirts that are being sold in the bookstore. Though she is still receiving the prize for winning the design, Kee said she doesn’t feel the shirt design printed reflects her work.
“The feedback isn’t as great,” she said. “People are just saying that it doesn’t look good. The most I’ve heard is ‘It’s OK,’ and ‘They pretty much made it look like every other shirt,’ and that wasn’t what I was going for.”
Milligan said most of the feedback she has received has been about the change to a white Our Shirt, which in past years has always been green.
Lindsey Cunningham, a junior majoring in computer science, said she and her sister Shannon Cunningham, a junior majoring in statistics, buy the new Our Shirt each year and like to keep them as memories of each passing year.
“I love having USF apparel,” Lindsey said. “Everyone has it and I love showing my school spirit. They are normally designed really well, and they are only $5, so its a good deal,” she said.
Shannon said she likes the design, and that since it is the first time the shirt has been white, it “stands out.”“I voted for the original design of the white shirt that was on the ballot, but I didn’t pay too much attention to the details,” Shannon said. “If nobody pointed out the difference, I probably wouldn’t have noticed. It’s frustrating that they changed the design we voted on, but I am sure it was done for a good reason.”
In future Our Shirt competitions, Milligan said SG plans to make the licensing rules more clearly stated to the designers before submitting their entries, and now that SG is aware of the licensing rules for the shirts, it plans to make the brand rulebook available to designers early in the competition.
Communication will improve between SG and Athletics regarding future chosen designs, Taylor-Dixon said.“I don’t think it was us not paying attention,” Taylor-Dixon said. “I think it was just a communication breakdown. (The competition) has always been run by students, and if they leave their contact information, you know maybe there was wrong contact information left behind. I’m not 100 percent sure if we were contacted. We would’ve had somehow got into it before the end.”
Kee said in the future, she hopes the Our Shirt committee will make the rules and guidelines more clear to those entering their designs into the competition.
The shirts are $5 and available for purchase at the USF Bookstore.