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I recently received an email to vote on the new, improved athletics logo for UMKC, my alma mater. (That’s University of Missouri – Kansas City for anyone wondering.) I was confused at first. How often do logos need to be updated? The year after I graduated they came out with a new logo. I’d say somewhere around 2005. This brings us to somewhere around 3 years ago. And it’s already time for another logo?

It seems that the athletic department has decided that “to create a more comprehensive athletics program, they need to have a more consistent identity, which is something that hasn’t been visible in the past.”

I guess the logo they designed a few years ago wasn’t consistent enough. I’m pretty sure the invisibility of the past was lack of marketing, not the identity. I thought the logo they used from 1987 to 2004 was pretty consistent.

It wasn’t used very well and kind of reminded me of the KangaROOS shoe brand logo, but I thought it was consistent. Re-branding is a common method used to spike interest, so I guess I can handle it. A logo design should be timeless and if anything be able to last more than 3 years. Changing your logo constantly isn’t going to help “consistency”.

After saying all that, I’m still excited to see the options I’ve been given to choose between. I click the link that takes me to the voting page. Uhhhh… really? The two logos shown aren’t what I was hoping for to say the least. Quick critique time!

Option One (on left): I like that they show the whole kangaroo. Even though it says roos, it’s nice to know what it is with a quick glance and with just a head or upper body it’s hard to tell exactly what it is. I understand that the Roo is supposed to have an illustrated feel, but it seems incomplete. The bigger issue is the typography. “Roos” is hard to read. The “R” looks very close to an “A” and the “s” looks like a “5”. The text shouldn’t be angled. When this gets printed on a T-Shirt, it will look like a bad print job. I can hear it now. “Is this supposed to be angled?”

Option Two (on right): I really want to like this one. Overall I wish it were more symmetrical to give it a stronger and more stable look. Especially being a sports logo. The boxing gloves are a nice concept, but I’m not sure if it reads very well. The typography here is better starting with a more traditional and less trendy font choice than option one, but still needs some work. It looks like they tried to have the same arch baseline for “UMKC” and “ROOS”, but were just off from matching it and “ROOS” being italicized doesn’t help it fit either.

Maybe we should look to our new arrivals in the Summit League, the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. They recently redesigned their logo as well. I think I’ll write in a vote for it.

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