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Courtesy: Athletics Communications

New Look For Iowa State Athletics

Release: 09/26/2007
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AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State University athletics department unveiled today a new primary mark for all of its sports teams and a return to its traditional cardinal and gold color scheme for team uniforms and retail merchandise. The logo and colors will debut in 2008.


The new mark– a cardinal-colored capital “I” with a gold-colored “State” superimposed over it – earned a strong majority in an online vote of fans last month.


“More than 35,000 people voted for their preference on and the clear choice was the ‘Iowa State’ mark,” Director of Athletics Jamie Pollard said. “The winning margin for the logo was in double figures (percentage wise) in our online poll.” 


Pollard also added that the department is not abandoning the use of Cy as the school mascot. 


“Much like Disney – which has branded itself with the “ears” but still uses Mickey in its promotions – and McDonalds – which has branded itself with the golden arches but still uses Ronald McDonald in its promotions – we will continue to showcase Cy as our mascot,” Pollard said. “We believe the new mark will allow us to brand ourselves as Iowa State while still using Cy effectively as our popular mascot.”


The media conference also included a surprise announcement by Pollard that the football team will be showcasing the new graphic on a cardinal-colored helmet.


“I believe the most important message from this process is that we listened to our fan base,” Pollard said. “Our staff initially proposed the concept of a white helmet to help make our new helmet logo stand out. However, the white helmet, according to many fans, conflicted with our stated desire to return to our traditional cardinal and gold colors.  As a result, we’ve chosen a cardinal helmet because it’s what the majority of our fans desired.”


In mid-August, after a 6-month process which included an exhaustive study of many submitted concepts, the athletics department shared three different designs (labeled “ISU”, “Iowa State” and “Cyclones”) and, in an unusual move, asked fans to vote for their favorite. The department also solicited written feedback and more than 1,500 individual emails were received and reviewed.


 “We felt that asking for input from our fan base was critical, unique and in this case, very helpful,” Pollard said. “Our helmet, coupled with the completely re-designed football uniform – cardinal jerseys with gold pants at home and white jerseys with either cardinal or gold pants on the road – has helped us re-align with our traditional school colors.”


After the victory over Iowa two weeks ago, which featured ISU wearing replica 1977 Peach Bowl jerseys, there was a great deal of feedback from fans urging an adoption of those uniforms as the permanent gameday look. Two of the most-prominent features of those uniforms – the re-introduction of gold and the shoulder piping – are, indeed, integrated into what the Cyclones will wear beginning in 2008.


“The Cyclones’ colors are cardinal and gold,” first-year football coach Gene Chizik said. “We’re one of only two schools in the BCS with cardinal and gold as their stated school colors and we’re excited and proud to be showcasing them next fall.”


Iowa State’s school colors have been listed as cardinal and gold since 1899 when the Athletics Council noted that a “striking set of new colors” to represent the sports teams was going to replace the institution’s original color scheme (set in 1891) of gold, silver and black. Over time, many shades of cardinal and gold have appeared on team uniforms.


“There’s a feeling that our colors have bled into a brighter red and less of a cardinal red,” Pollard said. “The new colors will feature a richer, deeper cardinal, and the current gold. There is a letter sweater (from the 1900s) in the Jacobson Building Atrium and this new cardinal shade is much closer to our origin. Lastly, we’re moving away from the blue accents which had become too prominent in a number of applications.”


Pollard said the new mark and colors will extend to all 18 Iowa State sports teams and the athletics department as a whole. What started out as a football uniform and helmet update after the hiring of Chizik, led to the department closely examining its entire identity package.


“What we found was that there wasn’t clarity or consistency in our identity or team apparel. Our colors had become red with a significant amount of blue and white in the merchandise, marks and uniforms,” Pollard said. “Our coaches also said that when recruiting out of state, most people do not equate our present mark with Iowa State. There is confusion with other schools sharing a similar abbreviation and/or mascot and there is a general disconnect with recruits and people outside of the state’s borders.”


Pollard said that as the Cyclones continue to compete nationally and improve their athletics profile, the new mark will gain traction as Iowa State’s sports identity.


“Winning boosts the brand,” Pollard said. “There are always mixed feelings when a new identity is launched. The fact that so many people shared their passionate feelings is great. It demonstrates the intense pride that Cyclone fans have in our institution and the athletics program.”


Prior to the creative process, the department did extensive research and found that 72% of BCS schools have a letter(s) on their helmet, 70% adopted their helmet mark as the primary athletics department identity and only 6% (including Iowa State) have their mascot in the logo.


“What we gain from this change is a common identity for our sports and a distinctive look for our athletics department that coincides with the overall changing culture of Cyclone athletics,” Pollard said. “The introduction of the new mark goes hand in hand with the dramatic growth and change currently taking place in Iowa State athletics. It’s an ideal time to capitalize on re-engineering our athletics marks.”


The new mark will be implemented on uniforms, facilities (such as mid-field and mid-court) and printed materials (such as departmental letterhead). It will also be introduced as the identifying mark for the department’s web site,


“There will be an extended timeframe for implementation, but the long-range benefits of altering both the mark and the colors will be a more easily identified and clearer identity for Iowa State athletics,” Pollard said.

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