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Colorado's New Look

Courtesy: Erich Schubert, Graduate Assistant SID
Release: May 11, 2005
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Chris McClure, design director for Nike Team Sports of New York, explains the difference...   By Associated Press

BOULDER -- The University of Colorado licensing department, in conjunction with Nike, Inc., unveiled a new logo Tuesday morning that will become consistent throughout the athletic department and the university.


Not only is CU’s traditional ‘Ralphie’ logo changed, but all CU images will become uniform, including Web site design, digital imagery, signage, the basketball court and the football field, posters, media credentials and letterheads.


“This project is trying to unify buffaloes together,” CU Athletic Director Mike Bohn said. “There is no question that now is the time for us to do that. There is no shortage of issues that we want to address and if we do it together it’s going to happen a lot faster.”

Throughout marketing research, which was started about 18 months ago, CU and Nike found many inconsistencies throughout the different sports at the university. Sports such as men’s and women’s basketball often used different fonts than other sports on uniforms and other representations.


“The research part of the process is the biggest piece of the puzzle,” said Nike Design Director Chris McClure. “We want to bring the athletic department and the University of Colorado together as one family and not have different things going on with the different sports. We’re developing a unified system that truly represents the University of Colorado in every aspect.


“If teams are traveling across the country and are on national television, (uniform representation) will instantaneously identifiable as (CU). There are only a handful of collegiate schools across the country which have a mark that has stood the test of time. (CU’s) mark has a timeless nature that everyone identifies with (the university).”


CU’s Ralphie mascot remains the most significant change to unify the representation of CU. The new buffalo logo is similar to the old one, with a couple of exceptions. The buffalo is represented as a more sleek design and the ‘CU’ symbol is embedded in a consistent typeset.


“Currently, there are several different buffaloes (symbols) being used, so we wanted to clean that up and present a consistent image for CU athletics,” said CU Director of Licensing Bruce Fletcher. “We lead with Ralphie. Ralphie is our signature brand. Obviously Ralphie is one of the best mascots in college athletics. Our mission is to respect the tradition of the athletic department and the University of Colorado which have storied pasts, while looking for an innovative and timeless representation for our school.” 


CU fans won’t see a sweeping change of the face of the university because of the new logo change. Although the athletic department will implement its new image immediately, the rest of campus will take some time.


“The inconsistencies of the different sports at CU have watered down the identity system,” McClure said. “The university has already established its mark around campus, and it is unrealistic to change everything at once because it would be very timely and it would be very expensive. This type of thing has to evolve, and over time we can make CU’s representation more clear.”   


Bohn also used the occasion to announce a new program the athletic department is kicking off with the help of donors called ‘Ralphie’s Kids Roundup.’ Donors of the athletic department have purchased 1,000 season football tickets so children can attend CU games and the pageantry that goes along with them. The concept will also be utilized in men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and other sports as opportunity allows. 


“I wanted to create a program which embodies what I think this department is all about from our coaches to our athletes to our fans—and that’s kids in the community,” Bohn said.


A group of students from University Hill Elementary School were on hand as Bohn initiated them as the first group who will attend a football game through the new program. Bohn said the university wanted to reach out to every part of the state possible. There are preliminary plans to assist with bussing so kids can get to games in conjunction with the schools.


“This is a big day for us,” Bohn said. “I think to announce ‘Ralphie’s Kids Roundup’ so that 1,000 kids will be able to attend games is a great way for us to reach out to the community and give something back through the generous support of our donors.”
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