Why a new Michigan State Sparty redesign? ??? The Enlightened Spartan: Why a new Michigan State Sparty redesign? ???

Monday, January 25, 2010

Why a new Michigan State Sparty redesign? ???

OK, as we await this morning's AP and ESPN polls (Texas' two losses are the only team that was upset this week in top 5 -- that could move MSU up one spot... maybe), let's talk about logos.

If you didn't hear, MSU Athletics has been in the midst of an "image redesign" campaign (at right). First of all what do you think? Vote on the poll at right.

The first part of the logo redesign (this isn't all, folks) leaked out this week and, well, the ES don't like it either. My question: why fix what isn't broken? One of the biggest problems with MSU athletics over the years is it consistently changing its look. It is a LACK of consistency when it comes to the Spartan head. The new one looks more complicated (remember KISS - "Keep it Simple Stupid") with more angular features on the face to make it look like a hardened mask - actually, looks like devil horn to some extent sticking out the top.

Sometimes when you have new leadership in an organization, one of the first things they want to do is to recreate a look based upon what they perceive to be a need. Maybe Nike got to Hollis and offered their services and said that they'd like to redo their whole imaging strategy for a discount or for free as long as they use their equipment and let people know it. I dunno. Getting discounted marketing services from Nike would be a bargain.

And, anytime you have a logo change, people immediately don't like it. CMU changed from their "Block C" to the "Moving C" with enormous criticism around 1996 in the midst of a complete athletics overhaul. You don't hear any complaints anymore.

But, let us compare to what does work. WHAT MAKES MICHIGAN ATHLETICS the most recognizable college sports logo and the top seller of college athletics merchandise in the nation every year the last 40 years? Consistency. Don Canham as AD copyrighted, trademarked, and just about all-everythinged the Block M logo back when Bo became coach in 1969-1970... to the point that it is synonymous with the institution. And THAT IS ALL THEY HAVE, nothing more. Just a plain old ugly block M. Disgusting, but it works.

Heck, I saw an interview of some physician helping out the people in Haiti and what did he have on his shirt? A yellow block M. I wonder where he is from. It works. I had to turn the channel.

Reinventing the MSU Sparty logo is a mistake, because it goes back to square one any hope for consistency... Furthermore, the biggest problem is the lack of need. The Spartan Nation likes what we have. Don't change something that isn't necessary. Use what you already have and brand it across all of athletics, instead of inventing something new.

Mind you, Spartan athletics won't sell more merchandise with a new logo; it will become less recognizable (in the short term). However it will also sell more and become more recognizable if MSU teams win more championships, if more strategic planning goes in to the use of the logos (instead of a redesign), and if you can get the overwhelming amount of scUM merchandise from dominating Metro Detroit airport.

Let's hope for godsakes they don't change the Block S.

One other thing... the ES is a collector of old Spartan banners. I have some from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. What is the one thing consistent? The logo was the seal of the university. Now THAT is consistent, and it rocks. And, it was used BY SPARTAN ATHLETICS. My how things have changed.

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