Old husky fades into memory
A Year Ago This Week
The vision of a white, fluffy husky gracing shirts and mugs has all but vanished from campus, and has been replaced by a new, sharp-blue Jonathan.
That was one year ago today, which signals the anniversary of the new logo and Kyle Muncy's vision of a unified UConn brand.
Muncy, head of UConn trademark licensing and branding, approached student-athlete representatives to pitch a single sports logo that all athletic teams would use.
"We had 24 sports teams and what seemed like 24 different brands," Muncy said. "The focus wasn't logo change, the focus was brand consistency."
The change coincided with a then-recent dual championship victory for the men and women's basketball team, who appeared on television wearing noticeably different uniforms.
"UConn didn't look the same, and the teams didn't look the same," Muncy said. Muncy and student-athletes decided a logo change was needed to not only unify athletics, but also suggested a shift in what the logo represented.
"Every student-athlete in that room said, 'we are the UConn Huskies.' They wanted to be one thing. They were relatively outspoken over the logo at the time because they felt it wasn't something that represented the attributes of their athleticism," Muncy said.
However, after its inception, the angular and angrier rendition of Jonathan has been plagued with criticism. After sending out thousands of emails to students regarding the logo change, almost all of the 400 email replies he received were negative.
With so much of the logo-based decisions taking place behind closed doors some members of the student body was largely left out of the discussion
The logo was designed by Nike, an athletic partner of UConn that also designs and provides team uniforms.
"I understand that there are some folks who feel that there wasn't enough student input into the change," Muncy said. "For licensing reasons, we needed to be secretive and discreet about the redesign."
But this, Muncy says, has had unseen positive effects for the school and the student body. With a unified and protected logo, UConn can exert much more control over what the Husky logo can be displayed on, according to Muncy.
He added that this protects the integrity of the logo, and, by extension, the school.
"The days of the husky logo just being slapped on everything are over, and it's not a restrictive process, it's a protective process." he said.
The new logo has almost completely eclipsed the older logo in apparel and product lines. Muncy cited strong sales of the new logo, especially since the recent dual NCAA championship wins, as a sign of acceptance by students and the UConn community.
By far the largest criticism Muncy received through email and Twitter, which he also uses to track attitudes towards the logo, was that students feel their school identifies with the fluffy white Jonathan.
"The perception was that the previous logo had been our logo for 100 years; it was our logo for 12 years, and the other one got changed in 12 years," Muncy said.
The new Jonathan has had a year for students to test run, and in terms of athletic unity, Muncy considers it as a success.
"Before this there was no unified UConn brand and this was chance to hit the reset button."
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