Committee looks to improve new athletics logo

by James Cain / Beacon Correspondent • September 17, 2014

1411009247 emerson lions.jpg
The logo that was retracted after a week.
Obtained from the Emerson Athletics website.
The logo that was retracted after a week.
Obtained from the Emerson Athletics website.

The Emerson College Athletic Department was met with strong criticism after officials created and unveiled its first official logo this summer, forcing the department to pull the plug on the design just a week later.

The department created two logos. The first featured a side profile of a black and yellow lion head, with the words “Emerson Athletics” below its head. The secondary logo was the front of the lion’s face, with its eyes facing forward.

“Many people felt that portion of the primary logo didn’t represent Emerson the way they felt it should be represented,” new athletic director Patricia Nicol said.

Some students felt it was tacky, poorly designed, and simplistic.

Malcolm Kelner, a junior outfielder on the baseball team, said he emailed Nicol after the release to voice his concerns about the logo.

“My thoughts were pretty much along the same lines as a lot of the other student athletes,” Kelner said. “I felt the lion head on the main logo looked a bit pixelated and a little outdated.”

The past two years the department has used the slogan “14 Sports, One team,” but Nicol wanted a new and different way to define the athletic program.

“[The logo] was an opportunity to establish our own identity, and to establish a brand for the athletic department,” she said.

Stanford Nance, senior associate director of athletics and former athletic director, said the new logo has been a top priority since Nicol was hired in March.

“We’ve really never had an actual athletic logo,” Nance said. “We’ve been using the ‘e’ and the Griffin lion. We just wanted to be collaborative across the board where every team would have the same look.”

The athletics department worked with Phoenix Design & Development, a Boston-based visual styling and design company, to create the two versions of the logo revealed this summer.

Nicol could not be reached for immediate comment about the price of the new design.  

Kelner sat down with Nicol at the beginning of the semester, and said he came away from their meeting encouraged about how the final product would look.

“Sitting down and talking with Ms. Nicol definitely made me feel better,” Kelner said. “I’m pretty confident she and her staff will produce something Emerson athletes will be proud of.”

Nicol said the department will form a focus group, which will be made up of representatives from each sports team as well as the individuals who expressed concern over the logos.

Nicol and her staff will make adjustments then present the finalists to the student body. The student athletes will vote on a favorite.

According to Nicol, the logos will not change completely, but some small adjustments will be made to both.

“We’re going to keep the concept because the concept fits,” Nicol explained. “It fits on apparel, it fits on the uniforms, it fits on the gym floor. The concept will remain the same, but we are absolutely going to listen to the suggestions to improve upon the existing concept.”

Nicol wants to have the logo finalized by the end of the fall semester at the latest.