Pitt to adopt script logo for all sports beginning with 2016-17 season
August 30, 2015 9:28 PM
Out with the block, in with the script is the new plan for all Pitt sports, not just football.
By Sam Werner / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
In his first two months on the job, Pitt athletic director Scott Barnes has read tweets and received emails from fans and alumni clamoring for a full return to the school’s old script logo.
Soon, those folks will get their wish.
In an interview this week, Barnes confirmed that Pitt will ditch the block logo and reinstate the Pitt script logo as its primary mark across all sports.
The goal is to have a roll-out for new apparel this spring, and have all of Pitt’s athletic teams in new script uniforms for the 2016-17 school year. The school’s colors will remain navy blue and gold.
“When that Pitt script is showing, we want people all over the country to understand that’s the University of Pittsburgh,” Barnes said.
Barnes admitted that this rebranding process was a bit different than the one he undertook as athletic director at Utah State in 2012, which was a 15-month effort that involved countless meetings and focus groups. Because the script logo was added back to the helmets last season, Barnes had to work a bit quicker and more anecdotally here, but he thought the answer was pretty obvious.
“That brand is a no-brainer, I would say, to our alumni base and our constituent base,” Barnes said. “It didn’t take long at all because I heard it every day in emails and on Twitter.”
Former athletic director Steve Pederson returned the beloved Pitt script logo to the football team’s helmets in October, but the roll-out was hurried and poorly executed.
The script logo was on the helmets, but the rest of the signage, apparel and media had the old arching block “Pitt,” the athletic department’s primary logo since 2005. The plan at the time was to keep the script logo for football, but maintain the block logo for all other sports.
“If you could ever be half-pregnant, we were,” Barnes said.
While Pederson’s plan called for the block logo to stick around for basketball and other sports, Barnes said he really didn’t give too much thought to moving forward with multiple primary logos. “I’m a believer that we want uniformity across all of our programs,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that at some point we won’t introduce a secondary mark. We have enough mixed messages out there, and we want to bring brand equity to the script Pitt across all that we do.”
Instead, the block logo has been “frozen,” according to Barnes. Pitt will continue to use it in existing capacities for the rest of this school year, but any new facilities or projects will have the script.
One of those existing capacities will be most of the football team’s uniforms and apparel. Given that apparel orders for the 2015 season had to be to Nike last fall, it wouldn’t have been feasible to get script anywhere but the helmet for this upcoming season. Football coach Pat Narduzzi already has said Pitt will undergo a uniform overhaul for the 2016 season, which will include the complete switch to script.
And while all of Pitt’s uniforms and “high-visibility areas” like playing venues will change to the script logo next year, Barnes admitted it will likely take three years to completely change all the facilities, signage and other facets.
In the short term, though, Barnes hinted at some “special things” for the roll-out this spring that he wasn’t ready to share yet.
“It’s a vehicle to tell our story, who we are,” Barnes said. “It’s something that once you build brand equity in, it helps you tell your story. That’s Pitt. If you have success, which we believe we will, then that just grows your opportunities. To be all over the map with our logos, it sends the wrong signal. If we’re going to do this right, we’re going to do it together.”
Sam Werner: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @SWernerPG.
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