By Taylor McKee
When the Dinos take to the court, ice, pitch, pool or field next season, they are going to look a lot different. The University of Calgary has finished the initial stages of focus-group planning for changes to the brand of the U of C athletics department, with specific attention to updating the logo. The changes will occur over the summer, coinciding with the replacement of the floor of the Jack Simpson Gymnasium. No specific details are available about concepts or ideas for the new Dinos logo as the university is currently working with marketing groups to create the U of C’s new brand.
“I would characterize it as a refresh of the brand,” said assistant athletic director Ben Matchett. “For a variety of reasons, [the current logo] has become difficult to use in new applications that have become available in the past 15 years.”
Recently, the University of Western Ontario rebranded itself to be simply Western University, a seven-year project that will cost approximately $200,000. Other Canada West schools have rebranded themselves in the past few years, including the University of Regina.
In 2009, the U of R implemented an entire rebranding of their university, a process that took a year from start to finish. Senior marketing advisor for the U of R Hyder Kazmi outlined some challenges his university faced.
“Even with our brand guidelines, some were not following the guidelines. There was training to make sure that the brand was used appropriately,” said Kazmi.
The U of C rebrand will not have the same parameters as Western’s or U of R’s — the Dinos are simply updating their athletics brand rather than the brand of the entire university. However, similar roadblocks are likely to appear with the new U of C athletics brand.
“Helping people interpret the brand and apply it with consistency was the biggest challenge,” said Kazmi.
“I think it is naive to say that we are going to snap our fingers and every appearance of the Dinos logo is going to change. These things take time, but we are excited about going forward with a new refreshed identity for the Dinos,” said Matchett, regarding his expectations for the challenges U of C will face in their refreshing.
Prior to 1999, the official name of U of C athletics was the “Dinosaurs,” though the name Dinos was used colloquially for many years prior. Since 1998, the U of C has used its current logo — known internally as the ‘lizard’ logo — featuring a fierce looking, yellow-eyed dinosaur clutching the word “Dinos.” This logo has also had updates, including a separate design used in the 2000s featuring the red dinosaur in front of the ‘U’ and ‘C’ letters. Nonetheless, these logos have become both stylistically and practically obsolete.
In recent years, the U of C has adopted a more classic logo — the interlocking ‘U’ and ‘C’ — as the main form of branding for Dinos sports teams and merchandise. In fact, the football, soccer, hockey and basketball teams do not feature the current logo prominently on their uniforms, instead opting for the red and white interlocking letters. While this more simplistic logo may be popular in and of itself, it does not represent the brand identity that the U of C is striving for moving forward.
“We are looking at our visual identity — across the board for the Dinos — and refreshing it to better reflect what it is we are trying to do and how it can connect to the whole university,” said Matchett.
The Dinos planned refresh would be in concert with other initiatives as part of a campus-wide goal to raise school spirit and galvanize the student population around the athletics department.
“We want to make it something that people can gravitate towards. We want every student to proudly wear the Dinos logo on a T-shirt,” said Matchett.