About a month ago, I read a post from the fantastic Uni Watch website that discussed high schools’ use of college and NFL logos.
In the post, the writer (Paul Lukas) suggests schools should stop the logo “recycling” (or “poaching”), noting that schools should turn the logo design efforts to students, art teachers, a school’s graphic design program… anything that would help make the school’s logo more unique to the school and less a ripoff of someone else.
The article prompted me to think about Wyoming schools that use NFL or college logos on their helmets — and, surprisingly enough, only a handful of Wyoming schools actually “recycle” their logos from their NFL or collegiate counterparts.
In fact, I could only find one school — Wright — that uses a modified NFL logo as both its main school logo and its helmet decal. Wright uses the Carolina Panthers logo, with the colors shifted from blue to gold.
Four other schools have modified NFL logos as either their logo or helmet decal, but not both.
Gillette and Glenrock both use the Green Bay “G” on their helmets, although both schools use logos that are original and different from the “G” helmet decals the schools use. (See the unique logos for Gillette and Glenrock.)
College-level logo “recycling” is actually more common in the Equality State.
Seven schools use college logos for their schools: Pinedale, Shoshoni and Kaycee (all the Wyoming bucking horse), Big Piney (old Wyoming/Oklahoma State “Pistol Pete,” slightly modified), Riverside (UNLV, slightly and crudely modified), Burlington (old Washington logo), and Rock River (Texas, modified with “Longhorns” across the top). Of those schools, four — Pinedale, Shoshoni, Kaycee and Big Piney — use those logos on their helmets, either this year or in the very recent past.
In Wyoming, I think we can make certain exceptions. Pinedale, Shoshoni, Kaycee and Big Piney are probably off the hook; any schools that want to use the UW/state of Wyoming logos should have that flexibility. Can’t blame them. That bucking horse logo is iconic, and protected, while Pistol Pete is not as iconic but has been integrated as a big part of Big Piney’s identity, as this statue in the school lobby attests.
Gillette and Glenrock, too, are off the hook, as long as they start using those unique-to-their-school logos on your helmets rather than repeating an NFL team (and each other).
Midwest, Guernsey and Riverside get passes, as well, with the knowledge that logo recycling hasn’t taken over the sides of their football players’ helmets. Additionally, Burlington is off the hook, as the Huskies use blank white headgear.
And Rock River, which started a junior-varsity six-man program last fall (and whose helmet I’ve never seen), is off the hook for now due to a lack of knowledge. I do hope the Longhorns stray from being a blue version of Texas in their uniforms, though…
That leaves us Wright.
And I think help is on the way.
I wish I could design a logo, but any of you who have ever seen my artistic abilities on display know I’m not the one to actually put ink to paper (or mouse to Adobe Illustrator blank screen). If you want cruddy stick figures, I’m your guy; if you want something that would actually work on the side of a helmet or in the middle of a basketball floor, call someone else.
How about you? Any design suggestions or mock-ups that any of you design-savvy folks want to suggest? Post your ideas below here, or email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll post them here.
What would be even better — and this is something suggested by Uni Watch — is that the students or the teachers in the schools themselves work to design a new logo that’s unique. That’s not just a Wright suggestion. That’s a suggestion for every school in the state that’s “recycling” a logo that’s unique to someone else but not to them.
By the way, Wright itself has already thrown down the challenge, albeit unknowingly, with this mural in its gym, done by local artist Doug McCrae, as well as this logo on a sign near the city limits. Could you imagine either one of those modified to fit on a football helmet? Sweeeeeet. And maybe more importantly, original.