Old bird gets a face lift
September 28, 2006
The UW-River Falls falcon is dead, and from its ashes both a newer falcon and hopes of establishing a stronger campus identity rise. This year, UW-RF will implement its new athletic logo across campus in an attempt to give a fresh face to the athletic department.
“The old logo was not resonating with what we wanted to do as far as an image,” Athletic Director Rick Bowen said.
This realization led to a campaign to modernize and update the falcon. Focus groups were called together to discuss the logo’s strengths and weaknesses and to determine if a change was necessary.
The results came back with about half of the participants desiring a change and the other half uncertain a change was essential. This didn’t communicate that there was a strong passion for the old falcon, Bowen said.
The creation of the new identity is an effort to make the logo better fit the athletic department and spur fervor among the students for the University’s athletic program.
“I strongly believe that the new athletic logo portrays the athletic teams in a more dominating light,” said Kathryn Krtnick, a member of the Student Athletics Advisory Committee. “It is also very versatile, so the team can either choose to use either the entire falcon or just the modified head as a symbol.”
Instrumental in the creation of the new logo and redesign process was Tony Bredahl, art director for UW-RF.
“Weak or inconsistent logos should be eliminated or changed to promote new vision,” Bredahl said in a publication addressing the logo change. “Ultimately, the goal is to maintain a strong identity that reflects the quality that is UW-RF.”
The committee developed to address the issue looked at many different things, including other universities and sports teams. It was determined that a more fierce-looking falcon would better suit the athletic department, as would italicizing the words so they appeared to be in motion.
There are, however, adverse consequences to the change in the athletic logo.
“The biggest loss with a new identity is tradition—something alumni and friends, current students, and faculty and staff have come to recognize. Bringing in a new image may result in the loss of years of identity,” Bredahl said. “It will require many additional dollars and resources, and several years to re-establish a new mark to become recognized as UW-RF.”
Gregg Heinselman, the committee’s link to the new student center, also addressed the expense concern.
“The falcon will show itself on campus slowly,” Heinselman said.
It is currently being branded on the backs of chairs in the new student center, and has been painted onto the ice in Hunt Arena.
As early as next spring, students will start to see merchandise with the new falcon in the bookstore.
As for athletic equipment, the new logo will be phased in slowly as equipment needs replacement. This addresses the cost of the redesign, but the loss of tradition is something with which the campus will have to deal.
Despite this loss, Krtnick still believes the logo change is a keen way of establishing the passion and loyalty the athletic department seeks.
“I am a student athlete that thrives on tradition and culture of an athletic program,” Krtnick said. “But am also a great advocate of change — especially when that change will improve the image of the River Falls athletic department.”