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Ithaca College Athletics Announces New Visual Identity

ITHACA, NY — Ithaca College and its Office of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreational Sports have unveiled a new visual identity for the athletics program—logos with a sharp, clean, strong look, giving student-athletes and their teams a progressive and assertive way of expressing who they are and who they strive to be. The new visual identity graphically aligns IC's athletics program with the college's overall mission, vision and strategic direction.

The updated identity includes a redesigned athletics website — athletics.ithaca.edu — which has a sleek, modern appearance and is compatible with all mobile devices. The site features a video that shows many of the marks displayed and applied, and also describes the thinking that went into creating the new designs, including comments from coaches, student-athletes and alumni. Beginning with the fall sports season, team uniforms, equipment, apparel, playing surfaces, scoreboards, and other signage will begin a multiyear evolution to this new logo system.

"When I returned to my alma mater in 2013, one of my primary tasks was to determine how the athletics program could be better aligned with the overall mission, vision, and strategic direction of the college," Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreational Sports Susan Bassett ’79 said. "One aspect of this realignment relates to how athletics represents the college graphically. The logo system that was in use for the past two decades had some limitations and did not complement the college’s current visual identity, which was launched in 2011. We knew it was time to update our athletics visual identity while keeping intact our Bombers nickname."

The process of developing the new athletics identity began in November 2013. Jason DeLand ’98 volunteered as a strategic advisor for the group. Jason is a former Ithaca College baseball player and cofounder of the award-winning agency Anomaly, which is best known for its Budweiser Super Bowl ads. The development process included creative input from current and alumni student-athletes, coaches, and staff in the athletics and marketing communications offices. Dozens of focus group meetings were held, and one message that student-athletes made clear is that they wanted to feel united as “one family,” that being part of the larger athletics community at the college is central to their experience.

"As an Ithaca College alumna, I am filled with great pride in being a part of this exciting evolution in our athletics program’s identity," Bassett said. "We recently completed one of our most successful athletics years ever, finishing at number 12 in the Division III Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, which ranks the country’s elite intercollegiate athletics programs based on their finish in national championship events. I believe that the new logo system reflects the characteristics that have come to symbolize this kind of winning tradition in Bombers athletics: strength, unity, and a long-standing commitment to excellence."

VISUAL IDENTITY PROCESS AND OTHER INFORMATION

In a Q&A format below, please find some additional information.

What were the goals in defining a new athletics visual identity?

Our goal was to better align the athletics program with the overall mission, vision, and strategic direction of Ithaca College. One aspect of this alignment is how we graphically represent both the college and its athletics program. We wanted to create an identity that is unique to IC athletics yet supports the college’s external brand as well, bringing consistency of graphic representation to the athletics program and the college as a whole. The athletics logos are intended to complement rather than copy the college logo.

Why did the college choose to do this now?

The previous logo system, which had been used over the last couple of decades, was more limited in scope and did not complement the college’s brand identity that was launched in fall 2011. Consequently, we knew it was time to update the college’s athletics visual identity while continuing to preserve certain long-standing traditions. In focus group meetings, we heard our student-athletes say that they wanted to feel united as “one family” -- and that being part of a larger athletics community beyond their own sport was central to their IC experience.

What was the process for developing this new identity?

After sending out requests for proposals last fall to six of the top athletics identity/marketing firms in the country, we selected SME Branding in November 2013. SME facilitated dozens of on-campus focus groups and one-on-one phone calls with key stakeholders (student-athletes, coaches, athletics staff, alumni, and so forth) to understand the perceptions about the drivers, benefits, and possible barriers related to a new visual identity for athletics.

We also formed an athletics identity development team, which included Susan Bassett ’79, IC’s director of athletics; and Jason DeLand ’98 -- former IC baseball player and cofounder of Anomaly, the agency behind several Budweiser Super Bowl ads.

“Progressive,” “strong,” “timeless,” and “smart” were the descriptors that emerged again and again from the discussions about the IC athletics program. We knew that these characteristics needed to be firmly represented in our new identity. Our creative services team in the Office of Marketing Communications then worked throughout spring and summer 2014 to refine these concepts and build a full-fledged system.

When and where will this new visual identity be seen?

The new identity is officially unveiled August 20, 2014, with the launch of the redesigned athletics website (athletics.ithaca.edu). We have taken a multiyear approach to the implementation of this new identity to take advantage of the natural renewal cycle for uniforms, apparel, signage, playing surfaces, and so forth; however, the new logos will start showing up with the beginning of the fall sports season.

Is Ithaca College still the Bombers?

Yes! Our nickname has not changed — we are still the Bombers, and the new visual identity system reflects this.

Where can the athletics website be found?

The newly redesigned athletics website is located at athletics.ithaca.edu as of August 20. The previous URL, bombers.ithaca.edu, will redirect to this new address.

Does the college have a new mascot?

No. We did not seek a mascot through this process.

Who can use these new logos?

The new visual identity is for the official use of Ithaca College athletics and the college’s licensed vendors. The athletics logos may not be used interchangeably with the main Ithaca College logo. Each varsity team and club sport has a team-specific mark that will be displayed on team uniforms and other collateral. Official merchandise with the new marks will be available for sale at basketball, football, lacrosse, and soccer games, and at other selected events, such as conference and tournament appearances, at the IC Bookstore, and through our licensed vendors.

For more information, contact Joe Gladziszewski, associate director of athletic communications at jgladziszewski@ithaca.edu or (607) 274-3825.



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