MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University unveiled an updated athletic identity and branding initiatives, highlighted by a primary logo that will be very familiar to Racer fans, but noticeably fine-tuned and user-friendly across a wide variety of platforms and applications. In addition, the university is introducing a number of secondary marks and a unique typography that will allow the athletic brand to grow and capitalize on the popularity of the Racers.
“I’m very excited about the new marks and the enhancement to the primary mark,” said Allen Ward, director of athletics. “There’s been a need for a long time to develop additional secondary marks and a consistent typography. During a time where revenue generation and budget efficiencies are imperative for the university and department, this initiative allows us to address both aggressively.”
The marks were designed by nationally recognized firm Joe Bosack and Co., which has created sports logos for Boise State, Xavier, Houston, the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Southeastern Conference and many more high profile clients.
“We are thrilled to be engaged with Murray State’s leadership on the expansion of its athletics brand assets,” said Joe Bosack, founder and creative director of the company. “The updated primary logo, supported by a complete identity system, embody the proud history of the Murray State Racers as well as the values and aspirations of today’s teams and athletes.”
“Our objective was a bit different than others that have a need to recreate their entire identity,” said Ward. “We had a mark that was unique and had developed a strong brand identity over the years. We didn’t want to change that look, just enhance the mark so that it’s better utilized across the many different platforms and applications. We like what the powerful horse and jockey symbolize for Murray State as it’s sprinting toward the finish line.”
The Racers nickname is a one-of-a-kind that distinguishes MSU from other universities in the conference, region and country. Bosack’s assignment was to expand the entire Racers brand through the development of other identity elements such as the secondary logos, and unifying word marks and uniform numbers that broaden the brand presentation and connect with its primary logo.
“The original ‘Racer M’ logo designed by Richard McClintock was great inspiration for building a complete identity system that is inspired by the visual richness and athleticism associated with the sport of Thoroughbred racing,” Bosack said.
Jim Carter, vice president for institutional advancement at the university, worked with McClintock to introduce the original “Racer M” logo in 1998. Carter was the director of university relations at the time. He said that McClintock’s contribution of that logo to Murray State is an excellent example of alumni who use their extraordinary talents to benefit the university, even long after they have graduated.
“It’s unique and fitting in the spirit of our alumni’s commitment to give back that Richard, a 1966 graduate, designed this mark and donated it to the university,” Carter said. “Richard, who retired from AT&T as a graphic production manager, modestly refers to himself as ‘just an old football player,’ but by using his artistry, he created a unique mark that perfectly depicted the visual of a Racer. Richard’s original work will live on through our updated primary mark.”
LRG (Licensing Resource Group), which has a partnership with Murray State dating back to 2002, helped facilitate the project. Since the relationship between MSU and LRG began, royalties on MSU-licensed merchandise has grown from less than $30,000 to over $100,000 per year. “Having recognizable and distinctive logos is incredibly important for branding of higher learning institutions. Logos and other indicia are what many stakeholders use to visually represent their schools and universities,” Paul Mills, university brand representative for LRG, said.
“From the university perspective we are very conscientious about our brand identity, from both an academic and athletic aspect,” said Catherine Sivills, assistant vice president for communications at MSU. “This process achieved several goals regarding our opportunities for royalty revenues and strengthening our overall brand identity. For the consumer, it really means we will have more options to choose from when buying Racer gear, which fans will appreciate.”
Mills noted that the new marks respect the tremendous amount of brand equity built by the outgoing logo. Not only will the new logo be easier to apply to a number of items including apparel, but it also brings with it secondary marks that increase offerings at retail for fans. “When fans buy officially licensed products, money from those purchases go back to the university,” Mills explained.
“I want to thank Jim Carter and Catherine Sivills for their leadership and expertise throughout this process,” said Ward. The results of the thoughtful initiative will benefit the athletic program in many ways and I’m appreciative of their hard work and partnership. I also want to acknowledge Karol Hardison, with our MSU Bookstore, who has been helpful with the planning and implementation of this project.”
The University Store on Murray State’s campus will have apparel and other merchandise with the new logo in stock by July 1. The new logo can also be found on items online at shop.murraystate.edu by the same date