06.Oct.2009 Beaver Uniforms, Logo, Identity Crisis

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I’ll say it: I’m tired of our lack of identity. By definition a lack of identity is tantamount to an identity crisis. A crisis is defined as, “a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, esp. for better or for worse, is determined; turning point.”

The Beavers have gone through 3 different uniforms in the past 4 years. That, my friends, qualifies as an identity crisis.

We can all agree that the Beaver uniforms are a work in progress. The orange top variant is pretty slick. They looked like a real football program versus USC last year rather than some gimmicky directional school from the Sun Belt.  Of course, in typical Beaver fashion, they donned that uniform once (USC) and dropped it. I guess, like lace panties, that uniform is for “special occasions”…?  Meanwhile, we continue to look like either death metal goths (black uniforms) or Jerry Seinfeld dorks (white uniforms) on a weekly basis. Can we please wear the orange uniforms? We have “Orange outs”, “Bleed orange”, wear “orange-colored glasses”, and the slogan on the official site is, “I am Orange”, yet we continue to wear putrid uniforms that are either 90% black or white. Identity crisis.

On this same note, our logo, or at least the font, changed to this:

logo2

Repeat with me: identity crisis. What does this font say about the school? We’re “modern and blocky and ugly”? Great. Can’t we do something simple, elegant, powerful? Further, is this new design our University logo or just our sports teams? I’m not sure, because both the baseball and basketball teams wear it, yet the football team still sports a cartoonish Beaver on their helmets.

To the casual fan, who are the Beavers? What is Oregon State University? I have no idea how to answer that. Objectively speaking, it seems to be a mismatch, a potpourri, a hodgepodge, a little this and that, a little that and this, mixed with a little “what the fuck?” for good measure.

If you argue with me and say, “I just root for the uniform, only Ducks care what they look like!” then you’re an idiot and the reason why we’re a national unknown and the reason why it’s always Halloween in Corvallis.

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  • Beavgirl says:
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    Another good post angry. I completely agree–3 uniforms in 4 years is a little much. We cheer on the color orange in slogan yet that pride is not worn by our players—ridiculous. And you’re right, we also need to find something representative of the team and commit to it.

    They need to wear more of these imo:

    http://www3.pictures.gi.zimbio.com/USC+v+Oregon+State+DV0uk-SwUhcl.jpg

    • angrybeaver says:
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      Yeah those orange unis are slick. I think I said we wore them once…actually, I believe we wore them in the Civil War last year, too. I see no reason why they shouldn’t come out of the closet Saturday. The Cardinal red and Beav orange would look great together, especially in dreary Corvallis where you get saturated hues.

      • Joey5Picks says:
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        “The Cardinal red and Beav orange would look great together…”? What is this, a fashion show? Who cares how our uniforms look with the opponent’s?

        I’m OK with the orange jersey/black pant and really like the black/black.

        There’s no identity crisis, however. That’s down the road about 40 miles

        • angrybeaver says:
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          What part of confidence don’t you understand? It’s like you’re a bird brain.

  • OSBeavs says:
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    We also wore the orange uniforms against Pitt on the road in the Sun Bowl. We were penalized a timeout because we were the away time. I agree, the orange is the best but the black isn’t terrible. I hate when we go white on white, I think white away on orange pants would look sick.

    As far as the OS logo, I like it especially if we keep it for a while. If we keep it for several years then it will be pretty cool. The OS logo is only for athletics, the rest of the university uses about 15 different logos. They generate a new one every year and it is pretty annoying. I think the university needs to pick a logo and stick by it in order to create some amount of continuity. Btw, nice post angry

  • brownale9000 says:
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    Rolleyes.

    Weren’t you complimenting Oregon for their idiotic uniform combos a couple weeks ago?

    “Sweet modern yet elegant helmet…”

    Oh yeah…Are you talking about the 58th helmet they’ve had in the last 5 years? Does that count as an identity crisis?

    When I played little league baseball, there was a kid on our team who was constantly kvetching about how we didn’t have uniforms. “We need uniforms or we won’t be a team!!” he would cry every time we had a game. We went undefeated that season in our district and went on to lose in the regionals. Meh…pretty good for some schlubs from the coast. Evidently we didn’t need uniforms. (primarily because I hit about 30 dongs in 20 games that season. Wearing Levi’s and a tee shirt.)

    Uniforms have zero to do with anything. The players and coaches are what matters. The uniform is just packaging.

    And PS – you’re wrong about how often the university itself changes logos. The new PRIMARY logo has been around since 2005. The one before that was around at least 8 years. All companies try out new secondary logos…it’s nothing new or surprising.

    As for the ‘identity crisis’ you point out. yeah…no shit. We’re the 3rd most famous OSU in the country. Do you think there’s a reason we decided to go with the OS? And to make the look a little different than the other guys?

    I’m a graphic designer. I know you have to differentiate your own image from the competition. Ohio State, Oklahoma State…they’re established. Much more so than we are. Oregon and Oklahoma are established as well. Oregon State had to pick a graphic that spoke to our tough/hard working persona and didn’t look like the toilet seat Oregon O or the OU classic football serif font, etc. (Ohio State and Oklahoma State are quite similar as well.) And another thing…we went with the Benny Beavers logo for like 15 years. I don’t think re-branding every 15 years makes for an identity crisis, but whatever.

    • QuikRyan says:
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      I’m glad you chose to compare a DI Pac-10 football program to your LITTLE LEAGUE glory days, who ended up getting rolled outside of any local, also mediocre talent. I’m guessing your 30 “dongs” came off inside the park home runs with 3+ errors/play which were actually singles at best. To state it mildly, your analogy is quite pathetic.

      I travel nationally for my job, and every time I state proudly that I went to Oregon State, the immediate response is “oh, the Ducks” followed by some comment on their audacious uniforms. Few of those people know of any association with Nike, but those who comment associate UO with two things: success as a program, and notoriety due to branding. Those that actually follow college football know us by the team that upset USC last year; I like that notoriety. I’m not defending nor supporting Oregon’s uniform wardrobe, I actually think its way overkill. However they don’t have an identity crisis. They flaunt their success, and built reputation as a well developed (and branded) athletic program.

      You, as a graphic designer, should understand something about marketing, but maybe your focus is just on the design and not on building a brand. Truth is, our national marketing sucks: both athletically and academically. After winning back-to-back baseball WS, we were merely dismissed as if it were a fluke. We put Jane Lubchenco at head of NOAA, and for some reason I’ve heard little to no media about her association to OS. These are recruiting dime pieces that any brainaic or stud meathead across the country could grasp, yet no attention is paid to it.

      To get back on topic, the statement that uniforms have 0 to do with anything is wrong. It is an intangible factor that you can’t quantify, but after playing 20 years of organized sports, I know there are psychological conditions over playing sharp, dominant looking teams to those with second rate or quiet uni’s. Our faggoty white uniforms are those of the latter. In them, we appear small and weak, and as if we are afraid to get our hands dirty.

      The OS is shitty logo, it looks good on a hat, or a T-shirt, but as the flagship symbol of an athletic program striving for national recognition, it fails.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      Brownale, didn’t I see you in a Bruce Springsteen video circa 1985? Yes, I think the song was called “glory days”, but I can’t remember…

      Just to expound on your “points”: whenever I watch a PAC-10 game and they air that commercial about the conference, they show all 10 schools and their logos. 9 of them looks professional, classy, and representative of the respective university. The only one that stands out as ridiculous is our “angry beaver” logo. It just looks cartoonish, lacks the class or prestige that the other ones carry. That’s fine if you want your image to be cartoons…heck, I love cartoons, and wouldn’t even have a problem with that identity if we simply stood behind it and marketed it. The problem is we promote ourselves as a great family atmosphere with top 5 natural resource and engineering programs. Why do we have a cartoonish beaver on our helmet? Why not a classic, old-fashion, hard-working font intertwined (symbolizing a close knit community) etc? What the hell does a cartoonish beaver have to do with anything? Someone on beaverblitz pointed out that the logo was ripped off from a Portland team (forget which sport/team) almost verbatim. This just shows how much thought and effort we put into marketing and identity. When you put zero effort into something you get zero return. If the football team showed up for a game, took the field, and decided not to run, what would happen? That’s exactly what our “marketing” department has done. Only worse, they decided to run, but for the wrong endzone!

      As far as Oregon. The bottom line is that until the past 3 years, they had uniforms that were pretty nice. Yes, they are cutting edge and modern and that will threaten some people (especially rivals), but the bottom line is that their uniforms get people talking. Sometimes they’re over the top, but nobody else was doing that and they went out and made it their own. For better or worse, it summarizes and symbolizes the school. Doesn’t it? That’s all you can ask. And I do think their helmets are elegant in a minimalistic and modern way. The font of the “O” isn’t a stock font…it’s custom and personalized, yet quite aesthetic. In the past few years they’ve taken the foofaraw too far, and 80% of the current uniforms are such eye-sores you can’t watch an entire game. But even still the helmets are always spot on. Not sure why you can’t or won’t admit this, but I have a guess just from reading your post: you love OSU and they can’t do any wrong in your eyes. You’d rather have no national identity, you’ll convince yourself that the current font/logo looks nice, you probably even convinced yourself that the “bras” were a good look, all backed by the creed, founded in your little league success, of “uniforms don’t matter!”…you do this all at the cost of embarrassment to the university you claim to love. Wouldn’t it be easier to admit the problem?

      If you want to take this further, you’ll have to answer me these questions:

      1. What is our identity?
      2. Does our logo portray our identity to someone objective, outside of OSU? That is, would my family on the east coast see our current logo and say, “Ah yes, that Beaver on the helmet and that interlocking font scream ‘family atmosphere'”? If you think yes, tell me why.
      3. How do you think the nation sees OSU?
      4. WHY does uniform not matter? Saying you hit homeruns in jeans doesn’t count. If you dress in a shirt and tie and feel great about yourself, do you not exude confidence? Why is that confidence not important in athletics where mental fortitude can be the difference between a win or loss.

      The real problem I have with you is that you make claims without support. You’re caught in a small world of OSU and Corvallis, yet you don’t see things objectively outside of that scope. Take my challenge and be honest with it. I think if you can get over the rage and anger towards me criticizing something you love, you’ll have some kind of awakening, but then again, maybe you’ll just diatribe about your salad days and how you scored 50 points against some local hoopsters while wearing nothing but Speedos.

      -angry

    • angrybeaver says:
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      By the way, I think you do have one valid point and it’s in regard to the other OSU’s.

      But as a graphic designer, can’t you think of a better idea than OS? Why not something like “OS You” or “OS+You”. Hehe. If that doesn’t scream modern, family atmosphere and appeal to the individual inside us all…

      I mean, it would need some work to look aesthetic, and I’m not a marketer or graphic designer in the least, but I think that train of thought is way better than our current one.

      • blakesgotanewface says:
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        Kind of like University of Delaware with their retarded Blue Hen named You-Dee. haha

        • firecrotch says:
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          Udel is division 9 and Mike Morgan quarterbacks there so nobody really cares about your shitty school.

      • blakesgotanewface says:
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        They could just use “Oregon State” instead of some acronym that is 1 or 2 syllables less. Is it that big of a deal to just say Oregon State?

      • ObjCritic says:
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        That’s the marketing approach I’ve been advocating – the link between the team and the fans. And it ties directly to everyone’s favorite cheer: “Oh!” “Essss!” “Youuuuuuuu!” What the fuck else does OSU’s marketing team need for inspiration? “Let it rage?” “I am orange?” Imagine a marketing video with the sound of the crowd cheer spliced with great plays (Oh”!”) video “S!”” viedeo “You!” crowd shot. At least that part of the crowds that’s actually active on game day.

        The OS logo is weak for the reason that it doesn’t represent what the OSU wants to be – it represents what it doesn’t want – to be confused with Ohio State or Oklahoma State, the latter who also use orange and O-S-U. Screw that. Form your identity – Make the logo you want. Forge the identity of the team – don’t wait for them to find it 6 weeks into the season Riley. The weakness of the team’s visual identity is manifest also in Riley’s “all who wander are not lost” approach to “finding an identity” during the season.

        I agree orange should be used more frequently – the team looked good against USC last year, and they said the FELT like they looked good. Also, the matte black could be used effectively with touches of bright orange on the uniform – one of they keys to using the bright colors is how much of it is used with white or black.

        I actually think UO is starting to dial in their uniforms and get better at them. Look how they use fluorescent yellow they use for example…or putting player’s numbers on their arm bands. And the “O” on their helmets is elegant because it at once represents “Oregon” and the shape of Autzen stadium. Hate them all you want, but they’ve become a recognizable brand, and their identity is “We are non-traditional. Our uniforms say it, our style of play says it.’

        OSU’s identity is “We’re happy to be in the Pac-10 conference, good lord willing, we’ll win a few.”

        A new logo, an orange dominated modern set with a matte black throwback set would be great. While you’re at it, get all those talented WR’s on the field and use them…get those fast LB’s on the field and use them…create a rover position…and put all of that on top of these two foundations – be the best tackling, best run-blocking team in the conference.

  • mehoffer says:
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    I agree completely!

  • beavfan4 says:
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    is it true that tim clark is getting his starting spot back?? thats what ive heard and if its true thats a terrible decision to make. clark is no good

  • Nick says:
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    Oregon State wore Orange Jerseys and Black Pants for the CW last year. They also wore Orange Jerseys and White pants vs. Pitt and two weeks ago vs UA. So no…they didn’t just wear Orange once.

    If you’re going to claim to be a real fan, and bitch about the uniforms. At least get a clue!

  • Diggs says:
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    Amen!

  • […] } In October, I wrote this article discussing the Beaver’s identity […]

  • […] Image crisis, new uniforms, cohesive logo. I wrote about this over a year ago. You can read it here and here. Sadly, image is important (almost everything). These things matter. How would you feel […]

  • JackBeav says:
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    This site just popped up on buzztap:
    http://go-beavers.blogspot.com/

    I’m not so interested in the short quips about big subjects as I am about the sensibilities toward Nike.

    I hate Nike gear. On top of it being poorly made crap, it’s ugly and expensive. And i have to buy it in order to show my school’s colors.

    I’m not the biggest fan of Adidas either, but at least they ain’t Nike. Are we gonna do anything about it?

    Is there anything we can do?

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