There were big changes at the Royal Purple last semester when we debuted our new banner, replacing the Warhawk head logo, on top of the April 4 issue following spring break.
This change was made upon request by the UW-Whitewater Marketing and Media Relations Department.
A culture shift
About a year and a half ago, the Marketing and Media Relations Department began looking into the identity standards for the university. Assistant Director Jeff Angileri along with others developed cohesive identity standards that included the use of institution logos.
The Warhawk head logo is a sub brand underneath the overarching brand, which is the cursive-like purple “W.”
“Our goal is for people to recognize these [logos] as the institution,” Marketing and Media Relations Director Sara Kuhl said.
In order for people to start recognizing these logos in relation to the university, Kuhl said it was time to start regaining control over the university’s trademarked logos.
The Warhawk head is one of these logos, trademarked by the Athletic Department.
According to Athletic Director Paul Plinske, when the Warhawk head logo was registered as a trademark through the Licensing Resource Group in the early 2000s, the logo was embraced by the campus, resulting in an influx of unapproved, improper usage.
“It was really getting messy because there were so many requests to use it and there was ultimately no control over how it could be used,” Plinske said.
Now, it is the goal of the Marketing and Media Relations Department as well as the Athletic Department to regain complete control of the logo by asking organizations including the Royal Purple, to terminate any use of the logo.
“In the past, we weren’t controlling that [trademark] very well,” Kuhl said. “We basically allowed anyone who wanted to use it to use it.”
Kuhl said they have asked several organizations other than the Royal Purple to begin phasing out the Warhawk logo including Residence Life, the HawkCard Office and local bar, The Hawk’s Nest. Changes include letterhead images, t-shirt logos and other signage.
“There are certain things that this is going to be a long process in getting compliance,” Kuhl said.
Paul Plinske said this new approach to regaining control of the Athletic Department’s logo was more of a “culture shift.”
“In my mind, it was getting comfortable with a culture shift that we’re trying to put into place,” Plinske said. “We started to realize that we really needed to control it … We just feel like that’s the best approach for us to be able to continue to support each other, but at the same time have our own purpose, our own identity and our own connectivity.”
A different perspective
In response to the Marketing and Media Relations Department’s request, former Royal Purple adviser Sam Martino disagreed with the new restrictions of the Warhawk logo usage.
“The University Marketing Department should not be making suggestions that interfere with the independence of the Royal Purple by suggesting it change the Warhawk logo,” Martino said. “The Warhawk has become symbolic of the University and its athletic teams. Hopefully, students, faculty and other supporters of the Warhawk legacy will support a return to some form of the Warhawk as part of the banner of the Royal Purple.”
A new direction
As a result of this request by the Marketing and Media Relations Department in conjunction with the Athletic Department, the Royal Purple decided to turn to in-house Graphic Artist Kate Dodge to come up with a few different banner options.
After much conversation and consideration, the Royal Purple staff decided on the current spread-winged hawk logo to replace the iconic Warhawk head to help the Athletic Department regain control of their trademark.
While it was difficult to part with the Warhawk head, the Royal Purple is considering this an opportunity to make a change for the better and to use this as a way to brand the paper in our own unique way. What our staff failed in doing last year was explaining this change right as it was happening.
We hope to back-track a bit and get feedback from our readers. The Royal Purple would like to conduct a survey with questions regarding the new banner. Click here to take the survey.