With surprisingly little fanfare, Randy York’s official Husker blog announced that Nebraska would be refreshing its secondary logos.
Instead, the new official secondary logos will be the primary logo with a radially-arched “Huskers” in the same serifed typeface used by the rest of the athletic department, and a side view of a contemporary football helmet with the beloved skinny N.
The new Huskers secondary logo has a disturbing similarity to Mississippi State’s primary logo. So let’s take a step back and see what Nebraska has done with this branding shift.
It’s only a secondary logo
Any fans worried about seeing these logos on the field in the game can rest assured.
Because these are secondary logos, it is unlikely you will see much of these logos at all on the players during a game. As secondary logos, the worst ( if you dislike the new logos) would be to see them as logos on a polo shirt, adorning bags or other pieces of equipment on the sidelines.
It keeps a consistent visual identity
It’s been a subtle thing, to be sure.
But when Nebraska ditched the script Huskers in 2004, a conscious effort was made to bring some consistency to how the Nebraska athletic department presents itself.
Starting with the adoption of the serif-less “Iron N” as Nebraska’s new primary logo in 2004, the entire Nebraska athletic department has become more uniform in presenting that typeface as the “Nebraska look” in everything from the banner on the official website, to the change in typefaces for the end zones, to the giant NEBRASKA on the shiny new HD HuskerVision scoreboard.
By including the Iron N as the background of the secondary logo and using the same serifed typeface for the arched “Huskers” across the front, the new secondary logos help to tie the unified look of the entire athletic program together.
It uses the school’s official colors
This one is a bit of a pet peeve of mine and one reason why I generally like the new look.
The old script Husker logo had the red "N" with a black “Huskers” scripted across the front of it and there was a good design reason not to like it. With the script running across the "N" in the background and the extra outline of the background "N" creating a separate white space underneath, the logo itself was awfully busy to look at.
But there is a simpler reason to dislike the logo.
The Huskers script was in black. Black is not one of the schools colors.
Nebraska’s colors have been scarlet and cream since about 1900 and I like that the new logos don’t muddy things up by adding black into the mix.
And yes, I know that there was all kinds of black in Nebraska's alternate uniforms worn against Wisconsin this year, which I am on record as liking.
But those were alternates, which almost by definition means you get to play with convention a little bit.
A logo is a representation of your athletic department and I am happy to see Nebraska stick with the scarlet and cream.
It furthers the “Huskers” branding
This is the other pet peeve of mine that I find to be a disappointment about the new logo.
With the new secondary logo, it is clear that Nebraska has made the decision to brand itself and be identified as the “Huskers.”
I get it. That’s what most people say when they refer to Nebraska. It’s an easy to say, recognizable, two syllable word.
But it’s not the school’s nickname.
Nebraska’s nickname is the Cornhuskers and I’ve never quite understood why the athletic department doesn’t embrace the corn in the nickname.
So, what's your verdict on Nebraska's new secondary logos?
Maybe it’s because it reinforces stereotypes of Nebraska from people not from the area. Maybe it’s harder to make Nebraska athletics attractive on a national and international scale. Maybe the word is just too long to make snappy for marketing purposes.
Regardless of the reasons, the new secondary logo makes it clear that the athletic department has decided to continue the de-emphasis of the corn.
That’s a decision that I and many other Children of the Corn are disappointed to see.
I still think that a reference to "Huskers" should include an apostrophe or "'Huskers," to reflect that the word is shortened from its original and proper form.
But, unsurprisingly, my editors here don't share that belief.
The final verdict
I have been a long-time fan of Paul Lukas’ work at Uni Watch. He is a man who has almost single-handedly turned attention to sports uniform minutiae from an odd obsession to a legitimate topic of study.
When he looks at a uniform change of any kind, he analyzes it through his all-purpose “good or stupid” litmus test.
So, with all due respect to the pioneer of those who "Get It," let’s take a look at Nebraska’s new secondary logos.
The new Huskers logo gives Nebraska the option to further the Huskers branding, while getting rid of the dated script logo.
This makes the logo less visually complicated and gets rid of the now-unnecessary black.
Yes, it’s a bit derivative of Mississippi State’s logo, but putting the Huskers mark straight across the "N" would risk looking derivative of B1G rival Michigan’s logo.
If you’re going to swipe a logo from someone, it probably shouldn’t be a neighbor.
It’s not perfect and it reflects a disappointing continuation of Nebraska’s corn marginalization policy, but it is a definite improvement over the previous logo.
So, it’s hard to call the new logo anything but good.
When I first saw the helmet logo, I thought it was kind of silly. But the more I’ve looked at it and thought about it, the more I’m warming to it.
The modern-style helmet definitely looks up to date and including a helmet graphic with the iconic "N" as a logo has some real possibilities. I could see a really sharp polo shirt or pullover with that helmet as the logo.
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UPDATE - Thanks to notes from the comments, a previous reference to "Huskers" as a one-syllable word has been corrected. As Rick Perry would say, oops.