BALTIMORE--The UMBC Department of Athletics has unveiled a new athletic logo, the fifth primary logo in its 40-plus years of intercollegiate competition.
A “family of logos” was developed by alum Jim Lord, ’99, the design director in UMBC’s Office of Creative Services. Ironically, one of Lord’s first tasks at UMBC was to complete work on the Retrievers’ outgoing logo in the spring of 2001.
Lord started to think about a new design as the athletic program began to receive a tremendous amount of exposure when the men’s basketball team qualified for the NCAA Tournament in March 2008.
With the approval of UMBC Director of Athletics Dr. Charles Brown, Lord began putting pen to paper in the spring of 2009. Focus groups of students, student-athletes, UMBC’s coaches and athletic staff, and alumni became involved in the process before three finalists emerged in the fall.
During Homecoming weekend in October, Lord and fellow staff manned a voting station, where alumni and students could choose their favorite. Soon after, an online poll was posted on myUMBC, the campus’ online portal. With more than 2,500 votes by students, faculty, staff and alumni, UMBC had an overwhelming winner with over 60 percent of the vote – one described by several alumni as “solemn,” “proud” and “strong.”
Lord describes the full-color primary logo as “stylized,” straddling the line between a realistic Chesapeake Bay Retriever and a cartoon counterpart. The logo utilizes the brown tones of the Marylandstate dog with a block-style “UMBC” neatly fitted atop.
Due to the growing needs of a Division I athletic program and its logo applications, Lord has developed three additional logos: a full-bodied dog and “UMBC Retrievers” and “UMBC” word marks.
“The family of logos was a key development this time around,” Lord said. “I wanted to make sure we had a solution for every need. That is where the word mark comes in - the arched UMBC with retrievers underneath - for use when the dog head may not be appropriate. A full-body dog was also created for large signs and posters. The new logo has a lot of flexibility in its usage and has a style-guide to make sure it is used appropriately.”
UMBC’s first athletic logo was developed in the early 1970’s, as a “pointing Retriever” was perched on the “um” of a lower-case UMBC. Several years later, New York-based artist Jack Davis designed the “running Retriever.” Davis was contacted to do the job by Tracy Bagli, a UMBC employee and daughter of local Baltimore sportscaster Vince Bagli. The “running Retriever” was versatile, as the uniformed dog could hold a lacrosse stick, dribble a basketball or soccer ball, or pitch a baseball when the situation demanded it.
In 1992, UMBC Athletics unveiled a new logo, which featured a more realistic Chesapeake Bay Retriever in an Oakland Raiders-style shield.
The new logos may be used immediately and will be seen prominently in 2010-11, as UMBC Athletics celebrates its 25th year of NCAA Division I competition.
Heard from the bleachers:
“I’m excited for the new logo because it’s more fierce and I think it represents our school very well.” – Natalie Rau, junior, women’s lacrosse, SAAC president
“I’m excited for the new logo because it’s great for our school and it’s going to represent us better.” – Michelle Kurowski, sophomore, women’s basketball
“Our new logo looks proud and professional, and it will bring us into the 21st century.” – Julia Culotta, junior, softball
“I think the new logo brings good change. I think it shows a little bit of aggression in our athletic department. It’s a little meaner, a little tougher, and I think it will bring along more school spirit and shows what our student-athletes represent.” – John Zito, men’s basketball assistant coach, class of ‘06
“It’s exciting that we usher in a new era of the logo. I also think that the last logo will be sorely missed, but in this day and age it seems that schools are always trying to enhance their athletic programs in as many different ways as they can, and I know the alumni felt very strongly on this. I think it’s going to be an exciting time.” – Joe French, head softball coach