Persistent Alumnus Changes CSU Mascot

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What can you do if you hate the logo design of your favorite brand? What if you think that your favorite school mascot design could be a whole lot better? While most of us would simply grumble to ourselves—or choose a new favorite brand or team—one Colorado State University grad has taken matters into his own hands and designed a new logo and mascot design for the school’s teams.

The process was not as easy as it sounds. Kyle Stopperan is a professional designer who graduated from Colorado State in 2001. Since 2003, he has waged a singlehanded battle to get a better logo and a better mascot for his school. The school until recently rebuffed his efforts, but they finally relented when it came time to change the well-known ram mascot.

A mascot design can be an integral part of the way a school is perceived both by the people who attend and the general community. In this case, Stopperan felt that the mascot was out of date and did not reflect the school. The former student created a new visual identity for the school athletic program pro bono and submitted it to the school. He thought that his redesign would be well-received, but all he received was a form response thanking him for his ‘good work’.

Kyle was prepared to leave it there, but he kept seeing some of the awesome mascot designs that competitor schools were adopting. These designs kept the best of the old mascot, but added a new and more aggressive touch. The CSU image just wasn’t up to par. Inspired by the new looks, the designer returned to the drawing board and revised his former submission. He submitted it in 2008, this time to the school’s new athletic director, who he felt might be more open to a change. After a long wait, he received a personal response, asking instead for a full body design appropriate for a mascot.

He submitted his new design, went through several revisions, and finally had a finished product. The new mascot sample was accepted last fall and should be debuting in the flesh—or in the cloth—soon. Seven years after Kyle Stopperan had his great idea, Cam the Ram can be proud of his new good looks, and so can the people who support Colorado State.

Mascot design is a very important part of a school’s identity. Your mascot basically functions as a logo design for your athletic program. A great mascot is something that can rally fans and make the team proud. A bad mascot is, well, embarrassing. If your favorite school has a logo or a mascot that is not hitting the mark, it is time to get a design that will inspire your students and your community. Your process will be certainly faster and simpler than that of designer Kyle Stopperall, but hopefully you will end up with a similarly high quality end product.