The University of Nevada, Las Vegas updated their “spirit mark” i.e. athletics logo. It’s bad! UNLV tweeted it out yesterday and were met with immediate dogpiling and cyberbullying.
Vegas fans don’t like it either.
San Diego State fans and alums hardly need a reason to ridicule the beacon of academia that is UNLV, but for this thing, all derision is richly deserved. The school even included a key to understanding the new logo in their release because they know how weird and inscrutable it is.
Somehow we all missed that it’s the iconic Welcome to Las Vegas sign in different colors with a hat on it. Duh!
Situated as we are in our own glass house on a mesa named after a deposed Aztec ruler, let’s for the moment reserve condemnation of a nickname that venerates confederate rebels. (For context; prior to becoming UNLV the school was known as University of Nevada, Southern Division and Nevada Southern University. They had to “rebel” against their northern Nevada predecessor to become more than a satellite campus, see. The confederate flag on their helmets was just a coincidence.)
No, instead we gather here to cast judgement on the logos of every Mountain West athletic program. These rankings are subjective yet self-evidently true and correct. Comments are welcome but dissent or truculence will not be tolerated.
Behold! Mountain West logos ranked best to worst.
1. Wyoming Cowboys and Cowgirls
PROS: Distinct, minimalist, evocative, recognizable.
CONS: Basically a depiction of animal cruelty.
Probably a controversial choice for the top spot. Laramie is a dumb, boring place, getting there requires three flight segments and multiple bus rides, WYO produced Dick Cheney, the list goes on. But leave all that aside and you have a clean, easily identifiable brand mark, evocative of the rugged, intolerant ethos of the most conservative state in the country.
The logo gets a demerit for the animal abuse it depicts but still gets our top spot for good overall concept and design.
2. San José State Spartans
PROS: Looks cool, sharp edges, complementary color variations.
CONS: Is San José State.
In a lofty ranking sure to be poorly received by a certain co-editor hailing from this part of our fair state, this logo nearly grabbed the top spot. It’s good and I like it! Seems odd that the Spartan is facing left, but SJSU is on the West Coast so maybe he/she is gazing at the ocean, lost in reverie. It looks a little like a stormtrooper; which is to say, stormtroopers look like Spartans.
The sunburst emanating from the helmet represents brilliant ideas attracting millions in startup capital.
3. San Diego State Aztecs
PROS: Great colors, no gold outline, is the beloved alma mater.
CONS: Portrays a non-functional spear, is kind of a mess.
It brings me no joy to admit this but the SDSU logo isn’t very good. It doesn’t look good on shirts or hats. It looked weird on the football helmets that preceded the current good ones. It doesn’t render well for on-screen graphics. It’s a spear with a big letter D in the middle of it, how the hell is that historically accurate? The S is only vaguely recognizable as a letter.
The current Aztecs logo is, however, an improvement on the two previous iterations: the same interlocking letters outlined in gold with STATE in the middle, and the infamous Red Man logo. I think part of my bias against the current version is that I liked and am nostalgic for the old Aztec profile logo, which wasn’t the official mark when I was in school but was still seen around campus.
SDSU’s logo isn’t great but it is strong, reasonably distinctive and in most respects better than the rest of the conference.
4. Fresno State Bulldogs
PROS: Growly, easily recognizable, kitschy in a good way.
CONS: Cartoonish, is a dog wearing a shirt, the dog’s name is Timeout.
So, it’s an angry dog. The dog is drawn pretty well, it’s snarling, maybe it’s backed into a corner but it’s still dangerous. Would you want to fuck with a bulldog in Fresno? Definitely no. Timeout is a terrible name for a mascot though. Grr, I take little breaks to catch my breath.
The V badge on the dog’s chest stands for Viscosity, a nod to the Old Oil Can.
5. Air Force Falcons
PROS: Simple, classic, balanced.
CONS: “As fuck.”
I considered ranking Air Force higher for the straightforward minimalism of this logo. It goes nicely with their basic blue/white color scheme and looks good on merch. On the downside, it supplants their much cooler secondary logo and isn’t particularly evocative. And no way could the Academy have foreseen “AF” becoming more widely known to millennials in contexts like “daddy af.”
Just go with the falcon holding lightning bolts logo, AF.
6. Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors
PROS: Reflects native culture, is a big H.
CONS: Replaced the completely awesome Rainbow logo.
In a vacuum, the logo isn’t bad. But this version gets heavy demerits for replacing the previous logo and uniform. The old Hawai’i Rainbows had maybe the coolest, most distinctive and place-evocative iconography in college sports like, ever. It’s a bummer seeing UH doing their haka in that green, black and grey gear and even lamer that homophobia was the reason the old gear went away.
What happened to you Hawai’i? Your ass used to be beautiful. Bring back the ‘Bows!
7. Boise State Broncos
PROS: Mean horse with a glass eye.
CONS: Hideous color combination, looks like a horse/ocean wave hybrid.
Ugggh. I mean, the thing is drawn well. Clearly they paid someone skilled to design it and people to focus-group it. It’s quickly recognizable as Boise State. But this blind horse also reminds you that you’ll soon be watching a game on the Xtreme Polar Blue Freeze turf with the Broncos in their garish-ass gear. Fuckin’ Boise definitely thinks they’re better than this trash conference and this logo proves they’re wrong.
Seriously, French blue and orange. What colorblind potato-eating sadist came up with that combo.
8. Nevada Wolf Pack
PROS: Minimal, fierce, has name right in the logo.
CONS: Looks like an angry badger or rat or something.
It’s still weird that Nevada-Reno is in the same conference as us, so there hasn’t been much time to build up animosities for the Wolve Pack. They’ve only been in D-I since 1992 and didn’t join the MWC until 2012.
Anyway, their logo is boring but inoffensive. It looks like something drawn up for a fictional high school team.
9. Colorado State Rams
PROS: Symmetrical, professionally rendered, round.
CONS: Is the logo equivalent of a training seminar in a windowless conference room.
Longtime readers will be familiar with our disdain for this yawntastic piece of corporate branding. Crack K30 staff writer VM David described it as “something you’d see on a pack of wool socks. I’ve always hated it. It irritates me on a visceral level. It’s like the logo of a managed health care plan.”
Amen. Fort Collins sucks and so does this logo.
10. UNLV Rebels
PROS: Sleek, modern, replaces the old Reb that looked like a slave owner.
CONS: Hokey, jokey, is just a hat thrown in with some other bullshit.
The more I look at it the more I like the star part. The logo is more Vegas-y now, which was obviously the point. Overall it’s still a mess. UNLV way overthought this.
11. New Mexico Lobos
PROS: Identifiable, snarly, wolf’s eyes follow you around the room.
CONS: Cartoonish, oddly shaped, stupid.
Wow, that is bad. Why so many weird angles? The wolf looks kind of like the psycho bunny from the Twilight Zone movie. And yet, this lobo isn’t fearsome. You could slap the shit out of this lobo. This lobo has relapsed on crystal five times and needs $150 to get his dirtbike out of impound.
12. Utah State Aggies
PROS: Can be read from distance, took a grad student one afternoon to design.
CONS: Generic, forgettable, evokes nothing.
An argument can be made for New Mexico or a couple of others in this last-place ranking. But Utah State takes the prize for their uninspired, terribly bland representation of what I can only imagine to be the most boring institution of higher learning in North America.
Are they ashamed of being Aggies? Put a farmer on there or maybe a grain silo. Their alternate logo is a pretty cool looking bull, but the secondary logo doesn’t count and what does a bull have to do with agriculture? Like bulls and farming, this logo stinks.