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illwauk

Milwaukee Panthers new secondary logo package

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Edit: Sorry guys, realized this was really old! But continue the conversation if you like!

This school has been a branding nightmare for years. I believe it was 2006 when serious consideration was given to switch to the name 'Wisconsin State University'. Other names have been tossed around such as 'Milwaukee University', 'University of Milwaukee', and 'Milwaukee State University'. Although the current mouthful is hard to brand as a prestigious college: 'University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee', there is one main argument about changing the name of the school, and that is the prestige that comes from the 'University of Wisconsin' part. The school can't brand itself as Milwaukee University because the 'MU' initials would conflict too much with Marquette. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee realized it needed better branding to get away from the shadow of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. They decided to sell 'Milwaukee' in their athletics in hopes to legitimize their athletics brand. Instead of selling UW's B-team, the change of identity triggers a brand of Milwaukee's college team. So they've been slowly trying to push the hyphenation mouthful out and brand 'Milwaukee' instead. This is where the M comes in.

Take a look at some of their looks.

2731.gif

brand.gif

wiml-logo-100.png

logo.jpg

art377widea.jpg

While all keep a general belt buckle feel, their branding is getting lost. There's now three different Panther logos. I'm not sure they're phasing any of these out, but I've seen a number of different looking panther logos, one with 'Milwaukee Panthers' in a black, gold, white circle version, one with a stylized panther with blue hues, one with gray hues, a bluish version with just Milwaukee on the bottom, and a gray panther with just Milwaukee on the bottom. Now they're introducing two more panthers, as well as a logo that just has an 'M'. Then you add in their academic 'UWM' logo, and combine the new 'M' logo with another 'UWM' wordmark.

http://bookstore.uwm.edu/MerchList.aspx?ID=5793

I mean, just look through their bookstore and you see about seven different brands going on. Nothing cohesive. Many different fonts and logos going on. I know they were given a tough name like 'University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee', but if you're going to sell 'UWM', sell 'UWM'. If you're going to sell 'Milwaukee', sell 'Milwaukee'. While these new logos are cool, they're making the problem worse.

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The same thing is happening at my alma mater. It's officially the University of Texas at Arlington, but goes by UTA, UT-Arlington and Texas-Arlington as well. A few years ago, they decided to put in a bunco of money to come up with what I'm assuming as an arial "A" with a star (I say assume; I admittedly don't know my fonts very well). So now, you have...

401_1.gifUT-Arlington-v4-mascot-full.gif

txar-10-footer-uta6.pngv4-mascot-full.gif

I wish they would choose one identity for the entire school and stick with it. Going from Arlington State College to the University of Texas at Arlington to UTA to UT-Arlington back to the University of Texas at Arlington isn't working. I wish they would go to "The University of Arlington" like Milwaukee is doing.

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I have never seen the horse logo before. It looks really good! Why haven't I seen it before?

UTA has had it for the past decade. I think I might re-do the whole school in the concept forum.

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I have never seen the horse logo before. It looks really good! Why haven't I seen it before?

UTA has had it for the past decade. I think I might re-do the whole school in the concept forum.

Wow. Is there any reason I only ever see the A logo?

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I have never seen the horse logo before. It looks really good! Why haven't I seen it before?

UTA has had it for the past decade. I think I might re-do the whole school in the concept forum.

Wow. Is there any reason I only ever see the A logo?

Are you talking about the "Flying A" pictured here?

UTA-web.jpg

The horse isn't used too much, as most teams feature the flying A. The horse would look great on things like UTA's baseball caps or a football helmet (unfortunately, UTA is still trying to "transcend football.")

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I have never seen the horse logo before. It looks really good! Why haven't I seen it before?

UTA has had it for the past decade. I think I might re-do the whole school in the concept forum.

Wow. Is there any reason I only ever see the A logo?

Are you talking about the "Flying A" pictured here?

UTA-web.jpg

The horse isn't used too much, as most teams feature the flying A. The horse would look great on things like UTA's baseball caps or a football helmet (unfortunately, UTA is still trying to "transcend football.")

Yes. They should use the horse head logo more often. And you're right, that logo would look great on baseball caps and especially the football helmet.

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Geez a3uge, how many substantial issues about the Milwaukee Panthers brand do you want to raise in one post? :D

This school has been a branding nightmare for years. I believe it was 2006 when serious consideration was given to switch to the name 'Wisconsin State University'. Other names have been tossed around such as 'Milwaukee University', 'University of Milwaukee', and 'Milwaukee State University'. Although the current mouthful is hard to brand as a prestigious college: 'University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee', there is one main argument about changing the name of the school, and that is the prestige that comes from the 'University of Wisconsin' part.

In my observation, that argument is made mainly by older alumni who were around when the Milwaukee campus was the only UW school besides Madison. Their aim was originally to create a "two-headed" university the way California had done with Berkeley and UCLA with the UW-Milwaukee campus becoming Wisconsin's equivalent of the latter. That happened in 1956 by merging the Milwaukee branch of the UW Extension with what was then known as Wisconsin State College. Then some genius said "why not have UW's in Wisconsin's FOUR biggest cities, rather than just the top two?" so UW-Green Bay and UW-Parkside (Kenosha) were created in 1965. Then the remaining state universities said "Hey, we're funded by the same taxes, why can't we have the UW name too?" Thus, the UW system was formed in 1971 and in a matter of 15 years the Milwaukee campus went from being groomed as a prestigious urban university to a commuter school that was no more significant than Madison's other "little brothers."

Fast forward to the 21st century and the University of Wisconsin brand has been diluted to the point that no one understands just what is so damn prestigious about having the UW initials. Furthermore, many in the UWM community realize that as UW-Milwaukee surpasses UW-Madison in having more Wisconsin-born students, the ambiguity of the UWM initials are causing problems. Saying "UWM" anywhere but Greater Milwaukee is usually met with "Are you talking about Milwaukee or Madison?" and this is in addition to the problems UWM alums face outside of Wisconsin where we tend to be mistaken for Badgers. Thus, the "Wisconsin State University" and "University of Milwaukee" ideas are pitched.

This, of course, is scoffed at by the older alumni in the local media... most of whom kept little to no ties to the university after they graduated, still see it as a commuter school, and are thus unaware of the problems the UW-Milwaukee brand has caused... and accuse those supporting a change as being superficial and on an ego rush. Combine that with the idiotic way the question was put on the ballot... instead of asking students if they supported a change and if so, what would they prefer the name be changed to, they simply listed WSU and U of M alongside UWM and said "pick one." Over half the students supported a change, but because that vote had been split between the WSU supporters and the U of M supporters, the current name wound up winning by default.

The school can't brand itself as Milwaukee University because the 'MU' initials would conflict too much with Marquette. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee realized it needed better branding to get away from the shadow of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. They decided to sell 'Milwaukee' in their athletics in hopes to legitimize their athletics brand. Instead of selling UW's B-team, the change of identity triggers a brand of Milwaukee's college team. So they've been slowly trying to push the hyphenation mouthful out and brand 'Milwaukee' instead. This is where the M comes in.

I think the problems with this are the ambiguity of the name "Milwaukee" combined with having a generic nickname like "Panthers." Milwaukee isn't like a Whitewater or Platteville where people's minds automatically go to the university upon hearing the name because there's nothing else in those towns. This might not be a problem if they had a more unique nickname as saying "Badgers," "Tar Heels" or "Gophers" leave no confusion as to who you're referring to whereas "Panthers" can refer to any number of colleges, high schools or even a few pro teams.

Barring yet another mascot switch (something I'm not entirely opposed to, but Panthers is our second mascot in the UWM era and fourth overall) what could really be used here is something akin to "Pitt," "Mizzou" or "UMass" for the athletic department (and possibly the university at large) to brand itself as. I like the possibilities of "Waukee" or "UMil" (or "Mil U," which rolls off the tongue easier) which would all still be relevant (if not more so) if and when the switch to University of Milwaukee is made.

While all keep a general belt buckle feel, their branding is getting lost. There's now three different Panther logos. I'm not sure they're phasing any of these out, but I've seen a number of different looking panther logos, one with 'Milwaukee Panthers' in a black, gold, white circle version, one with a stylized panther with blue hues, one with gray hues, a bluish version with just Milwaukee on the bottom, and a gray panther with just Milwaukee on the bottom. Now they're introducing two more panthers, as well as a logo that just has an 'M'. Then you add in their academic 'UWM' logo, and combine the new 'M' logo with another 'UWM' wordmark.

http://bookstore.uwm.edu/MerchList.aspx?ID=5793

I mean, just look through their bookstore and you see about seven different brands going on. Nothing cohesive. Many different fonts and logos going on. I know they were given a tough name like 'University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee', but if you're going to sell 'UWM', sell 'UWM'. If you're going to sell 'Milwaukee', sell 'Milwaukee'. While these new logos are cool, they're making the problem worse.

What gets me is how militant the Athletic Department has been about the media referring to them as "Milwaukee" or "Milwaukee Panthers," yet don't seem to understand how that conflicts with the fact that they kept the uwmpanthers.com domain address or just last year introducing a UW-Milwaukee wordmark when getting away from the hyphenated name was the whole reason to start branding as "Milwaukee" in the first place!

If they don't go with my idea of branding themselves with one of the names I suggested above, I'd rather they just go with UWM or at least use "UWM" in Wisconsin and "Milwaukee" outside of Wisconsin (although given how scatterbrained the current identity is, I'm not sure I'd trust them to properly execute that). UWM is the name that's most frequently used by students, faculty and alums, and from a design point of view, those letters lent themselves to some pretty cool possibilities. Here's a few that I've come up with in the past.

uwm_retro_v1.png

uwm80s-2.png

uwm_word.png

Anyway, I know this has been a long post, but I think a lot of the folks who've been here long enough have that one thing they've obsessed over and studied ad-naseum and this happens to be mine :D

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Outstanding.

FWIW, I think your evaluation of the identity situation is dead-on. Shame, because they really need a change.

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I'm not trying to go political, nor do I want a political discussion to start from this, but I think the recent proposal to break apart Madison from the rest of the UW system may have given Milwaukee a good opportunity to stand on their own and develop into a school that gets away from the notion that UWM is Madison's second tier school. This was struck down, and both schools are still controlled by the same board. Maybe UWM needs to start over with their brand. Call it something different and compete with Madison, not live under its shadow. In terms of sports branding, you want to compete with in-state schools, not live in their coat-tails. I see the same thing going on in other states, and when this happens, the schools just scream 'commuter school' or 'second tier school'. 'Purdue University' sounds a lot better than 'University of Nebraska at Omaha'. Look at Michigan. Michigan State is great competition to Michigan, and both schools benefit from this competition. Could you imagine a school surviving under the name 'University of Michigan at East Lansing'?

It (moderately) irks me that Wisconsin can't have two easily recognizable large state schools. I mean Oregon, Iowa, and Oklahoma can do it with less population, why can't Wisconsin?

You were dead-on with your analysis and I can't say I disagree with anything you said. I know the school is casually referred to as UWM in the area (nothing wrong with that), but it's hard to market those initials in states other that Wisconsin. They can get away with it if they only want students from a small radius, but if they want to brand into Chicago, the name 'UWM' probably won't mean much. Like you said, it may even cause people to believe that the 'M' stands for 'Madison'. 'UWM' could also be mistaken for 'Western Michigan', or other colleges. I had the same problem with Marquette pushing 'MU' when various schools could go by the same name.

As long as the flagship of Madison is controlling things, I don't anticipate a change of names. For now they have to do with what they've got. But I do think 'WaukU' has a good ring to it.

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It (moderately) irks me that Wisconsin can't have two easily recognizable large state schools. I mean Oregon, Iowa, and Oklahoma can do it with less population, why can't Wisconsin?

Because Madison got the land grant. Those other states chose to separate the land grant school from the liberal arts school.

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Love the topic. And as an alum I concur in the assessments put forth herein.

Just thought i'd chime in with an answer to the question a while back.

The Panthers logo ( don't know about Bucky updates) was designed by Mike Kasun, a very talented Milwaukee area illustrator.

I don't think he'd take it personally if I characterized him as not really a sports branding professional per say. As evidenced by the gradients everywhere for starters.

But he has done some work for... The Detroit Tigers if memory serves and did a whole bunch of print and peripheral design work when Milwaukee hosted the MLB All Star Game.

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I have a better version of that :P

uwm1985logo.png

Hopefully Chris can get around to adding it to the mothership, sometime. But honestly, I prefer it to the current primary. Both look incredibly dated, but at least the 80s version has a retro-cool thing going for it and it'd look damn spiffy on a football helmet.

That said, Buck E. Panther needs to be the primary and maybe the new Panther head can be kept, but all the other Panthers need to go.

I was also thinking that maybe the nickname could be changed to "Brewcats." It's a unique name that alludes to the schools' locale, but still allows it to retain the 40+ years of Panther imagery.

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I'm not trying to go political, nor do I want a political discussion to start from this, but I think the recent proposal to break apart Madison from the rest of the UW system may have given Milwaukee a good opportunity to stand on their own and develop into a school that gets away from the notion that UWM is Madison's second tier school. This was struck down, and both schools are still controlled by the same board. Maybe UWM needs to start over with their brand. Call it something different and compete with Madison, not live under its shadow. In terms of sports branding, you want to compete with in-state schools, not live in their coat-tails. I see the same thing going on in other states, and when this happens, the schools just scream 'commuter school' or 'second tier school'. 'Purdue University' sounds a lot better than 'University of Nebraska at Omaha'. Look at Michigan. Michigan State is great competition to Michigan, and both schools benefit from this competition. Could you imagine a school surviving under the name 'University of Michigan at East Lansing'?

It (moderately) irks me that Wisconsin can't have two easily recognizable large state schools. I mean Oregon, Iowa, and Oklahoma can do it with less population, why can't Wisconsin?

You were dead-on with your analysis and I can't say I disagree with anything you said. I know the school is casually referred to as UWM in the area (nothing wrong with that), but it's hard to market those initials in states other that Wisconsin. They can get away with it if they only want students from a small radius, but if they want to brand into Chicago, the name 'UWM' probably won't mean much. Like you said, it may even cause people to believe that the 'M' stands for 'Madison'. 'UWM' could also be mistaken for 'Western Michigan', or other colleges. I had the same problem with Marquette pushing 'MU' when various schools could go by the same name.

As long as the flagship of Madison is controlling things, I don't anticipate a change of names. For now they have to do with what they've got. But I do think 'WaukU' has a good ring to it.

That's the way it is at a lot of universities. When I was choosing what school I wanted to go to, the name did have something to do with it. Names like "University of North Texas" sound a bit more prestigious than "University of Texas at Arlington." Never mind that they are both about the same when it comes to instruction, but the "at a certain place" qualifier does hurt the image. It's not like people from UTA can say that they went to the University of Texas either; it has to have "at Arlington" in order to prevent confusion.

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Growing up in Milwaukee, I saw UWM as clearly inferior an subordinate to UW.

It's amazing what a name can do.

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I don't know if FreeKobe is still around on these boards, but I have this saved, and I think it was from 2005 or 2006.

BUCKYVSMILBUCKY.jpg

Strikingly similar.

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Going to School in Wisconsin (Carthage) it took me quite some time to start saying "Madison" instead of just "Wisconsin" when referring to the flagship school. If I said "Wisconsin" everyone would say, "Which one?" Most people when speaking casually will refer to each school as their identifier so "Milwaukee," "Parkside," "Whitewater," or "Green Bay." (at least in my experience)

I actually wished Illinois had a similar structure to Wisconsin where you could go to these small D3 schools and easily transfer to the "main" school or to the other schools within the system. In Illinois even if you transfer from Eastern, Western, Northern or Southern to the UofI-Champaign you mine as well be transfering from Indiana as far as keeping credits. It was nice you could go to Parkside for a few years and transfer to Madison (or Milwaukee or Whitewater or wherever) and keep most if not all of your credits. I don't regret going the route I did but I do wish there was a similar system in my homestate.

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That's the way it is at a lot of universities. When I was choosing what school I wanted to go to, the name did have something to do with it. Names like "University of North Texas" sound a bit more prestigious than "University of Texas at Arlington." Never mind that they are both about the same when it comes to instruction, but the "at a certain place" qualifier does hurt the image. It's not like people from UTA can say that they went to the University of Texas either; it has to have "at Arlington" in order to prevent confusion.

That's one of the problems with UWM keeping its name. It's not just another "UW-Not Madison," it's the only UW school besides Madison that offers doctorates, has programs in a lot of relatively newer fields of study (LGBT Studies, Africology, 21st Century Studies)... many of which can't be found at Madison or most other schools for that matter, just opened up one of the largest freshwater research departments in the world and has one of the best Architecture/Urban Planning programs in the country (not that you could tell by all the butt-ugly buildings on campus, but it does account for nearly all of our out-of-state students). In other words, it's not a place for Madison's rejects who happen to live in the Milwaukee area (as Gothamite alluded to a couple posts earlier). I doubt anyone has any delusions about us having the overall quality or entrenched traditions that Madison has, but there's plenty of valid reasons why someone would rather choose UW-Milwaukee over UW-Madison. And we're certainly a cut above the other UW's in that regard. We deserve a name that reflects this.

I actually wished Illinois had a similar structure to Wisconsin where you could go to these small D3 schools and easily transfer to the "main" school or to the other schools within the system. In Illinois even if you transfer from Eastern, Western, Northern or Southern to the UofI-Champaign you mine as well be transfering from Indiana as far as keeping credits. It was nice you could go to Parkside for a few years and transfer to Madison (or Milwaukee or Whitewater or wherever) and keep most if not all of your credits. I don't regret going the route I did but I do wish there was a similar system in my homestate.

The thing is, the UW system already has an entirely different set of two-year schools for exactly this purpose. And that's not even including the four-year transfer programs at MATC (Milwaukee)* and MATC (Madison).* I can understand having a small handful of UW commuter branches throughout the state like how Minnesota has UMD (Duluth) and UMM (Morris) that actually share the parent school's identity (all of them are maroon & gold), but when you start applying the name to every state-funded campus, you dilute the brand, prevent the smaller schools from developing their own identity and cause frustration for everyone... especially when you add people who aren't from Wisconsin to the mix. We've discussed the "Does UWM mean to Milwaukee or Madison?" problem, but there's also "Does UWP mean Plattville or Parkside?" and "Does UWS mean Stout, Superior or perhaps Stevens Point?"

*That's right, the UW isn't even the only higher education system in Wisconsin where the schools in Milwaukee and Madison share the same initials.

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I like University of Milwaukee/UMil, personally.

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