Berry announces rebranding for Athletic Department

Katelynn Singleton, Campus Carrier editor-in-chief

At a Student Government Association (SGA) meeting on Tuesday, Director of Athletics Angel Mason and Berry College President Steve Briggs announced the rebranding of the Department of Athletics, which would include making the typography uniform and changing the visual logo from a Viking head to a more neutral image. The following day, the Office of the President sent an email to students announcing the rebrand and detailed the reasons behind it and several new ideas.

The college hopes to have determined the final look by the start of the next semester.

“Our goal would be to have all the pieces put together by the fall, and obviously that will take some time to implement, but particularly as we enter a new year and begin to purchase things, we’d rather be able to purchase things that are using the new logo rather than using an old visual identity,” Briggs said. “Wherever you start it’s kind of awkward, but starting at the beginning of the year makes some sense.”

The school has been working with North Charles Street Design, an advertising agency based out of Baltimore that worked on the college’s 2019 rebrand, to develop a secondary visual mark. This mark will take over the old logo but will still relate back to the Vikings mascot. 

Nancy Rewis, the vice president of marketing and communications, said that during the 2019 rebrand, there was a discussion surrounding updating the athletics brand identity.

“At the time, it was right around COVID, and so that really just shut down,” Rewis said. “In the last couple of months, we’ve been talking about it some more and Shannon [Biggers] and her team have done a great job really helping manage the athletics brand as well as the institutional brand.”

In the email to students, two reasons were listed as to why the visual identity will be redone. The first was a lack of consistency in typography on the various jerseys. The email included a graphic in which the jerseys from several teams were displayed. The fonts used differ among all teams, which Shannon Biggers, director of creative services, said makes clear that there is no current consistent athletics brand.

“That effort to bring some cohesion and unity to athletics branding in the same way that we’ve applied to the institutional branding and then joining those two,” Biggers said.

Rewis and others said that the goal of the new branding is to make sure that the connection between the athletics teams and the college is obvious.

“With the new branding, how do we unify athletics and the institution,” Rewis said.

The second reason provided was that of all the schools in NCAA Division III, Berry is unique in its use of a personified head. There are eight schools in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA), with two planning on joining in the Fall of 2025. Three schools have text as their logo, three have an animal and two have a person. Hendrix College, the other school to have a person as their logo, uses a helmet to represent the warriors.

“We also realized when you see our logo up against other schools, we’re one of the last that still has an image of a person there,” Taylor said. 

Taylor stressed that SGA had no involvement in the decision to change the logo. According to Taylor, the decision to change the logo was an administrative and Athletic Department driven decision.

“I do know that there have been, recently as well as in the last couple of years, some of our women’s teams saying ‘you know it’s just masculine.’” Taylor said. “I don’t know that that was as much of a driver in terms of student complaining as much as when we look at where we sit with others with our peers, we haven’t modernized, and it’s time to.” 

6 thoughts on “Berry announces rebranding for Athletic Department

  1. Guess Berry had to go “woke” to keep up with the “Jones!” If it looks anything like the new “B” crap all around campus, I will stop my donations to Berry College! Not that President Briggs or AD Mason give a damn about we old athletes!!! 😡

  2. Leaving the history that formed a great college! Find something constructive to occupy your time that will make Berry a better college; this is not!

  3. I will be stopping my donations ! Y’all did not put in your statement about the gender neutral resson which I assumed played a big part ! Given 60 years of support to Berry ! Go Woke and I’m gone

  4. Some of the statements made by Berry’s administration cited in this article are just factually inaccurate. A couple of quick Google searches reveals there are many personified and male-oriented logos at all levels of NCAA including D3 (and pro sports).

    It’s unfortunate the beloved unique and iconic Viking head logo with 26 years of brand consistency and recognition loses out to a handful of virtue signaling admin/faculty who didn’t consider allowing student and alumni input if for no other reason as a courtesy.

    It’s disrespectful to discount students and alumni in the decision-making process especially when the Berry administration seeks our financial support year after year. Perhaps they should ask woke faculty to donate to their initiatives rather than the alums who lived, studied, played for and graduated from Berry — since they have no regard for our tradition and history, and the symbol we love and want to see continue. Faculty come and go, students/alums endure.

    The administration states it wants to create a community of belonging but they will distance that sense of belonging with many students and alums through this approach.

    Mascots and logos typically fall into people, animals and things. Most mascots across the board follow traditional male stereotypes when it comes to appearance whether they are people or animals.

    There are at least 15-20 schools that have male and counterpart female mascots (just 1 example, Albert and Alberta for the Florida Gators).

    Maybe Victor could use a Valerie (“Val”….Valhalla…get it?).

    Don’t like the Viking mustache in the logo? There are others (Seton Hall Pirates, Christopher Newport Captains, Notre Dame Fighting Irish Leprechaun — beard, just to name a few examples).

    Don’t like male-oriented team names? Their are numerous ones at all levels…..a small sample from D3: Lords, Knights, Bishops, Monks, Dutchmen, Thomcats, Corsairs, Yeoman, Red Men, Shoremen, Brandeis Judges (male judge logo) and the list goes on.

    Suppose the Dallas Cowboys, Milwaukee Bucks, Sacramento Kings, Virginia Cavaliers and many other teams should ask their female fans to help them rebrand. And the list is too long to name here in terms of the number of personified male mascots at every level of sports.

    And please ask the wokesters to pay for all the rebranding across campus rather than asking alums.

    Overall, Berry’s current president and administration have done a wonderful job and we’re sure they really do care about the college. Just unfortunate they have moved in this direction based on what one can only speculate is pressure from a small, overly sensitive group.

Leave a Reply