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.”