Dec 27, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; General view of Stanford Cardinal helmet at press conference for the 2013 Rose Bowl at the L.A. Hotel Downtown. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Pac-12 Countdown: Logo and Branding Identity No 12


In honor of the Oregon State Rebrand, I thought I’d count down my favorite Pac-12 logos and branding identities in order from worst to first. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be putting a quick focus on one school at a time from the best conference in the country; The Pac-12! For this countdown I’m using four variables; originality of the look, color scheme and variety throughout the Universities’ athletic programs. The lower the number, the more I would prefer a rebrand (or perhaps another rebrand) of the school.

You almost certainly thought I was going with Washington here, but no. The Stanford block “S” is almost instantly recognizable, but if it’s color scheme changes just a few fractions to orange and blue, it becomes Syracuse. Also, it’s just plain BORING!

The “El Palo Alto” tree saves the original logo and actually brings out a very unique color scheme and look, but it lacks character and swag, much like Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. Also, it’s never really been part of the Stanford uni repertoire. Most recently the brand and look of Stanford has gone completely the way of the plainer cardinal “S” and it saddens me. 

Rebrand?

Most definitely! My thoughts on a rebrand for the Cardinal might not include a change of the “S”, as schools have been adopting this “honor the past” type mentality with their logos, specifically here in the Pac-12. However it still looks like Syracuse and is the exact same font as is used in USC’s logo. Some form of “SC” would be interesting for me if the font type was changed, but if the block lettering and color scheme must stay (and it must), I’d like to see a meaner looking tree be incorporated.

SB Nation’s “Rule of the Tree” has just the antidote for what ails me in the way of the Stanford look. The trees have stolen the axe and are fighting back! Seriously though, if you just took the middle tree of that and replaced the tree in the more or less “current” version of the logo, you might have something pretty edgy. Of course then you’d need to find a way to incorporate that look into the uniforms, but I think that would be a fun challenge.

Can you imagine a cardinal helmet with a clean white stripe and mean looking tree holding an axe as the primary logo?! You could even keep the current look of the helmets and replace the logo with the new “S”/tree combo or just the tree only with either look. That’d be sick! For the basketball uni the tree could become the “A” of the otherwise plain “STANFORD” and BLAM! You have an instantly sweet looking jersey with shorts that have the new “S”/tree logo on either side or in the back on the waist like so many other schools have gone to.

Regardless, just like they did to that sweet lil’ ole Christmas tree of Charlie’s, something needs to change for Stanford, as they are going the way of the dinosaur in the Pac-12 branding race.

Tags: Basketball Football Stanford Cardinal Washington State Cougars