NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Logos are important. They can make or break a brand. SFA almost broke theirs six years ago.
In March of 2014, SFA hit the national stage. A week after the men’s basketball team beat VCU in the NCAA National Tournament, the school was set to unveil a new logo that was part of a $1.25 million advertisement campaign. The logo costs $14,000 and was designed by Carlberg/Richards advertising agency.
A day before the reveal, someone who was in the student center where a banner with the logo was being set up, was able to snap a photo before it was covered in secrecy. The post on social media started to circulate and the reaction was not good. The reaction was so negative that the school scrapped the logo. The ad campaign pushed forward but with the old logo.
“This was right when Brad Underwood was getting the program started,” alum Coleman Swierc said. “We were going to go to a bunch of NCAA tournaments in a row. Could you imagine if that logo came up on selection Sunday and that represented our school? We are going to look like a joke if that thing was representing the school in the NCAA tournament or any sport. Imagine it on football helmets or volleyball jerseys. It was horrific."
Swierc was not alone in his dismay.
“I was dumbfounded is probably the right word,” alum Chris Anderson said."The timing made no sense and the way it was done made no sense."
“It didn’t work on paper,” alum Matt Adkins said. “It would not have worked for the athletic department. It will go down as the craziest day on SFA social media history. If you were part of that situation back then you will always remember it. ”
SFA alum felt like their university abandoned a simple logo that so many were used to seeing.
“It was a mockery,” Shawn Clynch said. “It was laughable but I wasn’t laughing. There were thousands of responses. Some were more colorful than others.”
The biggest problem many saw with the logo is that unlike the diagonal letters on top of Texas. The new logo appeared to have the state of Texas go around the border of the letters, with Texas extending well into Louisiana. In fact the lower tip of the "A" borders New Orleans when the logo was placed on top of a U.S. map.
“The people of Northwestern state had to have been offended as well,” Clynch said. “It was like the days before western expansion. Stephen F. Austin himself did not envision that for the state.”
Change is hard and many SFA fans and alums seem to be open to change if done right.
“We just had all that attention from the NCAA tournament,” alum Sean Hightower said. “I know the two were not related at all...Maybe in the future you will want to do a soft reveal with people in the community. It is a learning experience. "