Jan. 29, 2014
GREENVILLE, N.C. - In conjunction with the release of its strategic plan and membership in the American Athletic Conference beginning this summer, the East Carolina Department of Athletics will enter a new era with a defined look.
ECU Director of Athletics Jeff Compher announced Wednesday the complete unveiling of an updated brand identity initiative that will serve as the foundation for a departmental goal to build a consistent, recognizable and nationally-respected image.
"The timing of this branding initiative could not have been better from all perspectives," Compher said. "The new primary icon, wordmarks and typography offers consistency and presents an opportunity for East Carolina to gain a fresh national presence through its placement and usage. At the same time, I believe it also symbolizes our tradition by maintaining classic elements from ECU's storied history."
In addition to the inclusion of the Pirates' updated primary icon in Tuesday's distribution of the department's strategic plan, the tweaking of East Carolina's existing graphic identifiers are part of an effort to streamline, strengthen and better define the brand to represent athletics and the university in a more sustainable and consistent manner. The initiative will also better enable ECU the ability to manage and control the usage of its brand images, messaging and trademarks to ensure a positive reflection on the institution and its sports programs.
The intent of the brand is to reflect the Pirate spirit of being Undaunted, Determined, Strong and Passionate. Descriptive goals outlined for the identifiers, wordmarks and font selections included Current, Modern, National, Streamlined, Simple, Strong, Clear and Distinctive.
The popular "Skull and Crossbones" representation will serve as the primary icon and other approved identifiers will be incorporated for all ECU Athletics Department uses such as marketing, facility, social/electronic media, communications, team apparel and Pirate Club applications, and introduced to retailers on a schedule with established timelines.
While the lifespan of the department's last significant logo introduction has surpassed 15 years, the potential to reach an expanded national audience with its move to the AAC on July 1 facilitated ECU's efforts to define its brand in earnest. Marketing efforts to promote awareness of both the strategic plan and brand identity initiative have included the UNDAUNTED Video, newspaper ads in major dailies across the state, television commercials and billboard visibility in targeted locations.
The nine-month brand development process was inclusive and was represented by a large cross-section of constituency groups. Along with East Carolina head coaches, athletics and university staff, faculty, students, Pirate Club, Board of Trustees and retailers, the services of Howard Rocket, Inc., Angela Miller Creative and the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) were commissioned for this project.
"I think the new ECU brand is clear, bold and true to the East Carolina Spirit," student body president Tim Schwan said. "A uniform Pirate identity is a must if we are to become a national brand and this initiative creates a consistent mark that embodies East Carolina and our Pirate Spirit. I applaud the work of our Athletics Department and believe we are moving in a direction that will bring long-term success to the University."
With the implementation of the updated primary icon, the bearded "Pirate Head" logo that has represented ECU Athletics since 1998 will remain on the branding roster as a legacy mark for use in areas such as the Hall of Fame, Letterwinners and other tradition aspects to tie the past to the future. However, the logo will remain available on retail products for fans to enjoy.
The "Pirates State of Mind" graphic, which made its debut in November, 2009 prior to a nationally-televised Thursday night home contest against Virginia Tech, will continue its mid-field visibility at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium and at mid-court inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.
Typography selections marked the completion of the updated brand identity initiative as Matrix Extra Bold will be the designated font with an official institution typeface, Gotham, serving as the secondary choice. In an effort to remain consistent with ECU's uniform provider, the Nike "Full Block" number font will used on all Pirate team uniforms.
RETAIL CHAMPION MEMBERS TO OFFER UPDATED OFFICIALLY-LICENSED ECU PRODUCTS:
Dowdy Student Store
ECUPirates.com Online Store
Lanier Hardware (Lexington, N.C.)
Omega Sports (16 locations in N.C.)
Steinbeck's Men's Shop
T-Tops Super Store (Outer Banks, N.C.)
A full list of ECU Retail Champion Stores is available by online at ECUPirates.com.