'Brand New:' What does OSU's new logo mean for the university


OSU is replacing signs and banners around campus featuring the retired logos.

Oklahoma State University is solidifying its brand identity with a new “brand” logo announced on July 1.

Director of Digital Marketing Megan Horton said the new solidified logo is to “strengthen the visual identity of OSU.”

“OSU is a powerhouse,” Horton said. “Our university is stronger than its ever been, and we wanted our brand identity to reflect that.”

The announcement came via an email from OSU President Burns Hargis, which said “This logo is widely recognized and associated regionally, nationally and internationally with Oklahoma State University, and provides the opportunity to educate, motivate and inspire wherever our brand appears. Used consistently, one logo unifies our identity and communications as we continue to tell the OSU story.”

Four research strategies were utilized to determine which logo would be used to solidify the identity of the university, including brand surveys sent to fans, alumni, employees, donors, students and more garnering over 5,500 results; a digital audit to see what logos were currently being used; visual analysis of the marks themselves; and the commercialization of the logos in stores – which logos were selling better. With all this researched gathered, the “brand” logo outperformed all other logos.

But what does this mean for athletics? OSU has gathered a reputation for having distinct and creative uniform combinations over football season, utilizing the several different logos the university had gathered over the years. Will these combinations go away? The answer isn’t as simple as it may seem.

Uniforms are updated every few years, so we will not see a change to the athletic uniforms for at least the next season, possibly two.

“Athletics was very much a part of this conversation,” Horton said. “It wasn’t just brand management’s project. We helped lead it, but we had a lot of conversations with the athletic communications and marketing team.”

Although we might see some of these older logos used on uniforms for the next year or two, they will not be available for purchase anymore.

“The (sheriff’s badge logo) is currently in use on the uniforms that will be seen this fall, but we are no longer commercializing that mark,” Norton said. “The vendors will not have it to sell product … so moving forward you won’t see it on new materials. It will live out through the life cycle of these uniforms, and then moving forward they will use the new “brand” style sheet to develop the next iteration of our uniforms.”

Our beloved mascot, Pistol Pete, and all variations of him will not be going anywhere. Norton made a distinction between what a “logo” is and what a “mascot” is, and Pete will not be changing any time soon, including the “Phantom Pete.”

The individualized Pistol Pete’s we have right now are also not going anywhere, so fans of the “Wrestling Pete,” “Medical Pete” and “Baseball Pete” and more are not going anywhere for now. Although, no new individualized Pete’s will be made.

“About four years ago we sunsetted any new custom Pete’s,” Horton said. “Going back to that first goal of strengthening our visual identity, you strengthen your identity by being consistent in having less options, not more. About three or four years ago we stopped creating any customized Pete’s. We do not create any new Pete’s for academics or athletics. What we have is kind of sealed.”

Now that the solidified brand identity has been established, consistency is now the focus. OSU is striving to give the same impression for the university no matter what the medium is.

“This is a really big deal for the university,” Horton said. “We are an amazing place, we have amazing people, our programs are top rated, and our visual identity needs to line up with that. I feel like we are now moving to a place where we look the way we’ve been performing on and off the field.”