Every few years the controversy of depicting Native Americans as a sports mascot is reignited. Just this past year the Washington Redskins have been the subject of public criticism for this reason. Although I can see both sides of the argument, I thought it would be unlikely for any sports logo depicting a Native American to endure much longer. Much to my surprise and to the school’s credit, Florida State University is updating their Seminole logo without much controversy. How did they accomplish this? Brilliantly, Florida State sought a blessing from Seminole Tribe leaders before they made the change and they got it. Now we can just talk about the art.
This update was created by a team of designers at Nike. My first compliment is that when I saw the new logo, I immediately recognized it as the Florida State brand. This means the design team at least accomplished the goal of maintaining the look and feel, or the “spirit” of Florida State University. I wasn’t even sure how different this logo was until I looked at the old logo. And then I noticed how much this update was needed. The new logo adds useful detail to the brand, while at the same time providing much cleaner, crisper and more intentional lines. On the “illustration-to-logo” spectrum this is much more of an illustration, but it is a good illustration that looks amazing in the contexts it is applied on the uniform designs.