An image, especially a logo, is a rhetorical statement that is designed to represent the entirety of the subject. In 2017 UNLV decided to unveiled the WORST LOGO EVER as a way to completely represent the university and the Las Vegas area. Thankfully, it was announced on New Years Eve that UNLV will be walking away (slowly, cautiously) from the abomination of the most confusing logo ever.
Now, I don’t want to get too deep into the difficulties around the interpretation of Hey Reb! as an image of southern rebellion. Which, lets be honest, he is, not as much as Beauregard the wolf, or Johnny Rebel. The lineage is there and I’m going to leave it at that. The university was, as far as I can tell, trying to work around that difficulty as well. Hence they raised private funding to hire a group that would design a hot mess of a logo that required a guidebook to illuminate and explain all the constituent elements. The Sam Elliot, meets terminator, with a bit of an artistic lift from old The Las Vegas Wranglers hockey team logo, Hey Reb!
Well, UNLV has decided that enough of that horrid logo is enough. They are not generating new licenses for the logo and word mark. Instead they will phase out the new logo and word mark and continue to use the classic, and in my humble opinion, perfect, Curved Spirit Logo.
As mentioned in the LVRJ, the university will be looking at doing something new for the logo in 2020 to coincide leaving Sam Boyd Stadium and moving into the new Raider Stadium. I hope that whatever it is they learn something from this attempt and they continue to listen to the students, alumnus, supporters, and community that do care and support UNLV.
A short while after I wrote and posted, I started thinking about how the ugly logo was trying to convey a lot of different meanings into a single image. The logo was trying to assign to us the meaning. While it was thoughtful to the area with the inclusion of the sign and star and the abstract mountains and such. I think it really was trying too hard. A good logo should allow us to assign meaning to it. Meaning, when someone sees the Curved Spirit Logo they can intemperate the logo as either: the logo for an R1 research university, the 1990’s NCAA Championship Basketball team, or the pejorative backronym U-Never-Leave-Vegas. I think that’s another reason why people had such a negative reaction to the revamped logo.