The Southwestern Pirates represent Southwestern University’s Division III athletics programs. SU is the first university in the state of Texas, so there’s a lot of history to draw upon when it comes to athletics and its overall brand. However, the logos the school had been using didn’t inspire any pride or spirit, neither with student-athletes or supporters of the teams. Pirate imagery had all but been eliminated from the visual lineup. Previous attempts at “rebrands” left a hodgepodge of confusing and dated marks floating around in the ether. A sense of authenticity and brand investment seemed to be lacking, and people could tell. A logo redesign was a good place to start, and it was necessary.
As someone with a passion for sports design and branding, this is a project that had been on my tracks ever since I stepped foot on the campus. When our department was approached by a student-athlete for help on a grad school application and it involved an athletics logo redesign, I was all-in. We started from the ground floor, digging into what was unique about Southwestern and being a pirate. Key elements pay homage to the school, but the marks also scale well in a variety of mediums. It’s no longer a question of whether or not Southwestern is the home of the Pirates. The end result was pitched and approved in 2021, and is making us proud as it grows up and finds its place in the world. We wound up with a solution that is modern and intimidating, crafted with care and heritage in mind, and will be a strong asset to the overall Southwestern Pirates brand for years to come.