Saluki Athletics unveils new logo, athletics branding projects


Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz

Grey Dawg and Brown Dawg unveil SIU Athletics' new logo on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, during the logo-reveal ceremony at SIU Arena in Carbondale, Illinois.

By Brian Munoz, Editor in Chief

Saluki Athletics unveiled a new logo Thursday, replacing their existing mark, which had represented the intercollegiate athletics brand since 2001.

The new logo features “Southern Illinois Salukis” in a sans-serif block font with angular motifs in the type, as well as an updated maroon and white rendition of the Saluki head.

“The Saluki is unique throughout collegiate athletics,” Jerry Kill, SIU Director of Athletics said. “Our goal with the new logo was to retain the original look and feel of the Saluki, while giving it a sleek, modern feel. The new logo is symbolic of the progress we intend to make.”

Inspiration for the logo came largely from the community support and fierceness of the Kansas State “Powercat” logo, according to Kill.

The logo is going to be a unifying look for Southern’s 17 intercollegiate athletic teams, Kill said in a video shared on social media platforms earlier this month.

“When I came back to SIU about a year ago, I noticed each team was using a different logo,” Kill said. “I made it one of my top priorities to bring back a sense of unity within Saluki Athletics and having the same look will achieve that goal.”

The logo redesign was done as part of Southern’s partnership with IMG College Licensing and was completed by graphic-design and marketing firm Torch Creative, according to Tom Weber, SIU Athletics spokesman.

Torch Creative was chosen based on the firm’s history of developing unique collegiate athletics logo, according to the release. The design firm’s client base ranges from a Michigan State redesign of “Sparty” to various minor league baseball teams.

The firm researched the history of the Salukis and presented ideas and sketches to the University.

University employees and community members provided feedback during the design phase until the final version was approved by Kill and the Chancellor’s office last fall. Discussions on a new logo began under former athletic director Tommy Bell.

Creating the logo

The last revision of the Saluki Athletics’ logo was introduced in 2001.

“It has a dated appearance and had fallen out of favor as the primary athletic mark, having been replaced in most instances by the bullet ‘SIU’ mark,” according to a SIU Athletics press release given Thursday evening. “The new logo is modern and sleek, easy to reproduce digitally and on merchandise.”

The SIU-IMG College Licensing partnership renewal, signed in 2017, included a $12,000 signing bonus for the university to cover costs associated with the logo. $1,450 came out of the athletic department’s pocket for the redesign.

“Saluki Athletics paid Torch Creative $3,450 for the creation of an official SIU Saluki type font,” the release said. “IMG College Licensing paid Torch Creative $10,000 for the design services.”

IMG is the United States’ largest collegiate sports marketing company, representing more than 200 of the nation’s top collegiate properties including the NCAA and its 89 championships and NCAA Football.

The partnership between Saluki Athletics and IMG gives the university 75 percent of the revenue when an item is sold with the official branding and IMG keeps 25 percent.

Weber estimates during the last year, Saluki Athletics made $95,000 from the deal. With the introduction of new branding, university officials expect an increase of anywhere between $9,500 and $28,500, or a 10 to 30 percent increase, to last year’s total. As of Thursday evening, the licensing firm has acquired 75 vendors to sell merchandise with the new branding.

“I think the people that have looked at it are excited about it and we need revenue,” Kill said. “This is another way for us to make some money.”

Replacing the existing branding 

While the logo redesign did not cost the university a large outright expense, there will be “hard costs” associated with the redesign– such as replacing the logo on athletics facilities– but Kill said the unveiling comes at a strategic time.

Branding on uniforms will be updated within their regular replacement cycle and facilities will be updated as regular maintenance is needed, according to the release.

In regards to updating uniforms which may be at the beginning of their usage cycle, Kill said “we’ll just have to see” and athletics will “do the best they can.”

Kill said he expects to have 75 percent of the athletics’ branding replaced by July.

“As far as money, it’s not going to be any different – everybody’s worried about money,” Kill said. “We’re going to generate money or we wouldn’t do it.”

The first two items to be replaced with the new branding include the basketball floor in SIU Arena and the Saluki Stadium turf, according to Kill.

The SIU Board of Trustees approved an allocation of $850,000 to update the Saluki Stadium turf field, which was installed in 2010, and allocated roughly $750,000 for a new digital scoreboard.

Saluki Athletics received a private donation to display updated graphics in SIU Arena and Saluki Stadium, Weber said. Athletics was unable to move forward with the project without revealing the updated logo because of the logo’s incorporation in the graphics project. He said installations are set to happen as soon as April.

“We are excited about the new logo and what it means for the future of the Salukis brand,” said Denise Lamb, Vice President of Partner Services for IMG. “The updated, streamlined approach stays true to the history and tradition of SIU while meeting the increased demand for flexibility across digital and social platform that is needed by top universities.”

Sports editor Adam Warfel contributed to this report and can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @Warfel_Adam.

Editor in Chief Brian Munoz can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at @BrianMMunoz.

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