New ACC Logo: A Symbol of Incompetence

Cates airs some grievances about the home of Virginia Tech athletics.

When the idea for this piece struck me a few weeks back, word had just filtered out of a new ACC branding effort being leaked online. I wasn't yet sure how to frame my frustration with both the awful logo or the conference as a whole. Now that the logo is official, it occurred to me that I was planning on an airing of grievances that would make Frank Costanza proud. So sit tight ACC higher ups, I've got a lot of problems with you people! Now, you're going to hear about it.

When I picture ACC meetings I visualize a group of aging, out-of-touch men gathered around a table in a conference room in some southern resort, which is not difficult, because that is exactly what it is. I imagine the old guard sitting there chomping on unlit cigars just to get the flavor of Tobacco Road in their taste buds. Meanwhile, the newer "Yankee" athletic directors from Syracuse and Boston College play along, all the while making "yuck" faces at one another like children struggling to eat their nightly ration of vegetables.

After some idle chit-chat, ACC Commissioner John Swofford brings the meeting to order

"Gentlemen, we need a new logo. Something 'modern' and 'edgy' that the kids will enjoy. All in favor?"

Affirmative nods ripple all around the table.

"Great. We'll put someone on it. Let's break for lunch."  (The sound of ice cubes rattling around in heavy, empty tumblers as this "esteemed" group of movers and shakers waits for a refill (again, remember it's just about time for lunch) reverberates off the fine mahogany that adorns the boardroom)

While it's possible the task was tossed on the desk of the conference's summer interns, it's more likely that they outsourced the project and wasted hundreds of thousands, if not more than a million dollars with some design firm that made a new logo that's significantly inferior to the old one.

"The new, contemporary look modernizes and energizes the ACC mark, and, at the same time, still reflects the league’s history and rich tradition," John Swofford said in the ACC's press release on the matter.

That's a genuine quote unlike the ones I mockingly fabricated above. I thought up the snarky 'modern' and 'edgy' joke weeks ago, and sure enough that's actually their rationale.

The press release goes on to elaborate on what the logo means.

"Set in a custom-designed font created specifically for the league..." A font that as many people have pointed out already is a dead-ringer for the Big East conference font.


"...the logo leans forward toward the conference’s ever-present goal of excellence." You mean... just like the old logo?

"The lettering is accentuated by a bold, silver underline that symbolizes the ACC’s journey toward a bright future." Oh, so that's why there's an underline. I guess they had to do something that was noticeably different.

Now, for some reason this update is so new and fresh that the conference felt the need to include a 63-page handbook in the press release outlining how to use the logo. There's a section instructing folks to NEVER add a drop outline stroke or drop shadow. That's probably because both look better than the actual logo. They also refer to Tech's color as burgundy instead of (chicago) maroon, but there were bound to be mistakes in 63 pages.

All that attention to detail yet the old logo is still on the current website. Oh, and the short little video clip showing the logo didn't go live with the announcement.


The Internet has certainly had it's fair share of fun already. Here are some highlights.



And then there's the ten slogans that the folks over at Sports Pickle whipped up.

As the title of this rant indicates, I view the logo and the entire rollout as a symbol of the ACC's general incompetence.

When the logo was announced weeks ago at the ACC meetings, they posted it with signs that asked politely that people please not share the logo until the official announcement. That was in 2014 when almost everyone has a smartphone.

One could argue it was some bizarre reverse psychology marketing campaign, but I think it unlikely given the way this group operates.

Any major conference worth it's weight in television revenue has it's own TV network. The Pac-12, SEC, Big Ten, heck even the University of Texas has its own network yet the ACC is still working on it.

The ACC "Network" is just a name for a loose band of local affiliates that broadcast games in regular definition equal to the clarity of a shoddy Internet stream. Any Saturday night in the fall I can dial up a live game in Oregon that has the clarity of the Hope diamond while the ACC games are like watching TV through a foggy shower door.

And that's just the media side of things.

When Notre Dame joined as a member, they were allowed to dictate the terms of the football arrangement so that they were a member in name only. They only have to play five games a season against a rotating list of opponents, but of course if they qualify they can snag one of the conference's bowl bids.

What group of people think these are good ideas? Is the ACC really so desperate and ineffectively run that they would stoop to such questionable arrangements?

Just look at the logo.

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