Established in 1999, the Mountain West Conference is the youngest conference in the NCAA Division I — compare that to those of previous reviews here, the Big 10 (1896) and the Pac10 (1959) — and its original members were the Air Force, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV, and Wyoming. Texas Christian University joined in 2005 and in the next two years BYU and UNLV will leave while Boise State, Fresno State, University of Nevada, and University of Hawaii will join. With so many changes the conference considered this a good time to introduce a new logo, designed by San Diego-based Savacool Secviar who were brought into the project by Loma Media, also from San Diego.
“This initiative is emblematic of the evolution of our league,” Thompson stated. “The overwhelming majority of the people we spoke to said the Mountain West is bold, feisty and highly competitive, and we strongly believe these qualities are reflected in our new brand identity and our new logo.”
The unique logo itself is a strong symbol of a league on the rise, invoking comparisons to stately campus buildings and the Rock of Gibraltar. It is unlike any other conference mark. Reflecting the expanded membership from the mountains to the ocean and addressing the previous prevalence of mountain imagery and word marks, the letters representing ‘Mountain’ and ‘West’ are given equal weight and dimension.
— Press Release
The old logo was quite terrible with its oddly stretched typography, Copperplate Gothicness, extreme stroke-ing, bad shadowing, and poor color palette. Unfortunately, the new logo does not improve on many of those traits — it actually introduces many new grievances. The idea of mirroring the “M” and “W” is a fairly basic concept (and a popular one around here lately, see McCann Worldgroup) that has the potential for interesting things but none of that potential can be found here. The shape of the characters is clunky and very strangely proportioned, the counterspaces are too jarring, and the three-dimensionality is the stuff that first-round design explorations are made of. The logo is not aided at all by the unfortunate color palette which just makes everything look drab. The whole thing just looks like a White Castle logo that was left in a Ziploc bag in the fridge for far too long. There was a good idea in there somewhere and the nickname of “The Rock” should have yielded something more menacing or exciting, but the conference and its teams got neither.