Opinions on corporate and brand identity work.

A division of UnderConsideration.

Share ›

New Logos for Northern Michigan University by Rickabaugh Graphics



Noted May. 5, 2016 by Armin

Industry / Education Tags /


(Est. 1899) “Northern Michigan University (NMU) is a four-year college public university established in 1899 and located in Marquette, in the Upper Peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan. With enrollment of about 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students, Northern Michigan University is the Upper Peninsula’s largest university. The university is known for its extensive wireless system that covers not only the campus, but the city of Marquette and the surrounding communities and its laptop program that issues laptops to all full-time students and faculty members.” “The Northern Michigan Wildcats are the athletic teams that represent Northern Michigan University, located in Marquette, Michigan, in NCAA intercollegiate sporting competitions. All of the teams compete at the Division II level with the exception of the men’s ice hockey program, which plays at the Division I level.” (Wikipedia)

Design by

Rickabaugh Graphics (Gahanna, OH)

Related links

NMU new identity micro site (plenty of info and background on both academics and athletics logos — a nice presentation, actually)

Relevant quote
Our initial seal in 1899 had a “sun” enclosure with the state logo of Michigan inside. We wanted to reference our history by including a new version of this sun, as it represents our connection to the surrounding nature of the Upper Peninsula of our beautiful state.

NMU new identity micro site

Images (opinion after)
New Logos for Northern Michigan University by Rickabaugh Graphics
Academics logo detail.
New Logos for Northern Michigan University by Rickabaugh Graphics
Athletics logo, before and after.
New Logos for Northern Michigan University by Rickabaugh Graphics
Athletics logos. (Try to ignore the drop shadows.)
New Logos for Northern Michigan University by Rickabaugh Graphics
Uniforms. (Hockey dude is thrilled.)
Process and concept behind logos.

Both of the old logos were 25 years old and unlike other logos of such age, these ones have aged poorly. The old academics logo reflected the location of the school on the shore of Lake Superior but those curves made for choppy water. The new academics logo takes elements from the university's seal to make a more normal university logo with a crowd-pleasing torch and monogram (and compass to boot). It's an okay logo but more importantly, it's not the old logo anymore. The old athletics logo was hilarious, with its feral wildcat crossed with dramatic chipmunk. The new athletics logo is better only by comparison or if you like every sports logo cliché rolled up into one: floating head, angry animal, spiky typography. Even the holding shape for "WILDCATS" has a spike. Nothing about this is original but, like the academics logo, it ticks off every checkbox for a focus-group approved logo. The wildcat drawing is indeed nice, I'll admit. Overall, welcome to the twenty-first century NMU, you'll like it here.

Thanks to Chris Timmerman for the tip.

Your opinion…

On Academics Logo


On Athletics Logo



Share ›

Spotted Around the web

New Logo for Reyn Spooner

New Logo for Reyn Spooner
Spotted Feb. 13, 2019

Pinned Recent, Big Stories

Curated Green with Envy