Posted on 29 November 2012.
If there’s a model to follow in branding a collegiate football program — a gold standard, if you will — chances are most people would look to the Oregon Ducks.
At least, that’s what Carleton has done.
Downstream, the Oregon-based design firm responsible for the Ducks’ state-of-the-art locker room, is now working with Carleton’s athletics department in branding the reborn Ravens football program.
“It’s very exciting,” said Jennifer Brenning, Carleton’s director of athletics. “Obviously, this is a program that’s coming anew. So we wanted something fresh, contemporary, and innovative and something that would resonate with students.”
A suggestion from John Ruddy, president of Old Crows Football Inc., led to the hiring of the company, Brenning said.
Ruddy, a member of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, found Downstream in his search for a design company for Ottawa’s incoming CFL franchise.
“He was very impressed,” Brenning said. “And he thought they would be able to help the Carleton Ravens.”
Specifically, Downstream will be designing Carleton’s new football uniforms and locker room. Downstream did not design Oregon’s jerseys, but the company worked closely with those at Nike who did.
A final uniform design has yet to be chosen, but Brenning said there’s a mock-up “we really like.” A potential design being used in recruiting material shows four different primary colour options: black, grey, red, and white.
“The colours certainly were important,” said Todd Spear, Downstream’s director of strategic accounts. “But there’s also a little bit of storytelling in there, through the nest you see coming down the sides of them – not unlike what Nike has done through some of their platforms.”
Initially, two of the four colour schemes will be selected as the Ravens’ home and away uniforms. The new jerseys will also come with a new Ravens logo, which is in the process of being registered, Brenning said.
Before it could design a new logo, Spear said Downstream had to understand what it meant to be a “Raven.”
“They’re smart, they’re bold, they’re determined, they’re competitors, and they rely on teamwork if you look at how they pattern together when they fly around,” he said. “We’ve taken that and really evolved that identity into something that I think is going to be pretty cool.”
Along with the logo and uniforms, Downstream is working remotely with the architect and construction staff at Carleton to design the new football locker room.
One of the company’s most renowned projects is the football locker room at the University of Oregon. At first glance, the two-storey facility looks like a five-star resort. It features a de facto theatre, ventilation, and Internet access in each locker, simulated sunlight, and a large automatic door, among other luxuries.
Spear said Carleton’s new locker room won’t be “over the top” from a technology standpoint, but it will include monitors and a “smartboard” the coaches can use to draw up plays. The company is also in the process of a designing a 3D graphic that would hang six to seven inches from the ceiling.
“Right when you walk in, it will be noticeable,” Spear said. “The players will take a lot of pride in it. We’re not trying to clutter the space. We want make sure it’s a nice destination for those student athletes to go not only on gameday, but use as a lounge on non gamedays too.”
Construction of the locker room is expected to finish in May 2013.
Brenning said the athletics department is putting together a “rollout plan” for the new football designs, as well as a timeline that outlines when the school’s other varsity programs may get a new look.
The football designs are expected to cost between $30,000 and $40,000, according to Brenning. These expenses will fall under the Ravens’ football operating budget, which is funded entirely by the Old Crows.
For Ravens head coach Steve Sumarah, it was well worth it.
“What they’ve done, to be blunt, is incredible,” he said. “They took some of the things we presented them and just ran with it.”