Out with the Old, In with the New
Cheers resounded about Willett Hall as a new logo for the Longwood Lancers was unveiled during the Longwood vs. JMU men’s basketball game on campus on February 18. The new image may have added a little logo-mojo to the game as the Lancers went on to win the contest 77-73 in what head coach Mike Gillian called one of Longwood’s greatest wins.
The need for a new logo for the Longwood Lancers was driven by several important factors. As Longwood University moves toward the final year of its reclassification to NCAA Division I, it is critical that a new logo project a positive image with a flexible concept that is adaptable to both print and electronic media formats. Positioning of Longwood’s athletic teams is a critical element in a new integrated marketing plan developed by Longwood’s marketing partner, Carter Ryley Thomas/Tanaka Public Relations and Marketing Counsel in Richmond.
Research conducted by CRT/tanaka over the summer indicated that the then existing logo, depicting a knight in armor riding a horse with the legend “Lancers” was neither popular nor effective. More important, the logo was not even historically accurate. Further research indicated that the Longwood Lancers’ mascot, “Lance,” was not well accepted by students, faculty, or staff.
The research revealed also that Longwood’s existing depiction of a medieval “jousting” knight in armor was not historically accurate. The designation of “Lancers” is more accurately linked to the British cavalry of the 18th and 19th centuries, i.e., the Queen’s Own Lancers, a regiment that continues today with tanks taking the place of horses.
The new logo for the Longwood Lancers was created by Longwood graphic design students in collaboration with the design team of CRT/tanaka Public Relations and Marketing Counsel in Richmond. The team effort began during the fall semester when Chris Register, associate professor of art and chair of the art department, selected three teams of students from his graphic design classes and assigned them the creative challenge of developing a new team logo for the Lancers.
The student creative team included Rachel Battleson, Jacob Krekorkian, Thomas Santerre, Emily Wilson, Tim Owens, Crista Haebler, Leslie Quenneville, Michael Maslaney and Brooke Hill. Before starting work, the students were given a brief historical perspective on the Longwood Lancers and the symbolism of Lancers. Over the fall semester, Al Davis, CRT’s vice president for creative services, met with the student teams and helped them narrow down the initial 20 logo concepts to three finalists.
The final design selected for submission to the athletics staff and Dr. Patricia Cormier features the words “Longwood University Lancers” along with the profile of a horse and a lance with pennant unfurling over the horse’s mane.
The new logo meets the challenge that faced the design team: it is simple, yet forceful. The horse profile conveys both action and forward movement with a hint of aggression. The typography for Longwood University Lancers complements the overall design. The logo will also meet all promotional criteria and will be easily reproducible in a variety of merchandising formats: silk screening, embroidery, transfers, etc.
The new logo is more symbolic than Lancer logos of the past that included a rider on the horse. As the concept evolved,
Additionally, there are many logical reasons for using a horse: First, the Longwood Lancers logo has always used a horse in some form; the new logo is a tribute to that legacy; second, a horse is symbolic of the history and traditions of the Commonwealth of Virginia; third, Longwood has an equestrian club for students; and finally, the horse is a subtle allusion to our patron saint, Joan of Arc, whose equestrian statue is a revered icon of Longwood’s heritage.
Longwood University prides itself on preparing students for the real world of work. In fact, Longwood is one of the few universities nationwide to require some form of experiential learning of all students before graduation.
The development of the new Lancer logo is a perfect example of how Longwood students learn by doing ... how “hands-on” experience can give them a leg up in the job market. As Professor Chris Register stated recently, “These students researched, sketched, discussed and produced dozens of thumbnail sketches, which were refined and reworked. Their professionalism was extraordinary, and they maintained a high level of enthusiasm throughout the process. I couldn’t be prouder of them for their flexibility, professionalism and dedication to a project, which is one of the most difficult in graphic design.