Fighting Illini Unveils New Uniforms to Attract Potential Student AthletesBy Staff Reporter
University of Illinois and Nike unveiled Wednesday, new uniforms for the Big 10 School's 19 intercollegiate sports teams in an attempt to give a new brand identity and visual direction to the team's sporting wear.
The current project is aimed to attain color, design and font consistency in all athletic teams. The rebranding effort will be initially applied to football and basketball programs for the 2014-15 season and will slowly expand to all sports in the upcoming seasons.
Besides the all-white, all-orange and all-blue football uniforms, the helmets displayed a revised version of the school's long-time Block-I logo.
Along with the current scheme of navy and orange (the primary palette) that was first introduced Nov. 6, 1894; a secondary palette of white, dark steel gray and metallic silver has also been introduced to offer overall intensity and flexibility to the brand.
In a statement, Athletic Director Mike Thomas said that the University authorities were satisfied with the results. Nike staff interacted with student-athletes and coaches to understand the mindset of young men and women looking to attend Fighting Illini.
"Nike has a pulse on what today's 17-year-olds are looking for," Thomas said, Miami Herald reports.
The slanted letter forms are inspired by the speed and elusive lateral movements of Red Grange, one of the most prominent athletes in Illinois Athletics history. Incorporation of both primary colors in letters is unique in the world of intercollegiate athletics. The split color design is synonymous with the duality concept in the school's motto, "Learning and Labor, and represents the state of Illinois as a crossroads between East and West."
Campus community feels that the school's rebranding effort will re-energize fan base and might also provide national identity to the teams, similar to that enjoyed by other top-tier schools like Oregon.
"Oregon is good, but their uniforms allow them to be cool," Running back Donovonn Young said.
This is the latest rebranding effort by Nike for its partner universities.
In partnership with Nike, Florida State University recently revealed a new logo and uniforms for the school's intercollegiate sports teams, Friday. FSU athletics officials approached Nike to achieve consistency across all athletic programs while preserving the integrity of the university and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.