University spirit logo changes to refresh image following trademark issues with Detroit Tigers

Trinity University released the new spirit logo for varsity athletics on Friday, Oct. 24, which will replace the former Trinity spirit logo.

Trinity could not trademark the old logo due to similarities between it and the logo of the Detroit Tigers.

“In 1913, Trinity University hosted the Detroit Tigers summer baseball camp. That is where the name ‘Tigers’ for Trinity came from,” said Charles White, vice president for information resources, marketing and communications.

Later, when Trinity tried to trademark the spirit logo, the Detroit Tigers objected, saying it looked strikingly similar to their own spirit logo.

“The tiger is in a kind of downward, slinking stance and it is weaving its way through the letters, and the Detroit Tiger is doing a very similar pose,” said Jeanna Goodrich Balreira, associate director for creative services.

“The interesting part of it is we never told them or reminded them that they had summer camp in 1913, assuming no one would be alive who would possibly remember that. So we continued to seek the trademark and deal with their objections,” White said.

However, about four years ago, someone created a Twitter account using the Trinity spirit logo.

“We objected to the person using our logo because what they were doing was bashing Trinity. They had some issue with Trinity and they were angry about something. They kept making these crazy allegations and we wanted them to stop,” White said.

But when the university tried to stop the person from using the logo, they found that it was not trademarked, and they could not legally stop anyone from using it.

“That is when we first realized we didn’t have a trademark, and we decided that we needed something that we could trademark,” White said.

“Besides the fact that we could not get it trademarked, it is just a little bit outdated and way too complicated of a logo to serve simple, modern purposes that logos and graphics are serving nowadays,” Balreira said.

“We wanted to make it modern and simple and give it more of a fierceness and competitive spirit that we could use across all platforms.”

The new logo can easily be formatted to suit all organizations that utilize the logo. For example, each athletic team will be able to put the name of their sport under Trinity in the logo, according to Michelle Bartonico, associate director for marketing communications.

The old logo uses “TU” although the university is never officially referred to as such.

“Trinity is not really known as ‘TU’ to a lot of our athletic competitors and a lot of our division associates, so we were able to instead move away from ‘TU’ and go back to ‘Trinity,’” Balreira said.

“The logo will not ever be just the head and ‘TU’ because it does not say enough about us. It will always be the head and ‘Trinity’ or the head and ‘Trinity baseball’ or whichever sport,” Bartonico said.

The old logo also had an orange tiger, despite the fact that none of the school colors are orange. The new logo is maroon, white and gray, “so it is very Trinity-esque,” Bartonico said.

The new spirit logo is not solely for athletic purposes.

“It is designed to show general school spirit and not just be a representation of our varsity sports, but be applicable in any kind of competitive or spirited nature, whether it’s at a varsity sporting event or at a theater event, or debate, or any other activities on campus where we can show school spirit,” Balreira said.

Although the new spirit logo has been released, there is no set deadline for when everything must reflect the new logo.

“There will be a progressive rollout and it will take us maybe through the year to get the new logo everywhere,” White said.

“When things need to be reprinted, rebranded, redone, we will ask that they forgo the use of the old logo and that they use the new spirit logo in its place,” Balreira said.

There are some very large elements that need to be considered, such as the gym floor.

“We are not ready to sand the gym floor yet, which has the old logo on it,” White said. “But I am hoping that it will happen this summer.”

There is a set of guidelines to follow when an organization uses the new spirit logo that can be found on insidetrinity.edu so that the logo is used “effectively, with the brand in mind, representing Trinity in the best possible light,” Balreira said.