About a month ago I was approached by a good friend of mine, Tom Fairbairn. His request was seemingly impossible or at least, very difficult. His idea was riddled with difficult illustration problems. I figured that must be where exceptional work starts. With a difficult problem. It was worth a shot at least.
UND is looking for a new Icon and mascot, as part of the Native American culture is displeased with the current. Wanting to appease to both sides Tom would like to switch the name from SIOUX to TSUNAMI in hopes to honor the school’s history. While also changing it to appease those upset.
TSUNAMI: Tsunami is an unstoppable force of power. Seeing as we are a land locked state, Water just would not do. We needed to portray a wheat tsunami to portray our own culture. But the big problem I was facing was how to make wheat look aggressive while at the same time curled as a tsunami. I also didn't want this to look like a wheat monster. that just seemed lame.
MY THOUGHT PROCESS
I started out looking to make a wave of wheat look aggressive. The hardest part about a wheat wave is it looks as if it is weak and blown by the wind. I spent some time sketching. This lead me to the realization that this direction will be very difficult to be accepted as a mascot... Not undoable but very difficult.
I tried making it look thicker and more bulky. I tried making it sturdier in many different ways. I resorted to going back to research.
I think I stumbled on the idea of Poseidon (Greek God of the Sea) at first. I thought Tsunami is perfect for Poseidon. Then I took it a bit further. I looked up Demeter (Goddess of Harvest) and thought for sure I found the perfect Direction for the project. If Poseidon makes Tsunamies in the great Seas Surely Demeter could make a Tsunami of wheat! I sketched her many times trying to get her to look aggressive. With out war attire she looked too passive.
So I researched again and found Sif (Norse god of harvest and the earth.) According to my research, Sif, along with many other Norse gods and goddesses took part in battle, so she was able to look a bit more aggressive. Also, due to our heritage, Norse mythology fits North Dakota much better then Greek.
If we were going to honor the SIOUX, there is no other way to make
a mascot then to stay close to the style of the previous logo
revealed in 1999. The SIOUX logo, designed by Bennett Brien,
was easily one of my favorite logos in sports. The image was
very strong and full of purpose. The lines were simple and effective.
Something I think needed to change was the direction the logo faced. Though this logo works well in a “vs” image. I felt the logo should be facing forward, not backward. Those in college, are working toward their future, and the mascot, should be pointing the way.
With that big change I tried to stay close to the original style while also making the image more simple and refined. I ended up with the image below. she is astonishing (My words).
I wanted to make the wheat look like a TSUNAMI. Doing so was a bit of a challenge as wheat seems to look weak if bowed. I simplified the wheat and bulked it up a bit. I also made sharp edges on the wheat, all pointing the same way, to show the focused and aggressive side of the Teams. I tried many different renditions of the wheat yet this one is the best.
This is another very important detail. As said previously a big reason I chose Sif, as the Head figure of the icon, is the fact that her hair was replaced by wheat. For this I kept it simple while still communicating the wheat.
I kept consistent with the angle throughout the logo to create a polished look.
This is my big selling point! I wasn’t really thinking about this while I made it but while looking into rivals and other sports teams, I have found no females in the current roster of college sports logos. I haven’t looked too long but if anything they are rare. I think we need a woman mascot in sports. why not?
This logo will promote equality, among its many other meanings. Sif is imaged with very strong features. She is a strong woman who fights her own battles, and according to UND’s track record she will fight them well.
In the end this logo accomplishes the answer to many design problems. We need to honor the past of our great school while also tieing it all back to the community. We think this image will serve as a great replacement for the SIOUX, for our great school of UND.