Cal Updates Identity, Adds New Bear Logo

Written By:  •  Wednesday, April 10, 2013

While the “Cal” script isn’t going anywhere, the University of California unveiled a tweak to its athletic department identity that includes a fresh bear logo and a new third color: gray.

The new bear also gets some fun placement as a silhouette-styled graphic on the football jersey sleeve and as a full-color patch on the football pants.

In an athletic department brand update, Cal will offer consistency in its blue and gold use across all teams and a custom-produced font for the “California” and “Golden Bears” wordmarks will span multiple sports. But the script Cal will continue to serve as the primary logo for everyone.

Based on the set of football uniforms released with the update, expect to see plenty of blue and gold from Cal. The gray, designed to help “accent Cal’s traditional shades,” doesn’t play a prominent role.

The two-year redesign process, in conjunction with Nike designers, led to the unified identity. “Our script logo is recognized around the world by alumni and fans, so we felt it was important to maintain the equity it has built,” says Cal Athletic Director Sandy Barbour in a statement. “We have worked to embrace the aspects of our visual brand that are firmly entrenched in our department’s culture, while coming up with new marks in areas where we haven’t been as consistent or developed a strong brand presence.”

The actual bear logo serves as a prime example. Over the years, new varieties of shapes and sizes emerged. The updating now includes a single bear, reflecting the look Cal adopted over 100 years ago.

Both the blue and the yellow football jerseys shown feature blue sleeves, allowing an outline of the new bear logo to appear in black.

Photos also show a matte black helmet with the script lettering and pant options in blue, yellow and white. The healthy dose of piping used in past Cal looks may have gotten moved around in the update, but sticks pretty close to the theme the Golden Bears have adopted in the past.

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Tim Newcomb

Tim Newcomb is a journalist based in the Pacific Northwest covering news, culture, sports design and entertainment. He has written on uniforms and sports logos for TIME Magazine, Sports Illustrated and more. You can follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb. Visit his website here.

  • ingmar66

    Nice uniforms, for a change. And quite a good bear to go with it. But matte helmets…they are the 2013 version of the shoulder pads in woman’s fashion of the 1980’s: utterly horrible!

    • alexjaxon

      Completly agree about the helmets they dont even look Like cal Blue which really irks me leave it to nike to mess stuff up

  • Christian

    I love the bear on the sleeve of the jerseys. Really cool idea!

  • Two year design process? And this is what Nike comes up with? I mean the Bears head and the body are disjointed and the new unis are simple average.

  • Damon

    Love the basketball jersey and overall look of the new logo, especially the bear within the numbers of the football jersey. Only thing that I don’t agree with is the black bear on the shoulder pad of the navy jersey…feels smushed in that tiny space and I’d rather see the patch there or the two-toned bear on a smaller scale.

  • Justin P. Hebert

    Again Nike ruins another jersey …

  • Great. Except they look exactly like West Virginia.

  • A bear there was, a bear a bear, all black and brown, and covered with hair…

  • 🙁

  • its definitely nothing special…I would have preferred they leave the old ones be.

  • I really dig that bear logo.

  • Nathaniel Melvin

    The presentation for the unveiling was absolutely awful!

  • Jim Pericotti

    In some of the Nike pictures, it looks like the Bear logo is screened into the football numbers as well.

    • Stephen Peters

      You’re absolutely right. You can definitely see it in the blue numbers.

  • agege

    When I saw the bear, I thought of the 1992-1998 Chicago Bears logo.

  • Tim Malone

    Why is the bear yawning?

    • Jacob Hoyer

      He’s “tired” of Cal being mediocre in football (as am I).

    • MGW

      A yawning bear with a lazy walk…very intimidating.

  • These are pretty sweet! I love that the bear logo is not just a head, but the body too.

  • Doug

    The bear looks like a slight ripoff of the Missouri State Bear. I’m already tired of the flat black helmets.

  • Delayed Penalty

    The bear looks very familiar. My first instinct was CJ Zilligen’s work:

  • mahlon

    i think they are simply average, the bear could have been better, but it doesn’t look like it’s that much of an updated style from what they had – i don’t mind the matte helmets, on some schools, i don’t think it’s over-used……YET.
    remember though, these are not that bad, compared to what trends are happening in college sports……for whatever reason, UGLY is the new “cool”, …..i give you the shorts of the 8 basketball schools who used them in their conference tourneys and even in march madness, including Louisville, Notre Dame, Kansas, etc.
    how can “ugly” be cool, i just don’t get it

  • rafterman

    this is an improvement over the ones with claw marks all over it

  • Rob S.

    The Basketball jersey looks somewhat ok, but the football jersey doesn’t. I can’t say that it is a downgrade because their previous jersey also sucks.So it is just another lousy Nike jersey.The pants are real bad.Compare Cal to the classy jerseys that Stanford,UCLA and USC have.Glad I am not a Cal fan

  • midget00

    Just a disappointment. The old ones were much better. these just look like west virginia. and are those matte grey helmets?

  • Great…let’s look like Oregon! This sucks!

  • Brian Castner

    The collars are a bit weird for the football and this matte helmet trend still sucks but overall it’s looks at least slightly better here. I’ll wait to see them in action.

  • Hasheem

    finally a nice use of that ridiculously big collar

  • CT

    It looks like the Memphis Grizzlies