The Sun Belt Conference officially unveiled its new logo and wordmark on Thursday morning, bringing to end a rebranding project that began in earnest last summer.
The logo and wordmark were created by Brian Gundell of Brian Gundell Graphic Design Co., whose past clients include the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Dolphins, Miami Marlins, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants and numerous NCAA teams, including the Washington Huskies football program.
“This was a little bit different in that most of my work has been at the team level, or when I work with leagues, there’s a much more centralized theme. This is so much more general of a goal from a creative standpoint,” Gundell told SportsLogos.net. “Normally, I do these really big deep-dive historical research components throughout the process, and that was really not a factor in all of this.
“We wanted to devise a super simple concept that would really work well and embody the conference itself rather than having all these cool wink-and-nod references, as I like to call them.”
The Sun Belt’s previous logo, on the other hand, included several distinct triangles that represented the conference’s 12 member institutions and combined to make a stylistic sun. There was also a contrasting band across the middle that dually symbolized the Sun Belt region and mimicked the sun rising over the horizon.
“We just wanted to find something that builds a better and bigger impression,” Sun Belt Conference commissioner Keith Gill told SportsLogos.net when asked why the conference wanted to move away from the logo introduced just seven years ago. “One of the things about our last logo, it’s really beautiful and it’s really elegant, but the disc kind of controls about 60 percent of the space relative to the name. We wanted to make sure the full logo was communicating who we are because the disc standing on its own, people didn’t really associate that with us.”
Meanwhile, the conference’s new branding features a custom typeface and a sun rising over the horizon in the letter “B” — no matter if it’s the SBC logo or the Sun Belt wordmark.
“In looking around the landscape of college conferences, we wanted to put the emphasis on the typography, and having the sun interplay with that as really an important component,” Gundell said. “If you look at the break in the colors, that’s a horizon line to represent the balance of the conference, so that’s a literal play of the name with the belt. It almost designed itself.”
The conference plans to use the SBC mark as a patch on uniforms, as well on fields and courts, but it’s worth noting neither that nor the wordmark should be considered the primary representation of the Sun Belt Conference.
“The idea was to build a flexible identity system that any logo can be used in any circumstance where needed and where appropriate,” Gundell said. “Obviously, the centerpiece of the brand is the SBC mark with the sun and the belt in it, but really being able use and interchange those marks as needed depending on context, depending on application and all sorts of things like that was really one of the key directives we looked at.”
The Sun Belt Conference was established in 1976. It features 12 colleges across seven states, including Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Arkansas-Little Rock, Louisiana, Louisiana-Monroe, South Alabama, Texas State, Texas Arlington and Troy, as well as affiliate members Central Arkansas and Howard.
It’s worth noting the Sun Belt’s primary color palette is navy blue and gold, but the new logo and wordmark can also be applied in any of the aforementioned schools’ colors.
Photos via the Sun Belt Conference.