The Athletic Department wanted campus to know “A new fire is burning” during the new Prairie Fire logo unveiling this past Saturday.
When Knox made its transition from Siwash to Prairie Fire in 1993, the logo, like the decision, was made in-house and without outside influence or help. The words “plain” and “outdated” have been thrown around as attention has been drawn to the old logo in anticipation of the new one.
After 23 years with the old logo, some may wonder; why now? It is no secret that Knox Athletics are on an uphill trend with Men’s and Women’s Soccer competing in conference tournaments, Cross Country and Volleyball’s spike in conference rankings and an increase in new, talented coaching staff. The Athletics department wanted a more up-to-date logo that resembled this new era for Knox Athletics.
“We ended up developing the K with the flame, which was great,” Athletic Director Chad Eisele said. “But when our coaches are out there recruiting in California and Colorado and wherever, people don’t know what the K and the flame are. We felt we needed to have something we could show that was Knox and had Prairie Fire on it.”
After reaching out to various companies to design the logo itself, Knox came to an agreement with SME Branding, a well-established corporation who has designed logos for the National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, New York Yankees and many more.
A long process was implemented in which members of admissions, staff, coaches, students and athletes were asked for input and opinions on various prototypes while on conference call with SME Branding.
With the process taking place over winter break, only the winter athletes were able to weigh in. Five to six members of each team were asked their opinion of the main two prototypes and their variations.
“One of the main things they really wanted that they kept asking us was what is Prairie Fire? What does it symbolize? What do you think of when you hear Prairie Fire?” Sophomore Men’s basketball forward Caylab Herrera said. “They really wanted to capture that in the logo, rather than the old one, they really wanted you to think ‘Prairie Fire’ when you saw it.”
The general logo design was well received by the majority with little dispute, the only disagreement arising with the details in the general design.
“Some of the flame designs we felt were almost like ocean waves,” Eisele said. “Some of them looked like hair. It’s amazing the amount of time we spent on the flame.”
While collaborating with SME Branding, athletes like Herrera felt they understood critiques and concerns about certain details and were receptive to change.
The unveiling took place during halftime of the Women’s Basketball game against Lake Forest College. President Teresa Amott and Eisele spoke to the crowd of their excitement and reasoning behind the change in logo.
“We’re here to celebrate the commitment and the fire of today’s Knox College athletes and their coaches,” Amott said.
“Now, you may think a logo is not that big of a deal, but it really is. A logo must reflect the pride and passion that our players and coaches show each and every time they compete. An athletic logo does not just represent athletes, it represents everyone at Knox, it’s one of our most visible symbols, not only on campus, but it is worn on T-shirts and hats across the country and around the world,” Eisele added.
Following the video unveil of the new logo, students voiced their approval, agreeing with the step forward.
Eisele also revealed that the first meeting in deciding a mascot would be held the following week. With news of an official mascot coming fall of 2016, Eisele admitted that changing the logo was incentive to begin planning for a mascot. He stressed that the mascot would be better incorporated into the campus and community as more of a general symbol of Knox College, while the logo is more for athletics.
While Knox waits for the reveal of a mascot, the new logo will slowly replace the old logo. Minor changes such as banners and clocks will be made within weeks, while larger projects such as murals and court decals may not see change for a couple years being updated only when general wear and tear requires it. The turf in the Knosher Bowl will not be replaced until the entire field is in need of replacement, possibly ten years from now.
As the new logo is integrated and showcased, athletes hope for more recognition, support and pride among campus and recruits as they strive for a new era in Knox Athletics.
“Since we’re trying to take a step in the right direction with athletics,” Herrera said, “I feel like more and more people will hear about Knox and will want to come out and support us.”