What went wrong with the Sparty logo?

Michigan State University was looking at alternative logos but when the new design was leaked to the public, reaction was overwhelmingly negative. Even without the added hindrance of nostalgia, the suggested logo wasn’t a great design.

Note: my suggestion here is wildly unfair — I have no idea what constraints the designers had, what discussions with MSU had taken place, or how they approached it. I get to come at it with a clean slate which does not happen in real life redesigns.

The problem with the proposed version is that it adds detail in the mask area and takes away detail from the part above the helmet. This adds weight to the top, making it look like it will topple.

My suggestion is to simplify the new design and add back the airiness of the top piece.

  1. this area is a separation between helmet and feathers. it isn’t heavy. by making this skinnier and breaking it into pieces the visual weight is lessened; it also resembles the old version more but is simplified, making reproduction easier.
  2. the top detail is simplified more like a real helmet.
  3. the eyes should be more open;  they look more menacing on an angle but in reality would be hard to see out of.
  4. simplified and removed the foot, which added unnecessary detail and is confusing.
  5. the curve of the feathered area should be graceful and light; making this thinner and adjusting the curve does this.

I’m not a sports fan but the redesign timing coincided with some thinking I’d been doing on logos and details. Every detail counts, and the fewer the better.