The logos that UL currently uses need reconsideration.

Recently in the newspapers, an insightful comment was made by a UL official that "Ragin' Cajuns" is recognized all over the country. And it is; it is one of the best nicknames, without a doubt, in the USA. Even international tourists want to buy items with our University's nickname, the very first time they hear it. Ragin' Cajuns is currently the most effective branding asset that UL has, followed closely by the name, "The University of Louisiana."

Unfortunately, from there the official made a logical leap that, since Ragin' Cajuns is so recognizable, all of UL's logos are equally unique and successful.

If only it were that easy.

In the late '90's, after a considerable investment of money with an internationally recognized sports firm, the new UL fleur de lis was introduced, as a part of a series of logos that comprised a flaming wheel, flaming letters, flaming numbers, and a flaming pepper. Those, unfortunately, quickly led to several unflattering jokes involving the word "flaming."

Rude comments aside, people with deep backgrounds in marketing and graphic design, at UL and in town, had serious concerns about the new logos. First, they utilized five colors.  Almost all of the most successful college logos are one-color (or two, counting white:  Clemson, Texas, UNC, Colorado, Iowa, etc.) Most colleges sport two-color logos; only a handful have three.  Even in the NFL, most teams' logos are limited to three colors.  And the choices violated UL's traditional colors.

So the use of five colors not only left UL with a crowded, complicated logo, but one that was very expensive to produce-- almost prohibitively so. Manufacturers and merchants constantly voice regrets over the cost of our images, and to date, there are many items available for every major university's fans that are not available for UL, simply because the cost of manufacture is just too high.

There is also some question about the aesthetics; many local graphic artists thought that the marks were poorly conceived and designed, and even worse, the proofs were poorly executed. This is very hard to understand.  The firm that created the new logos designs crisp two-color logos for most of their other clients, particularly their university clients.

But beyond all of those considerations the two centerpieces of our marks-- the pepper and the fleur de lis-- not only ignored our own traditions in the triple fleur de lis and the pelican, they are frequently confused with other products that were previously on the market. Our fleur de lis seems to be based almost directly on the Saints' logo (compare at right); the outlines of the two designs are too similar to chalk up to mere coincidence. Likewise, the pepper is constantly confused with Chili's logo (compare below), and people wearing our hats are often embarrassed to be asked when they start their shift at the restaurant.

All of this means that, however unique and recognizable "Ragin' Cajuns" is, our marks are not unique.

Not at all.

It also means that they can't be strongly protected. Many firms use peppers that echo our design. As for the fleur de lis, other teams and other schools can take the fleur de lis and make it their own.

Correction: they have made it their own.

Recently around Lafayette I have seen more and more LSU fleur de lis decals on cars, particularly variations of the 'Tiger Eye', above and below. Certainly the Golden Girls have incorporated a fleur de lis into their outfits for years, possibly longer than UL has been using our logo. There are also many other LSU items that, more and more, are appearing for sale in shops and on the Internet. Some of them are displayed below (these represent only a small fraction of the different designs currently on the market).

Now it's spreading to other schools. Recently, fleurs de lis logos for ULM, Southeastern, McNeese, UNO, and Southern have also begun appearing, as well as for the New Orleans Hornets, and those are also sampled below.

As unique as "Ragin' Cajuns" is, our other marks are quite commonplace, even generic.

And they are becoming moreso all of the time.


















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