New look, logo unveiled for Judson University Athletics
When Michael Figueroa approached Judson President Gene Crume about a new graphic identity that he had created for the Judson Eagles during his graphics class, he knew it was a longshot. But Figueroa's story, talent and vision for the new athletics brand was so compelling that Crume agreed to move forward with it.
Now, Judson University in Elgin is implementing Figueroa's design and launching a new brand created for the Judson University Athletics program. This new identity is the first update to the Judson Eagles brand since it launched in August 2007, when Judson College became Judson University.
The new athletics mark features elements from the University's primary logo, the shield with the flame, to bridge between the University and the Athletic Department. The mark also emphasizes the university name more prominently. A three-year rollout of the mark is planned with every Judson Athletic team using the same branding by the fall of 2022. The first sport to unveil the new look will be Judson's Football program. The team's inaugural uniforms will feature the redesigned brand.
The fact that Figueroa developed this mark for a Judson class is really the beginning of a larger story. Figueroa, of West Dundee, was already an accomplished artist having graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Fine Art degree from the American Academy of Art in Chicago. As a professional tattoo artist, he has worked with several professional hockey players. He also has designed goalie masks for National Hockey League, American Hockey League, and National Women's Hockey League goaltenders.
Figueroa began attending Judson last year to obtain a second bachelor's degree in graphic arts and to expand his skills. When the Graphic Design 1 class required students to create a new brand, Figueroa knew he wanted to recreate the Judson Eagles brand. In doing so, he hoped to create a new athletic brand that honored its roots while communicating a modern, clean image. He researched the current mark with university officials, met with athletic team leaders and consulted with his professors while developing the new mark before finally presenting his ideas to Judson's president last summer.
"We're all Judson Eagles, even if we are not part of an athletic team," said Figueroa during a meeting with all the Athletic Team coaches in December. "I wanted to create a logo that could present a consistent image across all the teams and the university."
Figueroa has gifted the new Judson Eagles mark and brand guidelines to the university, complete with the copyright ownership. Under the arrangement, Figueroa and his children will have the ability to develop a specialty brand using the mark and to offer products through the university bookstore.
"While we hadn't anticipated the need for a new athletic identity at this time, we recognized the talent and compelling vision that Michael brought to this new logo. In the end, we saw this as a wonderful gift that showcased our ideals innovation, creativity and commitment to excellence," Crume said.