When Toronto Metropolitan University (formally known as Ryerson) went looking for design help to create the look and feel for its sports teams, it’s not surprising it asked Jacknife to pitch. The popular and respected design shop has experience in sports brand identities, having previously worked on both the Toronto Marlies and Toronto FC.
While the university introduced its new name in April, it didn’t start looking for an agency to work on the new name for its sports teams (formerly the Rams) until late June. In a two-week “design sprint,” Jacknife developed multiple logo options for the school—even though the team name hadn’t been announced—and won the project.
Work on the rest of the team identity followed a few weeks later, when the new team name, Bold, was chosen. The new brand identity was fully revealed in mid-October.
We asked Jacknife creative director Dave Rodgers to walk us through some of the key elements of Ontario’s newest university sports branding.
The wordmark: One of the directives from the client was to come up with something non-traditional and unlike most other sports brands. That meant no bevelled or chiselled fonts. “We wanted to keep it fairly timeless and clean,” said Rodgers. “Once you start adding those bubbles and three-dimensional elements to the type, it ages it instantly. Yes, it would feel probably more in line with sports design, but it wasn’t the university was going for.”
The streetcar influence: For a university right in the middle of Toronto, Jacknife found inspiration in one of the city’s defining physical features. “We looked at aerial views of the city and one thing that obviously kept popping up was the streetcar tracks, you can look at the radius when the tracks are turning and it felt like this is clear element that we can add to the brand.”
The knockouts in the “T” and “U” help convey the feeling of the streetcar track shaping the letters themselves.
The B: “We didn’t want to give some reference to the Ryerson brand,” said Rodgers. “So having the B stand out on its own was much like the old school R on all the jerseys. We just wanted to make an element that they could have singular, instead of the entire word Bold on the jerseys.”
The falcon influence: The university chose the falcon as its new team mascot, so Jacknife incorporated a stylized version of a falcon—a peregrine falcon to be specific—in the B logo. But here too, they wanted it to be subtle: “We didn’t want to do the traditional 3D illustration of an animal,” said Rodgers.
When a peregrine falcon dives for its prey it becomes quite linear, he said. “So, the top of the B is kind of intended to resemble the pulled back wings of a peregrine as it dives at top speeds towards their prey.”