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The Sports Logo History of the Oregon Ducks

February 19, 2015

Before we dive into the Oregon Ducks’ “O,” let’s peek at some history. Founded in 1876, Oregon is a public university that has gained more and more athletic notoriety in mainstream sports over the last decade. One of the many reasons is the contributions of Nike CEO/Founder, Phil Knight, one of the school’s proud alums. Knight’s Nike Swoosh is iconic in its own right, but his financial gain from the swoosh has helped dress Duck athletes in a variety of different colors, combinations, and looks. That’s a huge recruiting tool. The school’s presentation athletically is a staple of the department, maybe even more so than their strong success.

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Knight isn’t the only icon in a different field connected to the University. For decades, the school’s logo hasn’t been simply a duck, but Disney’s “Donald Duck.” According to the school’s website, in 1947, then-athletic director, Leo Harris, and Walt Disney, reached a handshake agreement to allow for the Ducks to use the character as its mascot.

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I’ve come to the realization that I have to weigh college logos on a different scale. Most schools’ main logos are letters, not images of beings or things. When you look beyond the lack of creativity or variety beyond the alphabetical uniqueness, some letters are actually pretty well done.

One example of a logo done well is Oregon’s “O,” which shouldn’t be a surprise when you consider how well they do all of their imaging and branding. An “O” is such a common shape, so it’s the difference in Oregon’s version that makes it unique.

The vertical build to it creates more of an oval feel, rather than a perfectly round “O,” which gives it a unique feel, especially when you compare it to another notable “O,” Ohio State’s. The Buckeyes logo is more of a geometric, edged “O.” Beyond the verticality, though, I really like the varying thickness of it. It’s another Oregon-element that helps it stand out. Along the sides, the lining is thicker than at the top when it thins out. What I like most about this element is that it juxtaposes the verticality with truer “O” shape when you look at the image as a whole.

In general, the colors–green and yellow–play really well off of one another. The brightness of the yellow lining gives it a larger presence than it really has, which is perfect when the alternative is to actually give it a larger presence that could eat up the logo.

Overall, I think the Oregon “O” is among the best letter-logos in the country because of the elements that make it unique and separate from a run-of-the-mill letter.

Speaking of Oregon, it’s the home of one of our best selling t-shirts, the Portland Tree Huggers.

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At Awesome Sports Logos, we are puck heads and our love of hockey brought about this t-shirt. We left this angry tree open to interpretation. Personally, I think he’s mad because he is using a stick made from one of his cousins. Either way, I wouldn’t mess with this sports logo but I’ll certainly wear it with pride and you should too because it’s awesome.

Thanks as always for reading,

Gavin Spittle

Founder, Logo Lover and T-shirt fanatic

Awesome Sports Logos

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