09 February 2015

Analyzing the UTRGV Vaqueros logo, or: Who was that tanned man?

The UTRGV mascot was unveiled... at 4:00 pm on Friday afternoon. I do not think the timing of this release was accidental. After the uproar that followed the announcement of the “Vaqueros” name, I think someone hoped that late Friday afternoon would provide a “soft launch” for the logo.


I like the look of the logo overall. The horse and rider look dynamic and distinctive. It reads well from a distance.

There is one thing I absolutely love about this logo. It's a little Easter egg that shows a very sharp, professional graphic designer did this. There is a map of Texas hidden in the negative space of the horse’s front and back legs. That is just a detail that delights.


In the full colour version of the logo, the rider looks like he’s had a spray on tanning mishap. Sort of like Ross in the Friends episode, “The One with Ross’s Tan.”

Our female athletes got ignored. We have dozens of alternate logos, and there are no Vaqueras. Not even a team name in any of the zillion logo variants.

Our friends at Brownsville got short changed. Again. Most seriously, several of the logo variants have the outline of the state of Texas, and a single star in the Valley... pretty much right on Edinburg, where UTPA is. Either there should be a star for each campus, or no stars.

On a minor note, the UTRGV colours are supposed to be orange, green (UTPA’s heritage colour) and blue (UTB’s heritage colour). But in the full colour logo, the navy blue it so dark that it doesn’t read as blue.

Some people have said there are some similarities with the Texas Tech Mascot, the Red Raiders. Both have a man on horseback.

I personally don’t see this as a big problem. The colours, poses, letters... There is no way the two would ever be confused.

The lettering looks very similar to the type used for the current UTPA athletics workdmark, and to other institutions. Both have big chunky slab type, with a spikey bit emerging from the top left.

Overall, the logo is sharp, but it’s a shame that it doesn’t show awareness of the criticisms of the Vaqueros name, and the regional tensions that have been brewing because of it.

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