FAQ: The New Bates Bobcat

The new Bates Bobcat, designed by Skye Design Studios with oversight by the college’s ad hoc Athletics Marketing Committee, debuted on Jan. 26, 2013.

Bobcat image is embargoed — not to be used — until after debut approx. 3 p.m. on Jan. 26.

updated Jan. 25, 2013, 2:45 p.m.

Why do we need a new Bobcat logo?

It was time to refresh the brand. What was effective in 1997, when the Bates Bobcat was last updated, can be ineffective by 2013.

The visual appearance of a college mascot has power and value, both as the identity of an athletics program and of the institution itself, helping to tell the Bates story, past and present.

Given that fact, it is best practice to ensure that the Bobcat, like other elements of our communications and marketing efforts, is as effective as possible at communicating the Bates College personality: bold, engaged and innovative.

While a smaller project, the Bobcat logo update follows major updates to the Bates website, enrollment publications and Bates Magazine.

How is/was the new Bobcat revealed?

The new Bobcat is to be revealed at halftime of the Bates–Tufts men’s basketball game on Jan. 26, 2013, in Alumni Gym.

Where can I see the new Bobcat?

Do not use until after reveal on Jan. 26!

Downloadable files are here: http://www.bates.edu/communications/bobcat/
Password: bobcats

If I have questions about using the new Bobcat for print or digital projects, who should I contact?

communications@bates.edu

Andy Walter, Bates Communications, twalter@bates.edu

What was the process of creating the new Bobcat?

In summer 2012, an ad hoc athletics and marketing committee comprising students, faculty and staff (some of whom are alumni) recommended to President Spencer an update of the Bobcat.

Following her OK, the committee interviewed three prospective designers, hired one, gathered input from the Bates community, and worked with the designer on concepts, revisions and approval.

Who is the designer of the new Bobcat?

Skye Design Studios. Owned and operated by Skye Dillon, SDS is a brand identity and design firm located in the Greater New York City area.

Who is on the ad hoc athletics and marketing committee?

As of January 2013, the ad hoc athletics marketing committee comprises:

Kevin McHugh, chair, director of athletics
Andy Walter, chair, sports information director, Bates Communications
Chris Bournakis, digital user-experience lead, Bates Communications
Doug Ginevan, assistant vice president for planning and analysis
Susan Harriman, director of Friends of Bates Athletics, Advancement
Gwen Lexow, associate athletics director and softball head coach
Lucas Matarazzo ’14, sociology major, basketball player, Shelton, Conn.
Sarah Emerson Potter ’77, director, College Store
Erica Rand, Whitehouse Professor of Art and Visual Culture and Women and Gender Studies
Johie Farrah Seltzer ’03, associate dean of admission
Catherine Tuttle ’13, Spanish and English major, rower and Nordic skier, Pittsford, N.Y.

How did the committee gather input?

In October, the committee released a survey to the Bates community — to students, alumni, faculty and staff — designed to gather opinions and preferences about the Bobcat mascot that would give general artistic direction to Skye Dillon.

Dillon immersed himself in the campus community during the on-site visit — exploring photo archives, talking with a variety of members of the Bates community, and experiencing athletic events and gameday traditions.

What did the survey results say?

There were 1,979 respondents to the non-scientific survey. Broadly speaking, the community wanted a new Bobcat that displays its head alone (not full body), one that is friendly and confident and features familiar elements of the circa 1997 Bobcat.

The community does not want its Bobcat to be whimsical or aggressive.

(See below for more results.)

What happens now?

In the coming weeks months, the new Bobcat will emerge across the Bates enterprise. It will figure prominently in Bates’ forthcoming redesigned athletics website, a project in partnership with PrestoSports, scheduled for later this winter. It will increasingly be available on gear in the College Store. And it will appear on some athletics uniforms as early as the spring season.

How long has Bates had the Bobcat as its mascot?

The students voted on whether to adopt the Bobcat as a mascot back in 1924 during an all-campus gathering in the Chapel.

The idea was floated years earlier, in a letter to the Bates Magazine, by Jack Williams of the Class of 1911, who wrote that the animal “is small — but Oh! how it can fight.” Williams was inspired with the idea after seeing “the fight the light Bates football team put up against heavier odds.”

At that Chapel gathering, student leaders spoke fervently in favor of the bobcat. The vote totals were 490 votes for the bobcat, with only token votes for a panther, chow, leopard, moose, and stork. The stork, in fact, received three votes.

Can I see fuller results of the October 2012 Bobcat survey?

Asked whether they wanted the Bobcat to show its head, or full body:

  • 68 percent wanted the Bobcat head alone.

Asked if they wanted a completely new Bobcat, or something familiar:

  • 53 percent wanted new look with familiar elements
  • 20 percent wanted a mascot totally different from the current Bobcat.
  • 27 percent wanted something “very similar to the current one.”

Asked to describe the Bobcat’s fierceness:

  • 6 percent wanted “bloodthirsty
  • 20 percent wanted “very fierce”
  • 68 percent wanted “confident”
  • 2 percent wanted “not fierce”

Asked to describe the Bobcat’s friendliness:

  • 2 percent wanted “best friends”
  • 12 percent “very friendly”
  • 63 percent wanted “somewhat friendly”
  • 24 percent “not friendly at all”

Asked if the Bobcat should be “distinguished”:

  • 58 percent agreed or strongly agreed

Asked if the Bobcat should be “modern”:

  • 33 percent agreed or strongly agreed

Asked if the Bobcat should be “traditional”:

  • 29 percent agreed or strongly agreed

Asked if the Bobcat should be “aggressive”:

  • 12 percent agreed or strongly agreed

Asked whether the Bobcat should be “whimsical”:

  • 10 percent agreed or strongly agreed (73 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed!)