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Golden Tiger Gets Complete Facelift as Brenau University Establishes Modern Brand Consistency

Nov 18, 2014
Brenau Staff

Brenau University officially launched its new trademarked Golden Tigers athletics logo and graphic identity system that features the tiger mascot in profile roaring out of a bold initial B as well as the university’s bold black and gold colors.

The logo is available for use by Brenau’s 10 Golden Tigers intercollegiate athletics teams and others throughout the university. It also can be licensed by vendors and others for approved commercial and noncommercial uses.

Brenau Golden Tiger LogoHoodies, caps and merchandise using the new images are for sale through the university’s bookstore on the Gainesville campus and online. The Department of Alumni & Events and the Athletics Department are making plans to develop an online catalog of tiger-logo merchandise. However, Golden Tiger images – as well as the companion interlocking BU – are showing up on athletics uniforms, player and coaches’ apparel, and other apparel and publications throughout the university. The music department, for example, got into the act when it ordered some tiger-logoed shirts for one of its performing ensembles.

“The athletics department staff, students and alumni are excited to see the new logo design come to fruition and to see it on uniforms, the walls and floors of the buildings, and other applications,” said Mike Lochstampfor, the athletics director and head soccer coach. “And, it’s not just in athletics. Already the Golden Tiger logo is being used throughout the whole campus with equal enthusiasm.”

The next step in the rollout, scheduled to occur in 2015, will be a facelift for the plush costumed mascot “H.J.,” named after Haywood Jefferson Pearce, who served as Brenau president for close to half a century. The branding will appear on signage and other elements of the new athletics park under development in Gainesville. The new logo and colors also are more compatible with “Lucile,” the world’s largest bronze statue of a “golden tiger,” installed as a landmark on the Gainesville campus in 2013 (The statue was named for Lucile Pearce, H.J.’s wife, who technically was Brenau’s first female chief executive.).

Brenau in recent years has stepped up its intercollegiate athletics substantially with its teams consistently competing in regional and national championship play. That and the ongoing major fundraising effort for development of the athletics complex required a strong visual brand identity.

The university set out to create the new athletics logo as part of a university-wide graphic identity realignment to replace a 10-year-old tiger logo that – with more of an orange and black scheme – did not even employ Brenau’s black and burnished gold official school colors. It was difficult to find pre-made merchandise – like plush tiger toys that are popular promotional and souvenir items – to match the old tiger colors.

Brenau University's Jasmine Williams, a Golden Tiger basketball player and junior special education major, with the new athletics logo.
Brenau University’s Jasmine Williams, a Golden Tiger basketball player and junior special education major, with the new athletics logo.

“The recent growth and success of our athletics program demanded a more visible, professional-looking identity,” said Christie Gregory, Brenau’s design director who is overseeing the university graphic identity realignment. “We wanted a logo that would stand out on our athlete’s uniforms as well as look nice on a cap or t-shirt – something everyone would be proud to wear to show our support of Brenau. I think the new logo does a good job incorporating the overall bold and gold university branding with the athletics.”

“We were looking for something modern, clean and more stylized that would have longevity and would work well on apparel and other applications,” she said. “In addition to the new tiger logo, we also added the classic interlocking ‘BU’ mark to provide the widest range of usable options.”

Since Brenau has staked copyright and trademark claims, the new logo needed to be unique. Although only two universities – Brenau and Tuskegee University – claim “Golden Tigers” as mascot name, there are 56 tiger mascot schools in the United States, including Auburn, Clemson, LSU and Missouri. In fact, Brenau is a member of the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition, a student-led collaboration of colleges and universities around the United States with tiger mascots that is dedicated to improving public policies aimed at protecting the endangered species.

Lochstampfor said that far too often you’ll see cookie cutter approaches to logo development – like taking the basic triangular-shaped face of Brenau’s old logo, changing the shape slightly, exchanging the orange for purple and calling it a day. “There are so many tigers out there that it took a lot of time to achieve the uniqueness we were looking for,” said Lochstampfor. “Fortunately, we had a designer who was very professional and willing to work with us through the process, producing dozens of iterations until we got exactly what we wanted. We were not presented with three or four options and told to ‘take it or leave it.’”

Golden Tiger Letter B WhiteBrenau selected Tom Sapp, the president and art director of Decatur, Georgia-based Real Characters, Inc., to design the new athletics logo system and to ultimately oversee construction of a new mascot suit. Sapp has extensive experience in development of logos, word marks, characters and mascots for many colleges and professional sports teams including “Hairy Dawg” for the University of Georgia, “Pounce” for Georgia State University, “YouDee” for the University of Delaware, “Sparty” for Michigan State University, “Rocky” for the Denver Nuggets and “Slugrrr” for the Kansas City Royals. A graphic design graduate of University of Georgia, Sapp previously worked as creative director at Burton Campbell (subsequently Earle Palmer Brown) and McCann Erickson advertising agencies.

“I like to make original designs, and to make sense of them,” Sapp said. “A lot of the time, artists let their egos get in the way [when they are commissioned], but my job is to work with strategy and direction closely with the client, to be original and fit what the client needs but also retain the equity that the client wants to keep. Sometimes when you try to evolve a pre-existing mark, you create an entirely new one.”

Sapp drew much of his inspiration from the Lucile statue for the look and feel of the Golden Tiger logo, retaining her “personality” while creating a fierce, sharp, contemporary and unique mark. He chose to turn the tiger head to a profile view to add energy and a sense of motion that was also compatible with the traditional BU initials for Brenau University.

Gregory worked closely with Sapp, incorporating her own touch in the process, leading to the stylish tiger head imposed on – and swirling around – the bold B for Brenau. “Symbolically, there is now no doubt that the Golden Tigers and Brenau are connected,” she said.

Lochstampfor, who has been rolling out the logo since it first started appearing on new uniforms this fall, said other schools already have been contacting him to learn about Brenau’s process for rebranding.

“There are so many different ways to develop logos,” he said, “and many schools can find it difficult to navigate the process. But they are impressed with the new Golden Tiger redesign and are now looking for advice.”

Brenau adopted “Golden Tigers” as its mascot name in the 1990s. It was a derivative of the first Brenau motto, “as gold refined by fire,” penned by H.J. Pearce around 1900 when he coined the word Brenau by combining syllables of words from German and Latin applied to purifying gold.

The new branding already is available on some items that are on sale at Brenau’s campus Barnes & Noble bookstore, located in Gainesville at 510 Washington St. The store is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Here is a list of items that are available: Champion hooded sweatshirt, unisex fit, black or charcoal grey, $36.98; Champion long-sleeved tee shirt, unisex fit, black or charcoal grey, $21.98; and ​Legacy unisex ball cap, white or black, $21.98.

“Next month for the holidays, we should have more hoodies in black or charcoal grey, with different logos in the new set,” said Heather Ward, manager of the bookstore. Brenau gear and gifts may also be ordered online at​.

Downloadable art work and instructions for authorized use of the logos is available at

For information or permission to use the trademarked logo, contact Gregory at or David Morrison at

For information about commercial or non-profit licensing of the logo, contact Brenau University CFO David Barnett at

For all athletics uses, contact Lochstampfor at