Transylvania University Athletics Visual Identity
Transylvania University is a Lexington, Kentucky school with a storied history (founded in the 1700s with alumni such as the founder of Texas, Stephen F. Austin; Senator Henry Clay and notable First Lady, Mary Todd Lincoln). The athletic program competes in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference of NCAA Division III.
Known as “Transy”, a shortened nickname for Transylvania adopted by students, alumni and employees; the school approached Mtn. & Co. to brand their athletic program and bring a visual consistency and uniqueness to the school’s sports.
The school’s nickname is the Pioneers, a reference to the pioneers of the Commonwealth of Kentucky such as Daniel Boone; yet there has never been an official mascot or visual identity. The Athletic Director, VP of Communications and the President’s Council agreed that they did not want to use a male human symbol for their mascot. Therefore after extensive research and some convincing of notable decision makers, the university decided to embrace the TRANSYLVANIA name and its historically unintended connection to the Bram Stoker novel.
The university is actually 100+ years older than the novel (est. 1780); however, "Dracula" (est. 1897) is rooted in pop & mainstream culture and often the first question alumni answer to when outside of Kentucky or abroad donning Transylvania apparel.
Just as the Alabama Crimson Tide have Big Al the Elephant, the Tennessee Volunteers have Smokey the Dog, and numerous other athletic programs have different characters representing their athletics nickname for various reasons, Transylvania University now has Raf the Bat—properly named after legendary professor Constantine Samuel Rafinesque; the man that named Corynorhinus Rafinesquii, aka Rafinesque's Big-eared bat.
The new athletics visual identity pays homage to a well-known historical figure from the University's past, while accepting and embracing a sense-of-humor about the present.
The following solutions were reached as part of their comprehensive visual identity: custom lettermarks, wolf symbol and tertiary mark as well as a detailed brand style guide.