The whole KU aesthetic needs an overhaul. I have the solution
|CG||Oct 11|| 1||1|
If you’re reading this via your e-mail inbox, you’ll notice there’s now a banner image. It’s designed by Marshall Rake, who is a genius and also my cousin. It wasn’t exactly my plan to write a whole letter about the banner image, but the subject tied into something I knew I would write about at some point so… why not now, especially since the Doggfather has spoken?
It’s time to bail on the Trajan.
Photo courtesy of me, because obviously I stopped to take a photo of this
In 2007, the Athletic Department switched from the classic, big-serif Olde Style font long associated with Kansas Basketball to a more modern, angular typeface called Trajan. While it’s easy to look back at that decision as “deeply wack,” I remember a time where it felt more justifiable. KU, which had been an adidas school for a couple of years at that point, needed a visual overhaul that wasn’t just piggybacking on better stuff from the past. adidas needed to put their stamp on the program, and they did it with Trajan.
For football, the apparel improvement was immediate: before that, they’d been rocking navy (??) uniforms that looked like knockoffs of knockoffs. (That being said, one of my all-time favorite KU Football games involved Bill Whittemore and the KU offense hanging 22 on MU in the fourth quarter in those navy numbers). For basketball, the effect was more modest, but the newer, sharper lines of Trajan gave the whole uniform a different feel. Value judgments aside, it was a needed update. Since adidas had basically just ripped off the late Nike designs, to forgettable returns, any movement towards a different look was progress. The success of KUMBB and KUFB in 2008 fogs all memory of what I actually thought of Trajan at the time, but I think I remember actually liking it.
That was 12 years ago. Now, things sit a little differently. Nostalgia is all over fashion, whether it’s throwback-centric apparel lines like Retro ‘47 or big houses like Gucci. In an era where everyone is conscious of the concept of “the brand,” other blue-bloods are weaponizing their mythology well. And yet, KU is stuck on this out-dated, over-modded scheme. Even though the initial design change feels in some way connected to adidas being Kansas’ apparel provider, the solution doesn’t seem brand-dependent: they’ve let other classic programs stick with what works, for instance UCLA (who is now Under Armour but was adidas for a moment in time). These gold “C” jerseys are iconic.
Now is the time to dive back into that big serif energy.
I’d settle for something in the middle, like this. (The gray throwback unis in the current rotation channel vibe a bit, but there a little overdesigned). KU basketball loves to flaunt its history, but isn’t utilizing *any* of it when it comes to the visual identity of the Jayhawks, one of the most visible teams in the sport. It’s a wasted opportunity.
These are fine. I’m not gonna get all Paul Lukas on the thread, but I like the piping on the shorts, that’s kinda tuff. But this should be the last Trajan we ever seen in our lives. It’s time to go back home.