Nike Goes Overboard on Their Control of Oregon: From the Font to the Uniforms

By: Alexandra Kuhle

Our mascot goes to Disney and our Oregon logo goes to Nike. Well technically our actual “O” cannot be copyrighted but the steps of making the typeface are copyrighted. No font can ever be copyrighted but the making of the design can be. In 2000 the University and Nike decided to make a major overhaul from the traditional U of O logo to the simple and modern “O”. In the past year when Bellotti was athletic director he teamed up with Nike to come up with a font that was then named “Bellotti Bold”. With the new font came new uniforms, which were presented with the start of the 2009 football season.

Nike might not technically have the copyright for the famous “O” but they have the final say on where it goes including everything from uniforms, bags, to fan apparel. There is a history behind the original notion of changing the trademark UO to the “O,” and it began with the University striving to look more modern. The “O” caught on more quickly because of fans making the familiar “O” shape with their hands at athletic games. Not one game at Autzen goes by when you won’t see the whole stadium filled with fans showing their support with the “O” symbol.

The “Bellotti Bold” typeface is used for every athletic uniform, but is most recognizable on the Football teams various uniforms. This season, Nike, along with input from current football players came up with 4 different designs that could make up 80 different combinations of game day uniforms. Nike is famous for always wanting to change up the design of the athlete’s wardrobe. The newest designs are made up of 25% lighter material and designed to make the players look more intimidating on the field.

Are all the new uniforms and designs solely for the benefit of the athletes? Nike has all the say in what the players wear and the newest technology coming out of their company. Nike gets to test out their latest designs and ideas using our top athletes. Unknowingly to athletes, they are helping Nike better develop their products. Also, with college football being watched by thousands during the fall, and the familiar Nike symbol on every single player, a lot of unpaid advertising is involved without any work on Nike’s part.

Nike seems to be taking over every aspect of athletics. With our two main symbols, Puddles (our mascot), and our “O”, being held under the watchful eyes of their owners, does the University have anything to call their own? Maybe it is necessary for the football players to have 80 choices for their uniforms but it seems like Nike is taking control in all aspects of athletics from what they wear to the font style of our logo.

http://www.ducksportsnews.com/blog/2008/06/what-the-font-the-great-gordon-smith-logo-mystery/

http://blog.oregonlive.com/playbooksandprofits/2006/06/holy_bellotti_bold_batman.html

http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=299694

http://www.makilaban.com/blog/2010/01/27/cross-examining-the-university-of-oregon-logo/

http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=153778

http://www.uoregon.edu/~copyrght/z2home.htm

http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=3755462

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