With the unveiling of the newest Dordt Defender Logo, Dordt College sports teams gained a new identity. Yet, while some students love the logo, others question its origins, motives, and real purpose.
At a student symposium meeting on October 23, several students presented a proposal outlining several concerns about the new Defender logo. Senior and theology major Kyle De Boer, senior and history major Philip Hiemstra, and senior and agriculture major John Short stated their overarching concern about the logo and outlined four major points they wished to discuss about it.
“Since the unveiling, we have heard several concerns over the new logo from students, faculty, and alumni,” claim De Boer and Hiemstra. “These concerns, of theirs and ours, were great enough that we thought it appropriate to bring up the issue to student symposium.”
The proposal submitted by the seniors stated: “We believe that the new athletics logo revealed last Friday was enacted prematurely and without sufficient input from staff, faculty, and students/athletes, and that the decision should be reviewed with allowances for broader input, especially by those who will be representing it.”
The four main points of issue with the logo were as follows:
- The new logo promotes separation between Dordt athletics and Dordt academics.
- The Knight/Crusader image, especially one using the sword as a cross, is one that may not represent Christianity well, and has a lot of historical baggage attached to it.
- The aesthetic message of the logo is unclear and does not well convey the goals or ideals of Dordt College.
- Considering that both Unity Christian High School and Calvin College have Knights as their athletic emblems and names, the new Dordt logo seems to lack creativity.
Not all students hold this view, however. Vanessa Vigil, a sophomore, said that “Initially, I didn’t like it, but I grew to like it. It’s nice to have something to stand behind, an actual representation.” Freshman Annie Pinkerton agreed. “Actually, having a mascot is nice,” Pinkerton said.
In a Dordt press release published on October 20, several “fast facts” about the new Defender logo were listed. Among these were: “The logo is intended to convey the following: a. Respect: The servant acknowledges with a kneeling posture that he/she is serving someone greater and b. Readiness: The sword is in hand and the armor still adorned. The defender realizes that he/she always needs to be on guard, ready to rise up and take the next challenge or opportunity.”
The release also stated that “logo conception was the responsibility of public relations, in collaboration with the athletic department. The logo went through several drafts and modifications before being adopted.”
In an interview, the creator of the new Defender logo, Dordt College graphic artist Jamin Ver Velde, said, “The athletic logo is under the main Dordt logo. It doesn’t supersede the main logo.” He also said that the main symbol of the letters “DC” and the cross are not the only logos standing for Dordt College. “It’s part of a family of logos,” said Ver Velde, which include the Dordt seal, the Andreas center, and the Stepping Stones preschool, owned by Dordt College.
The image of the knight was used not only because it went well with the idea of a “Defender,” said Ver Velde. “The figure of the knight worked best – the main point is that you don’t know who is inside, it could be anyone.”
Director of Pr and Marketing Communication Sonya Jongsma Knauss said that the process for creating the logo started in 2007, when a poll was sent out to alumni and students, faculty and staff, and friends concerning the name “Defender” for the sports teams and asking for ideas for a potential logo. “Since there was enough attachment to the nickname, the next step was a logo,” said Jongsma Knauss. An Athletic Branding Committee was also involved in the creation of the logo, said Jongsma Knauss, as well as students. “But the students who were involved just aren’t here anymore.”
A petition created by Hiemstra, Short, and De Boer had collected 53 signatures by 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 23. An updated number has not been released.
“We want to be sure that we are not saying the logo looks bad as a graphic design, but it is the deeper issues surrounding the logo, namely the process and the messages it sends, where we have issue,” said Hiemstra and De Boer.
“Our main concern, which is outlined on the purpose of the petition, is to have the administration reconsider the use of the logo in light of the concerns we have brought forth,” concluded Hiemstra and De Boer.
Hannah DeVries, Staff Writer