By Erin Hallissy
What is a Saint Mary’s Gael? A committee that included faculty, staff, student-athletes, students, coaches and alumni spent countless hours over many months surveying the College community to find the answer that would guide them in creating a new athletic logo to replace the blocky SMC design. With Osaki Creative, Inc. of Emeryville, which designed logos for the University of Hawaii, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Baltimore Ravens and Sacramento State, among others, they agreed on a distinctive new look that won instant praise from all areas of campus.
“This is the right fit,” Athletic Director Mark Orr says of the logo, unveiled at Reunion Weekend in July. “It has an Irish feeling. The letters are intertwined, and that shows unity and family. When you see the connecting knot work, it symbolizes that as a College we’re very connected. The Irish font goes back to the Gaels. The shield symbolizes strength and protection. The G is for Gaels.
“I think this gives us a unique identity,” Orr says. “We hope this is a longstanding, timeless piece. Hopefully in 2025 it will still look nice, just like the Cal logo or the Notre Dame logo look great year after year.”
Mike Samuels, director of marketing and advertising for the Athletic Department, says there was nothing particularly distinctive about the old SMC logo, created in 1992 by a former football coach for a helmet decal. Some of the teams on campus used different logos, and local sports stores didn’t even carry Saint Mary’s gear, a situation that will change with the release of the new logo.
“We needed to create some sort of a dynamic and recognizable identity for the Athletic Department,” Samuels says. “With 328 Division I institutions out there, we would like people who aren’t necessarily Saint Mary’s alumni to purchase our merchandise.”
The new logo, which includes a knot work design that can be used as a trim, appeals to women as well as men, Samuels says.
“We are extremely psyched. It’s been a long process so we’re ready to enjoy the fruits of the labor.”
A variety of merchandise with the new logo is already being sold, although old merchandise will be offered until it’s sold out. Eventually, the Athletic Department will come up with a new mascot as well.