I’m sorry I didn’t do better, Eisenhower Cadets. I really am.

Last year I was in full design mode when my alma mater, Eisenhower High School, was forced to ditch the New England Patriots logo for an original design. The school district announced a public design contest, enlisting the help of members in the community and alumni, that concluded early last spring. 

As soon as the contest was announced in early fall, I designed for an entire week straight. I enlisted the help of folks over at the forums on Sportslogos.Net (individuals who are far more artistically gifted than I am) before submitting my design proposal two weeks after starting. I had two versions of the same logo (one better suited for helmets and one with more detail), a handful of alternate color combinations, an entire gallery of wordmarks for every single athletic team, and even a custom font. 

Suffice it to say, I wouldn’t be writing this a year later if my design was chosen by the school. Looking back a year later, I’m able to look at my final product through a different lens. I’ve also had opportunity for the logo they did end up choosing to sink in as the new IKE Cadets identity.

It hasn’t.

I truly sorry I didn’t do better, Eisenhower Cadets. I am truly sorry that you’re stuck with the piece of crap logo you now have emblazoned across your athletic department. I am truly sorry you suffered such a horrible fate. 

After not touching the logo I had previous submitted for an entire year, I went back yesterday for a few hours and updated it for the better. It only took a few hours but I made the logo that much better, realizing in the process that I could’ve done better last year.

The reasoning behind submitting my design over a month before the deadline was very simple: it was stressing me the hell out. I get very irrational sometimes. Long story short, I loathed my school being unoriginal and piggybacking off of the New England Patriots. It’s a running joke in the Lavis household whenever my dad or I see New England Patriots merchandise in a store without the NFL crest or New England Patriots anywhere in sight. “Is this a Patriots shirt or a Cadets shirts,” one of us would snicker.

So when Eisenhower announced they were ditching the Patriots logo for an original design and asking the public for input, I was ecstatic. A little too ecstatic. By the time I came around to submitting the logo, I was at the end of my ropes. I could see I was starting to micromanage every single minutiae of the logo. It was going to drive me insane. So, I stopped when the folks in the forum also began to critique the smallest of details. I was happy. I shouldn’t have been.

If I’ve learned anything thanks to 2016, it’s that sometimes the worst case scenario happens. After that fact, it’s best to be in the camp believing you did every thing in your power to prevent that from happening. That wasn’t me when the curtain was unveil on IKE’s new logo.

I hated it. I still hate it.

I hate the lazy “IKE” font selection (if I can tell which font you used the instant I see it, it’s usually not a good sign). I hate the fact that it logos horrible whenever it isn’t displayed at center court. The white borders feel like leftovers from a half a dozen revisions ago. I thought my final design logo might have been a bit too simple for what the school was looking for. Apparently they were looking for something from a universe where shading doesn’t exist. The line widths are off due to one of the chevrons being the exact same color as the border. The “Eisenhower Cadets” text look like last minute additions for the simple reason they had to put the text somewhere on the logo. 

Am I bitter about the situation? Am I writing this article? At the end of the day, I just feel sad. As an alumni, I can’t be proud about this logo. I’m proud about the academic logo that’s been around as long as time. I even have it as a large metal sign that was crafted by the welding club a year or two ago. That logo is what I had in mind when designing. My school’s namesake is what I had in mind when designing. West Point cadets, which is what Dwight Eisenhower once was and why my alumni are known as the Cadets, are why my design has a sword; direct inspiration from the West Point cadet sword itself.

None of that is in IKE’s logo. It didn’t have to be. If it was reminiscent of every single minor league sports teams nicknamed the Patriots or Cadets or Minutemen then I’d be fine with it. However, when I have to concede the fact that Davis’s logo and West Valley’s half a dozen logos (seriously guys, you don’t need to put Fordham and West Virginia’s logos on your helmet at the same time), it doesn’t sit well with me. 

I’m sorry I didn’t do better, Eisenhower Cadets. I truly am.