University Letter

UND's faculty and staff newsletter

Fighting Hawks logo takes flight

logo2The University of North Dakota has unveiled a logo and wordmark for the Fighting Hawks nickname.

“This is an outstanding day for the University of North Dakota and UND Athletics,” said UND President Ed Schafer.  “We are thrilled to introduce a champion logo and wordmark for North Dakota’s teams, our champion Fighting Hawks athletics program.”

Created by SME Branding after a significant amount of up-front input and a number of waves of concept testing that included members from stakeholder groups, the logo features a determined hawk embedded in a Kelly green ND and a distinctive wordmark that proclaims “North Dakota Fighting Hawks.”

“SME spent time on campus and on the phone at the beginning of the semester, listening to what a lot of people — students, student athletes, coaches and others in Athletics, faculty, staff, alumni, community members, representatives of UND’s American Indian programs — had to say about our university, our athletics programs, our region and our state.  They did an excellent job of translating what they heard — that we have a long and proud championship tradition, that we are determined and persevere on the playing field, that we are proud of our state and our heritage, that we are progressive and moving forward — and using that input to shape the newest logo and wordmark for the future of UND Athletics,” said Schafer.

“We are excited to start using this logo and wordmark.  We will begin using it immediately, but it will take a while to transition everything to the new logo.  Many of the uniforms are already ordered, so it will take some time to change it out.  But you’ll begin seeing it this fall on the football helmets, for example, as we usher in this new era in UND Athletics,” said UND Athletic Director Brian Faison.

It will also take some time for Fighting Hawks merchandise to be produced with the new logo and wordmark.  UND is planning an Aug. 13 merchandise launch event.

SME Branding on the Fighting Hawks Logo and Wordmark
“This is a defining moment for both the University of North Dakota and SME,” said Ed O’Hara, President and Chief Creative Officer at SME. “We approached the project with great care and respect to reflect the brand’s significance within the community. The deep love for UND athletics was truly palpable amongst every constituent of the UND family that we met with and listened to. This collaborative process was essential to create an identity that embodies the great state of North Dakota and the profound passion of UND’s fan base.”

Through a collaborative process with the University and its closest stakeholders, SME created a future-forward identity that is sleek, elegant and wholly unique. The primary logo features a stoic hawk head icon emphasized by a resolute hawk eye to personify the persistence, hard work and determination of UND student-athletes. The icon rests within an “ND” ligature to place UND Athletics at the heart of North Dakota.

Accompanying the primary mark is a complete suite of wordmarks for the UND Fighting Hawks. These have been constructed in a manner that is streamlined and expressive to reflect the power and speed of UND student-athletes. The serifed ‘N’ and the angular cuts of the font are inspired by the wings of a soaring hawk.

About SME, Inc.
SME ( is a strategic branding agency, specializing in connecting with audiences through powerful identity development. Founded in 1989, SME enjoys a stellar worldwide reputation of creative excellence, thought leadership and client service. SME’s client list includes some of the leading brands in global and collegiate sports including the Atlanta Braves, Atlantic Coast Conference, Churchill Downs, University of Connecticut Athletics, Miami Marlins and many more.