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How UNLV Fans Killed the School’s Hated 'Folded Pile of Clothes' Logo

January 8, 2019 | Joseph Myers

Given that the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) dubs its sports teams the “Rebels”—with the men’s basketball team adding “Runnin” to accentuate the players’ quickness—one should not find it surprising that the overall athletic fan base would have looked to take rapid action against something with which it disagreed. Just ahead of the new year, said supporters learned their school would be moving away from the 18-month-old “Hey Reb!” logo and emphasizing its customary arched logo instead.

Once described as looking “like a folded pile of clothes with a cowboy hat,” the scorned identifier will no longer appear on licensed UNLV goods, with the design not having even been visible at university-associated sporting events. In conjunction with the eventual stadium sharing by the school’s football team and the NFL’s now-Oakland Raiders come 2020, officials will ponder a new logo and make discussions of a novel insignia an element of negotiations with Nike.

Regardless of the progress of those talks, UNLV fans will not be left without any artistic means to show pride and to help to intimidate foes. Since backers—like booster Bill Paulos, who balked over the “Hey Reb!” symbol’s inclusion of a diagram to explain the artwork’s components—were not shy about voicing (or tweeting) their displeasure, the arched logo will again hold supremacy and will not end up abandoned even when the new one hits the masses.

The backlash that the “Hey Reb!” logo has endured makes UNLV yet another example of an institution or business that has needed to endure ridicule or stern judgment over its identifying emblem. Joining the ranks of such entities as American Airlines, Formula One and IHOP, the institution responsible for educating students has become a learner itself, taking in the knowledge that when something meant to signify one’s identity, in any respect, fails to deliver on its promise, the powers that be should expect to put pride aside and make an alteration. In the case of UNLV, 2020 cannot come quickly enough for the disgruntled matriculants and supporters, who are set to succeed in running that Rebel right out of town.

If anything, the whole situation shows that logos do matter, especially when they’re part of a rebrand. When you’re dealing with a beloved organization, institution or brand that has a dedicated following, you can’t just pick any old logo and expect it to be a hit. And, as UNLV found, sometimes it’s better to listen to the people.

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