In July 2020, Seattle Rugby announced that the club was re-branding and changing its logo.
Why did Seattle Rugby make changes to their brand?
The aim of Seattle Rugby Club is to be a highly successful amateur rugby club that our supporters and members can be proud of, now and for many years to come. Success on the field and off the field go hand in hand.
In the spring of 2018, Seattle Saracens commenced a review of our partnership with the London based Saracens Global Network and our brand, including the Seattle Saracens brand values. The decision to not renew the Global Network partnership with Saracens was fully endorsed by the Seattle Saracens Executive Team and Board of Directors.
Owning the Seattle Saracens brand 100% was seen as a key element in terms of the future success of the club. Seattle Rugby history is a rich one and over the years we have changed our brand a couple of times to remain relevant as the club developed and ensure we can provide rugby for everyone possible.
We feel it is time to go back to our roots and use the emblem of an Orca, which is very similar to the original emblem when the club was formed in 1966. We believe it is a strong and relevant image that represents us in the Pacific Northwest and will stand the test of time going forward whilst recognizing our heritage.
Why has Seattle Rugby decided to re-brand?
It was and is important that Seattle Rugby protects and looks after its brand. The local rugby market and the product have changed considerably since 2013/2014 when we partnered with Saracens. Seattle Rugby has been an extremely well thought of and respected club and we have built our own brand identity and own partner network around our club and community programs. We remain the Seattle Saracens.
Seattle Saracens and all who volunteer at the Club are aware of the privilege and their responsibility in protecting and nurturing the club in the present but also for future generations. Additionally, as social and digital media continue to grow it was important that Seattle Saracens further evolves its communications and the brand assets that it requires to ensure the Club has the right tools to market the club in the future.
Why did this result in Seattle Rugby changing the logo?
As Seattle Rugby was no longer part of the Saracens Global Network, we needed to change the existing logo and remove the Saracens’ Star & Crescent logo. The result was a logo that didn’t do either job: it didn’t have any real identity or stand out as being relevant to our market or heritage. We decided that now was the right time to make a change.
Are you concerned that some people may not like the changes?
Of course. We know it’s impossible for everyone to like the new logo and what we are doing. We would have liked to get everyone’s feedback and input but we are sure people will appreciate this simply is not possible. However, we would like to state a great amount of thought, care, respect, and work has gone into this and the club believes what has been developed will provide Seattle Saracens with the right tools for the future.
Can you explain the design for the new Seattle Rugby?
Seattle Rugby is who we are
The Orca has been part of the Club’s history and was an original Seattle Rugby club logo.
Green & Blue remain the club’s core colors
So when did the new brand & logo go live?
From July 6th, 2020, the orca logo in the shield was gradually integrated across Seattle Rugby communications. The intention was to feature the logo across the majority of our communications by the start of the 2020/21 season. However, we recognize that the former logo is present in many places so we are realistic that the old, heritage, or the Saracens logo, will still be featured and we do not expect our partners to change everything overnight.
We are also of course extremely proud of our Seattle Rugby history and heritage so the previous logos will remain present in all our historical imagery. However, any new communications from this point forward will now be developed with our orca logo and brand assets.
The Story Behind The Orca Logo
We have had a long, proud affiliation with our club orca. People asked about the origins of the orca, so we investigated.
A mere seven years after the club started in 1966, a young man with a passion for art, Steve Williams, also discovered his passion for rugby. As an assignment for a university art course, he was required to draw something in the style of "formline ovoid". Formline ovoid is a style used in carvings and drawings of the certain tribes of Southeast Alaska, Northwestern British Columbia, and islands off the west coast of Canada including Tlingit, Kwakiutl, Haida, and Tsimshian. Steve chose to try to do a killer whale. He then donated his design to the club.
His original piece for his art class was in traditional colors, red, black, and blue. Steve replicated his piece for use by the club, only he swapped out the color blue for yellow. At the time, the club’s jerseys were the yellow, red and black hoops of Richmond (UK) and Waikato (NZ).
The formline ovoid art form is not an art form of one of the South Coast Salish tribes or villages of the Seattle area and Puget Sound Basin.
We wish to acknowledge the differences between the art of the South Coast Salish vis a vis Southeast Alaska tribes, and not diminish the uniqueness of any of the 566 federally recognized tribes. An additional difference in art between the tribes of Southeast Alaska and the South Coast Salish is that the Southeast Alaska tribes carved totem poles. Totem poles are not part of the South Coast Salish tradition. Apparently totem poles became popular in the Seattle area in the late 19th Century as entrepreneurs were trying to promote travel to Southeast Alaska. https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/move-afoot-to-replace-some-totem-poles-with-local-indigenous-art/839101978
Note: By our use of the Orca for the last 45 years, it was never our intent or the intent of the artist to misrepresent or disrespect any Native American or First Nations art. Our Orca should not be considered a form of pan-Indian art.