SME Inc. holds listening session

SME Inc. wrapped up its public input sessions for the Fighting Hawks logo design last week with a trip to the Memorial Union.

The firm hosted the open forum geared toward students, staff, faculty and the open public last Thursday.

The open forum was directed by SME’s director of brand strategy and development, Conor O’Flaherty. O’Flaherty led the forum to gain knowledge on what the community would like to see in the new logo; no designs were presented.

This is the second meeting that SME led to get input. The first forum was held earlier in the week at the Empire Arts Center.

SME is a branding company based out of New York. Founded in 1989, SME has had experience with branding universities such as the North Eastern Arizona Lumberjacks and Miami University of Ohio Redhawks. They also designed a logo for the Minnesota Wild. 

“We are here to understand UND ‘Fighting Hawks’ through your eyes,” O’Flaherty stated in the open forum.

The audience gave input ranging from ideas such as incorporating aerospace and fields, to color schemes like silver or sky blue, and more involvement from organizations and education to be incorporated in the new logo. 

One attendee mentioned the tradition and pride that goes along with a logo.

Another attendee said that UND should incorporate both the North Dakota phrase “Legendary” and UND’s idea of “Exceptional.”

While the crowd gave their opinions to SME, the company did raise some issues that could happen after the public gave their ideas. 

“We are conscious of colors,” O’Flaherty said. “Too many colors can lead to cost problems, but also management problems as well.” 

Many attendees of the forum believed that a contemporary look to the new logo would be appealing to the eye. Attendees expressed a desire for the logo to have “depth” and be something that will stand the test of time. SME is hoping to bring a cleaner and more dimensional design to UND. 

“Brand is not a logo,” O’Flaherty said. “Brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, organization or a service.”

SME started the process Feb. 24 with the kick-off meeting and will conclude on May 31, with production filed and a standard guide delivered. During this time SME plans to present phase 1 of their exploration to UND and the community on March 30. 

SME plans on gaining more perspective on what the community wants as a logo and using that as a stepping stone in creating the logo.

To get more opinions, SME created an open survey that any individual is able to partake in. If one wants to add their opinion, they can visit . 

“This is not the end of your involvement,” O’Flaherty said. “It’s not what we say it is, it’s about what you say.”

Haley Olson is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]