A snarling Wildcat: Davidson College unveils new logo for first time in nearly 35 years

Davidson College is baring its teeth.

The small, private liberal arts college north of Charlotte unveiled a new logo Wednesday for the first time in about 35 years: a new snarling Wildcat and a linked “D” and “C”.

Davidson, primarily identified by that single word since the 1980s, launched the new “wordmark” to staff and students that links a D and C, which school leaders say reflects the combined strength of the community. They are paired with the words “Davidson College” and all in the same style of text.

The look, says Jay Pfeifer, the director of media relations, is bold, classic and reflects the influence of Davidson’s innovation and tradition.

“The college’s visual identity, its brand, also should be distinctive,” said Doug Hicks, the college’s president. “It should be unmistakably Davidson.”

Its new wildcat logo removes the red diamond in the background and pictures a more detailed animal from the side rather than the front.

The new Davidson College logo of a snarling wildcat.
The new Davidson College logo of a snarling wildcat.

Making Davidson stick out

Dozens of other colleges and universities also display a D logo, including Dayton and Duquesne within the Atlantic 10 conference, where Davidson competes.

So part of the logo change was to make Davidson’s logo distinctive. Hicks says Davidson’s visual identity will help the college grow more familiar to “audiences across the world.”

Davidson College’s new “wordmark” logo features both the letters D and C.
Davidson College’s new “wordmark” logo features both the letters D and C.

The process took more than eight months, and Davidson partnered with a design firm, students, faculty, staff and alumni to help research, design and refine the new logo.

“I identify as a writer, and I like that I can identify with the new logo just as much as my friends who are athletes, musicians, or those who hold any number of positions on campus,” senior Nathanael Bagonza, from Haverhill, Massachusetts, told the Observer. “I really like being able to imagine myself wearing the new logo to class.”

Why the Davidson Wildcats?

The Wildcat became Davidson’s mascot in 1918. according to the college’s history. Davidson’s first mascots were the children of professors, while athletes were referred to as “Presbyterians,” “Preachers” and the “Red and Black.”

After Davidson’s football victory over Auburn in November 1917, the Atlanta Constitution newspaper headlined a story that called Davidson “wildcats,” according to the school’s website. Albert Potts, who was part of the 1919 graduating class, wrote sports articles for Atlanta and Charlotte newspapers and claimed that he first popularized the usage of the term.

Transition is beginning

Davidson will shift to the new logo and wildcat in the coming months. Crews finishing the new stadium already are planning the oversized, red “DC” for the 50-yard line, Pfeifer said.

Students and employees are receiving T-shirts with the new logo this month. The Davidson College store also will have at least a few items with the new images, and more gear is scheduled to arrive soon.