The UNC Charlotte 49ers athletics department started working on a new identity with Luquire14 months ago, but for SVP / Executive Creative Director Todd Aldridge the project was decades in the making – though he may not have known it at the time.
Todd grew up just outside of Charlotte, graduating with a Bachelor of Creative Arts from the university’s School of Arts & Architecture in 1992. Both of his parents worked at the school for more than 20 years, and many family members – including his son, who was a Levine Scholar – received their undergraduate degrees from UNC Charlotte. There is no doubt Todd’s blood runs Charlotte Green.
Soon after his own graduation Todd started working at Luquire, where he has led award-winning creative work for numerous clients non-stop for 26 years. There is no doubt he was the perfect person to design the new marks for the athletics program at his beloved alma mater.
“My story is not the same without either UNC Charlotte or Luquire,” Todd says. “When I found out there was going to be a new athletics logo, I was super excited and completely terrified. I almost thought I shouldn’t work on it, but then I recognized that I could understand what the university meant to a family, a student, a parent and a fan, which were all key audiences for the new mark.”
The 49ers have had several logos through the years, including the predecessor to the new logo that made a “C” out of an arm holding a gold mining pick. Todd sought to simplify the mark to be more aligned with esteemed college marks like the Tennessee “Power T” or Michigan’s iconic “M.” His new “All in C” logo puts the 49ers gold pick inside the “C,” allowing the letter and the symbol to coexist rather than having them as two individual elements. Diving deeper into the design, the collegiate-inspired C, with its beveled corners, aggressive stance and 9-degree forward slant reinforces the brand’s promise of fearlessly embracing momentum. Alternate versions of the logo, including a CLT, 49ers and 9ers, also incorporate the gold pick in the C and 9s respectively.
“The pick inside the ‘C’ just makes sense,” Todd says. “Whether you’re a student, alumni, employee or fan, the university is always a part of you – it’s always inside.”
Todd’s experience and perspective were not the only ones considered as the team worked towards the new look. The athletic department and LGA first conducted a thorough brand articulation process that included a discovery session with university leadership; competitive analysis of other schools; and interviews with alumni, donors, coaches, retailers and both current and former student athletes.
“We’ve consulted with as much as of Niner Nation as possible throughout the process,” Todd said. “I hope I’ve been able to give back part of what the university has given to me.”