MANHATTAN — If it weren’t already evident by their basketball uniforms and the new end-zone design on the Snyder Family Stadium turf, the Kansas State Wildcats are trying to make the “K-State” brand more noticeable than ever.
Those familiar six letters separated by a hyphen are popping up everywhere around athletic facilities these days. K-State officials are using it exclusively in place of other labels, including “Kansas State,” to bring a more consistent look and feel to the promotion of their program.
The same way Connecticut is identified as UConn, Louisiana State as LSU and Southern California as USC, they want K-State to resonate.
“We have a vision that when you see K-State it’s regionally and nationally recognized to mean Kansas State athletics,” said Scott Garrett, assistant athletic director for ticketing and fan strategies. “That’s the mark we want to identify with.”
The Wildcats have used the K-State moniker for years, but never this extensively.
When university president Kirk Schulz announced that the school had decided to use “Kansas State University” as its brand on its website and all academic documents, the athletic department decided to pick a brand of its own.
Garrett remembers fellow administrators asking each other over and over, “Who are we, and how do we want to present ourselves?”
They sent workers across campus to take pictures of every logo and university mark presented to fans at stadiums. They put together two large books of pictures from Snyder Family stadium alone, and the results were eye opening.
“Teams, and others internally, didn’t know which marks were the right ones or how to use them,” Garrett said. “There was no consistency. How do I use the Powercat? Should we use Kansas State or K-State? We had lots of those questions.
“If you go out there, you’ll see a lot of Powercats that are stretched or facing the wrong way or have flames coming off the back of them. We had a mishmash of uses with our logos, and we want to get away from that.”
After some discussion, it was decided that K-State — printed in K-State Sans font — and the classic Powercat logo — printed in PMS 268 purple — were the way to go.
They were easy choices. Football history is associated with the Powercat and the recent success of the men’s basketball team has come with the unmistakably clear “K-STATE” label on the front of its uniform. They offer no confusion for first-time viewers.
K-State created an official style guide to help with transition. Teams and merchandisers know how to match. In it, one can find the five official colors K-State uses — purple, two shades of gray, white and black — and how to give a K-State equestrian shirt the same feel as a K-State football jersey.
The steady conversion has helped K-State staff focus on new projects such as the production of an updated “Cat Train” video at the start of football games and other game-day promotions.
“We want to establish a clear identity,” Garrett said. “This is the best way to do that.”