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Logo History At The University of Kentucky

Writing about logos is not what I thought I'd be doing today, but here we are. I had the random urge to open up the history files to see what the University of Kentucky's logos have been throughout its history, and here is what I came up with.

The University of Kentucky was founded in 1865, but their football program didn't get started until 1892, and the basketball program until 1902. Kentucky has had 4 primary logos and 9 alternative logos over the years.

The University of Kentucky’s athletic teams became known as the "Wildcats" after a football victory over Illinois in 1909. The head of the military department at the school, which was then known as State University, told a group of students the team had fought “like wildcats.” Over time, the nickname stuck and was officially adopted by the university. The earliest logo to be associated with UK and its athletics appeared in 1973.

Primary Logos (1973-Present)

1973-1988: The Wildcats logo from this era features a detailed, snarling head of what looks like a bobcat that is superimposed over the outline of Kentucky.

1989-2004: This version includes the school letters, “UK,” with a full-bodied wildcat standing behind and over the top. Three of his four feet show claws extended, and he looks ferocious, with his mouth open and teeth exposed.

2005-15: In 2005, the Wildcat disappears from the logo, and only the “UK” remains. It’s in a medium blue, with a white outline around each letter, and the whole logo is complete with a thinner blue line.

2016-Present: The current UK logo is close to the same, except the blue is darker and the overlap of the “K” over the “U” isn’t quite as complex and has fewer lines. Some believe it looks similar to the University of Houston's primary logo.

Alternative Logos (1989-2004)

If we're going to talk about alternative logos, we'd be doing a huge disservice to many die-hard Kentucky fans if we didn't mention the most infamous one... the Power K logo.

The Power K logo was used by the football team from 1975 to 1997, and seems to be the most popular logo that the fans often petition for the school to return.

In the other hand, one of the most controversial logos that the university has ever displayed was one that to this date they no longer associate with, or even own. They let the trademark expire I'm assuming because they didn't want it to be associated with the school anymore after an uproar of what some say they saw in it.

It's very obvious that something looks a little different about the tongue, but the school and most everyone did not realize it until many years down the road after using it. A lot of fans will say the tongue reminds them of a male genital part, also referred to as the "UK penis tongue" logo. Some even went as far to say "My Old Kentucky Penis" when naming it. I'll let you decide what you want it to be called, but the fact going forward is that Kentucky no longer considers this one of there logos.

Since the internet era began, there are many unofficial logos to be found by a quick Google search, but be aware, those don't qualify for this post because they weren't official school logos. With all this being said, through the entirety of the university, they've managed to always keep the colors blue and white as a focal point for their logos.

Do you have a personal favorite UK logo? Let us know in the comments of this post.

Sources used:


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