The US Open Tennis Championships took the difficult step of replacing its long-standing logo, but found that introducing a new insignia better served its brand in a variety of ways.

Nicole Kankam, managing director/marketing at the United States Tennis Association, discussed this subject at BRITE 2019, an event held by The Center on Global Brand Leadership at the Columbia Business School in New York.

“I think for any brand, or any company, that’s thinking about a logo redesign, you really have to have compelling reasons, because it’s a massive undertaking,” she said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How the US Open Tennis Championships served up a new logo.)

Research identified such a reason, as the US Tennis Championships’ former insignia – a mash-up of a tennis ball, flames, a red swoosh, and a serif font – had low awareness despite 20 years of usage.

“It was 9%, which is not very high,” said Kankam. “That was sad to see. And we even probed deeper to find out, among tennis fans to see if the awareness went up any higher, [and] it only [rose] to about 15%.”

Developed with design and branding agency Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, the new logo – which launched in 2018 – abandoned the swoosh and fused the other two pictorial elements, as well as using a lower-case sans serif typography.

Alongside retaining a clear nod to tennis, and thus avoiding confusion with the US Open golf tournament, the new logo helped the brand in ways that its former emblem was struggling to achieve.

“More and more,” Kankam said, the old logo “just was not working in digital and social and mobile applications. So it was time for us to sort of think about [an update].”

The new insignia could function effectively across every touchpoint, too. “We needed a logo that was going to work well in broadcasting, in digital, in social media, and mobile applications,” she asserted.

Another feature of the new logo was an adaptability for use in reaching different audiences, reflecting a key goal for the annual tennis competition.

“We wanted something that would really be premium, but also appeal to younger audiences,” Kankam said. “We’re trying to widen and broaden the fan-base of the US Open, and our logo was really critical to doing that.”

Sourced from WARC