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Oregon Ducks Brand Design


Project Brief

After wrapping up the Denver Broncos identity, NIKE chairman Phil Knight approached the NIKE Team Sports design team and asked for a new futuristic brand for the University of Oregon Ducks. The inherent challenge was to make a team called the ‘ducks’ look cool. More importantly, the goal was to create an image that would attract top tier talent and make the University of Oregon a national title condender.


The Solution

As a former University of Oregon architecture student, Bakas was able to step into the lead designer role on this project and work across multiple NIKE departments to create a forward thinking head-to-toe design package that would grow into one of college football’s most iconic brands.

The graphic language for the University of Oregon features the ‘O’ combining the shape of the university’s legendary track and the shape of Autzen Stadium’s footprint.


The University of Oregon sits on the pacific rim. The school has a large percentage of students coming from Asia and Hawaii. As we dove into the discovery phase, we looked at technological advancements like bullet trains and other futuristic advancements from Japan. NIKE was founded on the track at Oregon by track coach, Bill Bowerman who famously poured rubber composite into his wife’s waffle iron.

NIKE has always excelled at technological advancements in sports. We wanted the University’s identity to represent the connection with sports and technology.

When we were looking at the color scheme, I had an “a ha!” moment while eating lunch out near the lake on the NIKE campus. I was staring at this mallard waddling around trying to figure how to make a duck look cool. The iridescent color of his head reminded me about Chroma-Flair car paint we had seen at the Detroit auto show earlier in the year. That’s the paint that could shift color.

I started playing with the paint on helmets to see if we could get the helmet to emulate a duck’s head. Sure enough, there was a green Chroma-Flair color scheme. We took the dark green and the light green from that Chroma-Flair green color spectrum, and made a dark/light green colorway out of it. We then looked at different yellows in nature. We found one with enough vibrancy to compliment the iridescent green.

Creative Director – Todd VanHorne
Lead Designer – Rick Bakas
Senior Designer – Michael Scheible
Additional Design work by Eric Bodamer
Apparel Designer – David Turner

Oregon Ducks history
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