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A New Era, and Look, for USA Fencing

11/12/2015, 7:15am CST
By USA Fencing President Donald K. Anthony Jr. and Executive Director Kris Ekeren

Today is the beginning of a brand evolution for USA Fencing. Over the past several months, we have worked diligently with the marketing committee and the board of directors to refresh the identity of our association, and the sport, so we can reintroduce our mission to the world.

The result of this hard work is a new character and personality for USA Fencing that builds upon a solid foundation of many years, and positions us to grow our sport in the future. A new logo and tagline are at the forefront of this evolution, developed through careful research, planning, execution and feedback from committee members, athletes and various stakeholders from throughout USA Fencing. Overwhelmingly, our new look was met with enthusiastic acceptance, and it is exciting to roll this out to you, our membership, and to the world today.

Through these efforts, we are looking to spark enthusiasm with existing fencers, reach new athletes and introduce them to the sport we love, and broaden the sport’s impact around the nation. Accompanying the new logo is a new tagline: Engage. Engage is a multidimensional message that evokes the energy, determination and humanity of fencing, the spirit it moves within us and our shared commitment to broaden the sport’s impact. We are also seeking to interact more with you and foster two-way dialogue at events, on our social media channels and in our member clubs. Overall, the new identity is an invitation for those not as familiar with our sport to take a look and engage.

Now, a logo and tagline does not make a brand. Our brand is what you think of the association and the direction we are taking. It is our hope that you feel a sense of excitement and optimism that the sport of fencing is headed in the right direction.

As was said since the development of our strategic plan in 2013, marketing was going to be a primary focus of how we grow the sport. Our efforts so far have resulted in giant leaps forward for the look and identification of USA Fencing. As you can see, the new logo is similar to a badge; one that we can all wear with pride and honor for our sport and our country.

Together, the logo and the tagline give us a wide breadth of opportunities to move forward and position USA Fencing as a progressive, innovative, modern association.

We know there are questions about the new identity. Here are five of the most common questions we heard as we worked with constituents from throughout the organization on the development of this new look, along with responses: 

Why is this change happening?

A new look and feel elevates the identity of the association and shows we are moving forward. USA Fencing has evolved over the years since our previous logo was developed, and the time was right for an update. The sport needs to grow in order to progress. Our research shows that most fencers in the United States participate for recreational purposes. They may participate in regional events, but overall they view fencing as a great way to compete, stay active and be involved for a lifetime. As an Olympic sport, we also have elite athletes who represent the association at international competitions. A brand evolution was needed to have conversations with these diverse audiences.

What does the new logo represent?

There are several aspects represented in the new logo. First, the three red bars in the bottom right corner represent the three weapons―épée, foil and saber―used in fencing competition. The shield defines the footprint of our identity and provides a foundation. The red, white and blue color palette remains the same, yet the elements stand on their own and do not overlap. Finally, the fencer silhouette is similar to the previous logo, and transitions from red back to white (as it was two logo generations ago) to represent the proud uniform of fencing.

Why launch a brand evolution now?

As we head toward 2016 and the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, it is the perfect time to introduce, and establish, a new identity. Fencing will be very visible during the Olympics, and potential participants will visit our website to learn more about getting involved. What they will see when they visit our site is a modern, professional organization. Plus, we are one of 47 USOC sports, and a new visual identity can help us stand out in an Olympic year.

Along with the new identity, we are introducing a contemporary online store, which will support our association via merchandise sales.

How was this brand evolution developed?

Working with CMD, an integrated marketing agency whose president is two-time Olympic fencer Phil Reilly, we went through a full discovery process to define who we are, what we stand for and how to best represent our core values. The process was streamlined, cost-effective, and very valuable. Over the next several months, you’ll see us be fiscally responsible as we begin to phase in the new look.

Who made the final decision on the logo?

After much deliberation and input, the USA Fencing board of directors provided the final approval for the brand refresh.

Our board and the USA Fencing staff are excited about the evolution of our organization going forward, and we want to use this as a rallying point to attract new participants and better serve existing members.

What do you think? Share your feedback, and if you’re interested in purchasing merchandise with the new logo, visit the new online store.

Tag(s): News