Rebranding the Thunderbirds



Old Hat Sports Branding was thrilled to assist New Mexico Junior College with their complete identity rebrand. After a nearly three month long design process, the completed set of logos was released publicly on August 3rd. Although we are no strangers to assisting clients in a complete overhaul of their brand, this project in particular is special, as it marks our first rebrand under "Old Hat Sports Branding", the subsidiary company we established in April.


When we began the rebrand process, our goal was to transform New Mexico Junior College's vision for their new logo into a set of marks that would honor their traditions, bring unity and consistency to their brand, and would stand the test of time. We began with the most difficult task - illustrating several examples of a Thunderbird - a few full bodied examples, including a version focusing on an outstretched wingspan and several head-focused marks. After talks with the staff at NMJC, it was decided that the head would be the focus of the primary logo. Once the head was chosen as the main focal point, we worked diligently on each and every detail, particularly the feathers and eyes, until it was perfect for our client. One of our favorite features of the mascot head is the subtle yellow thunderbolt shown within.


Director of Branding, Jared Stanley says, "Designing a legendary/mythical creature was a challenge, and it was something that required a lot of research at the beginning of this process. I wanted our interpretation of the Thunderbird to be something the student-athletes, staff members, and supporters of NMJC could wear proudly. Luckily, we had an outstanding client, and we worked closely together each step of the way to get it right."


Here is the complete set of marks for the Thunderbirds:


Primary Mark





Zia Logo





NMJC Mark





NM Mark





Mascot Mark





Mascot with NM





Word Mark





Sports Specific Word Marks













Customized Font (two color versions, featuring regular, italic, and a version featuring spur detailing)



Stanley's favorite of all the marks is the "Zia" mark. The sacred red sun symbol of the Zia people is closely associated with the state of New Mexico, as it is also found on the state's flag. It was also featured on NMJC's previous logo.


Jeremy Capo, Director of Athletics at New Mexico Junior College says, “Working with Old Hat Sports Branding completely exceeded our expectations. The design team was brilliant in their effort to capture exactly what we needed in order to build a solid foundation for the future all while embracing the past history of our institution. Today we have a logo that exudes pride, confidence, and focus while clearly saying who we are. I am truly ecstatic and could not be more thankful to the amazing team at Old Hat.”


New Mexico Junior College will celebrate their 50th year in 2016. Our greatest hope is that this logo serves them well for the next fifty years and beyond.