Cougs Vote

Cougs Vote is an ongoing democratic engagement campaign to help students register to vote, stay aware of upcoming voter deadlines, and become more informed and involved with issues they’re passionate about.

One of the units we support at WSU promotes civic responsibility through this university system-wide initiative. With this whole COVID mess shuttering most end-of-year programs, we took the opportunity to refresh the visual identity.

The previous branding was comprised of two basic assets: The Cougs Vote logo and an illustration we refer to as “Uncle Butch”, the WSU cougar mascot masquerading as Uncle Sam.

A few of the issues associated with these visuals:

  • grungy
  • difficult to read
  • not easy to [screen] print
  • chaotic
  • not welcoming
  • the Butch is a thing nightmares are made of

To create some real separation from the original look, I opted for simple, thick, clean lines and a bold typeface (Gibson). The upward angle invokes the idea of progress while the fin on the bottom visually lends to speech (the freedom of). The “red” is WSU Crimson and I spent a fair amount of time finding the right shade of blue that also pairs with WSU Gray…blue and red are kind of an odd couple. Having a monochrome version will help when printing color is limited for whatever reason.

I worked on additional assets that were shared with users to help bolster whatever kind of promotional work they wished to use. Animated gif that was added to the university Giphy library, background patterns that could be used in presentations or social media graphics, and a shirt design that will be handed out (and shipped?) to students throughout the early fall semester.

Butch is technically property of WSU Athletics, not just WSU proper, so his likeness isn’t freely available for use. The original illustration (above) was approved back in the day and that approval would be grandfathered along onto this piece as long as the image was too much of a deviation from the original.

Using the orig illustration and a few reference photos, I sketched a new Uncle Butch with a more face-forward pose, less aggressive shading, and more fun hat. Because that’s the best part, in my opinion.

Bringing that sketch into the computer I then traced it as vectors and colored him using only 3 colors; the various shades are created by layered blending.