Kansas Jayhawks Logo

Kansas Jayhawks LogoKansas Jayhawks Logo PNG

The Kansas Jayhawks logo clearly indicates a readiness to compete for top places in sports. It intimidates opponents, sets the team up for serious challenges, commands respect, and motivates success. The simple yet vivid image serves as a mascot for the teams, emphasizing their connection to the locale where the university is situated.

Kansas Jayhawks: Brand overview

Kansas Jayhawks are also referred to simply as KU because this acronym prominently features on the team’s clothing. The sports department belongs to the University of Kansas, located in Lawrence, comprises 16 men’s and women’s teams, is part of the Big 12 Conference, and plays in the NCAA Division I. Its most successful representatives are basketball, football, and baseball players. The mascot is a mythical bird. Historically, it represents not one but two birds: the blue jay and the sparrow hawk.

Meaning and History

Kansas Jayhawks Logo History

The original design of the Kansas Jayhawks logo didn’t emerge immediately: it was drawn in 1912 by cartoonist Henry Maloy, a student working for the university newspaper. His style significantly influenced the logo: it was cartoonish – lacking details but full of character. Besides the anthropomorphic bird, the emblem featured the intertwined abbreviation “KU” with a daisy at the bottom, as the flower was then considered a symbol of Kansas. The bird itself is a hybrid of two birds, including the noisy blue jay and the cunning sparrow hawk.

The first notable change to the logo dates back to 1929, when the bird gained distinct wings, formidable spurs, and an uncompromising character. The iconic image was radically modified again in 1946 to convey the spirit of the university perfectly. The typography was refined by Jim Wilcox in 1996. He introduced curved lines to the letters, making them more dynamic and imbuing them with symbolic meaning: the elongated leg of the “K” represents the hill at the main campus in Lawrence. The bird’s footwear was a gift from its first creator: Henry Maloy drew the boots as a threat to opponents. His idea was for the mythical creature to kick competitors painfully.

What is Kansas Jayhawks?

Kansas Jayhawks refers to the sports teams belonging to the University of Kansas in Lawrence. They are formed from students who participate in the intercollegiate program and are members of the NCAA Division I and Big 12 Conference. Overall, the department consists of 16 teams: 8 women’s and six men’s. Their name originates from the militia of the American Civil War and is historically connected with local settlers. The mascot is a bird that combines a sparrow hawk and a blue jay.

1912 – 1919

Kansas Jayhawks Logo 1912

The logo features a caricature of a semi-anthropomorphic bird, as its upper part looks normal, but the lower part does not. It has long human legs in boots. To make the footwear more prominent in the drawing, Henry Maloy colored it red. The artist made the bird’s beak yellow and its plumage blue with white unpainted areas. These appeared due to the drawing style: the body, wings, and tail are applied with chaotic lines that do not connect in some places, leaving these white spots.

1920 – 1922

Kansas Jayhawks Logo 1920

In 1920, the Jayhawk image became more realistic. A traditional-looking bird sits on the upper stroke of the “K” in the “KU” monogram. It is still colored blue and yellow, but it no longer wears boots. The red moved to the abbreviation. The plumage of the Jayhawk-sparrow hawk symbiosis is distinct, highlighted by thin white strokes.

1923 – 1928

Kansas Jayhawks Logo 1923

Two sophomores (Jimmy O’Bryon and George Hollingbery) proposed a new version of the Kansas Jayhawks logo, which again dominates in a cartoonish style. The structure and color scheme remained the same: the picture depicts the Jayhawk – a mysterious creature combined with two birds. It has a blue body, a redhead, a yellow beak, and sports shoes on its feet. The bird is turned to the left and drawn in profile. Its wings and tail are not emphasized, unlike the inscription, which is enhanced with contrasting highlights.

1929 – 1940

Kansas Jayhawks Logo 1929

Forrest O. Calvin depicted a somber bird with a menacing look, achieved through a white eye without a dark pupil. The artist removed almost all contrasting strokes, retaining basic colors: blue, red, and yellow. Their combination remained only on the legs (resembling socks), head (around the eye area), and beak (a single stroke at the end). The bird gained powerful spurs to intimidate opponents in the sports arena further. The “KU” monogram is placed horizontally and rendered in bold font.

1941 – 1945

Kansas Jayhawks Logo 1941

The author of this logo, Gene “Yogi” Williams, opened the bird’s beak and eyes, giving it a sporty look. Fans nicknamed it Angry Jayhawk for its combative mood, muscularity, decisiveness, and readiness to meet even the fiercest opponent. This version laid the foundation for the familiar emblem known today. Moreover, the designer significantly altered the typography: he changed the inscription from red to white to make it stand out clearly against the blue background.

1946 – 2005

Kansas Jayhawks Logo 1946

The university’s administration considered the previous Kansas Jayhawks logo excessively aggressive and held a competition. It was won by student Harold D. Sandy, who turned the bird to the right, added friendliness to its gaze, and drew a smile. For his victory, he received $50. The university registered the copyright for the new emblem in 1947. Jim Wilcox altered the font in 1996: he transitioned it from a playful design to a classic one.

2005 – today

Kansas Jayhawks Logo

The emblem gained expressiveness through enhanced shades. Each color was significantly refined to the desired brightness, eliminating dullness and adding depth. The font was also modernized: it is now linked to authenticity, as the elongated leg of the “K” represents the hill at the main campus in Lawrence and conveys inner movement. Otherwise, the logo remained the same.

Font and Colors

Kansas Jayhawks Emblem

In the latest emblem of the Kansas Jayhawks, the abbreviation on the bird’s body is rendered in the Trajan font – a soft serif with thin serifs. In earlier logos, a grotesque font predominates, with all letters made in a geometric style.

Kansas Jayhawks Symbol

Blue and crimson red were officially approved in the spring of 1896. Yellow was added later and became complementary. It perfectly balances the bright palette, adding liveliness and realism. Red here signifies the peak of emotions that flare up in the stadium. Blue conveys loyalty. Yellow symbolizes superiority.