March 2004: DAPER seeks proposals to develop a new athletic brand. Appearing on department materials, facilities, publications, business papers and related collateral such as uniforms and merchandise, the new brand aims to strengthen the department's image, while seeking a platform that will better enable us to define who we are and communicate our message.

June 2004: Working with the MIT Publishing Services Bureau, DAPER identifies SME Branding of New York to lead the brand initiative. The Institute also considers Phoenix Design Works and The Joe Bosack Graphic Design Company.

SME Sample Client List: Atlanta Hawks/Thrashers, Baltimore Orioles, Boston College, Calgary Flames, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons/Tigers, FIFA, NC State, Orlando Magic, Oakland A's, Penn State, PGA, Purdue, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners/Seahawks, SEC, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Devil Rays/Lightening, Toronto Maple Leafs/Raptors, Florida Panthers, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, MLB, MLL, Jacksonville Jaguars, LA Kings/Sparks, Miami University, NHL, NBA, NFL, New Jersey Nets/Devils, New York Knicks/Liberty/Rangers, Turner Sports, USOC, Washington Wizards, Penn, UNC, Texas, Arizona, Alabama, UConn, Georgia, Maryland, Kentucky.

June 2004: SME travels to MIT and meets with the DAPER Board.

July 2004: DAPER forms a Brand Equity Committee to partner with SME in developing ideas for the project. The committee includes: James Kramer, Richard Brewer, Minerva Tirado, Victor Park and Bill Chuck.

July 2004: A Steering Committee is also formed to guide the direction of the brand as well as articulate DAPER's brand messaging to the MIT community. The Steering Committee includes: Candace Royer, Steve Immerman, John Benedick and Dan Martin.

October 2004: SME visits MIT to lead a Brand-On workshop. The goal of the workshop is to discover MIT's brand essence and dimensions, which will result in a report that will serve as the basis for the development of the new identity. The workshop includes all of MIT's primary stakeholders: alumni, faculty, staff and students. Participants in the workshop include: Stu Schmill, Tom Allen, Barbara Boyton, Regina Dugan, Pamela Dumas Serfes, Dwight Smith, Dawn Gerken, Kim Blair, Tim Poisson, Nicole Heinz, Steve Brown, Paul Lagasse, Tom Graytek, John Essigmann, Sidney Yip, Kim VanDiver, Jack Frailey, Marita Barth, Ben Schmeckpeper, Noelle Kanaga, and Adan Rodriguez.

October 2004: SME conducts Executive Interviews the following day on campus, meeting individually with Phil Clay, Kathryn Willmore, John Curry, Robert Redwine and Mary Callahan.

DAPER's Brand Essence:
Elegant, Brilliant, Calculating, Sedulous, Participatory, Innovative, Prestigious, Unparalleled

December 2004: SME delivers Phase One Brand Identity to MIT that includes over 30 illustrations. The Brand Equity and Steering Committees approve moving forward with two directions, one featuring a beaver, the other the Dome (Phase Two).

December 2004: Students, faculty, staff and alumni give their opinion of the proposed sports logos in focus groups conducted by SME and complete survey's regarding the MIT athletics brand identity. Nearly 100 people participate in the event.

January 2005: An update is given to the DAPER Board. Data gathered from the focus group testing indicates that a majority of the participants responded well to the idea of incorporating a beaver into the final solution (79%). Only one respondent opposed both directions. Ultimately, we were told that the new identity should be fun. It needs to be fast, engaging, athletically marketable and have the ability to create excitement.

February 2005: After multiple internal reviews with members of the Brand Equity and Steering Committees, it is decided that neither of the prepared marks capture the spirit of MIT. SME is asked to come back to MIT to gain better insight about what DAPER seeks in terms of design direction.

February 2005: SME develops another creative phase, with the results reflecting an improved understanding of DAPER's branding needs. All constraints on design are lifted and new guidance is provided to the creative team. Design explorations shouldn't look like any other collegiate athletic identity; design should communicate as much as possible while maintaining a simplistic and sleek design representation; explorations should effectively communicate brand essence; and all design explorations should contain the following elements: MIT, Engineers and the Beaver icon.

May 2005: SME unveils Phase Three to the Brand Equity and Steering Committees. Nearly 60 illustrations are presented to the group, which unanimously praise the work as a sign of great progress. The committee selects five of the marks to move forward for further exploration.

June 2005: The Brand Equity Committee conducts a conference call with SME with the main task of reviewing the five marks and make recommendations to eliminate any designs that are unfavorable or significantly weaker than the others. The Committee agrees on the top two designs, while providing SME with guidance on strengthening the remaining illustrations.

July 2005: The refined marks are delivered to MIT as creative Phase Four and expanded into a family of marks, while DAPER makes plans for another presentation to be delivered to the students in late summer or early fall.

July/August 2005: After speaking with several constituents, members of the Brand Equity and Steering Committees favor including an additional direction that includes a literal representation of the beaver and a more classic look.

August 2005: SME delivers a third direction, meeting the goals of the additional mark.

September 2005: SME delivers a presentation to a group comprised mostly of MIT student-athletes in addition to members of the DAPER Board, SAAC and other department faculty and staff. The goal of the presentation is to engage students in a dialogue that will allow them to determine a single direction that DAPER should pursue for further exploration.

September 2005: James Kramer delivers a presentation to the MIT head coaches with the purpose of extracting as much guidance as possible for the next creative round, as well as to confirm the consensus that was established from the previous student focus group.

October 2005: SME delivers creative Phase 5 with a focus on one direction. For the first time, the brand is extended into a family of marks, specifically addressing application.

November 2005: Creative Phase 5 is presented to the DAPER Board. The response to the new brand is extremely positive, and while the Brand Equity Committee will seek slight modifications to the designs, there is consensus that the creative aspect of the branding project is nearing completion.

November 2005: The Brand Equity Committee meets to discuss modifications to primary and secondary marks, and to begin brainstorming roll-out of the new identity. A conference call between DAPER and SME solidifies the proposed changes, while SME is tasked to complete word marks and a sport specific program.

January 2006: Creative Phase 6 is delivered to the Brand Equity Committee. The brand is expanded into a family of marks to include ligature marks, word marks and an alphabet and numbering system. Phase 6 also addresses specific program application.

January 2006: Candace Royer leads a meeting with the TLO to discuss issues regarding trademark and copyrights.

February 2006: Members of the Brand Equity Committee meet with TLO and the COOP to discuss the sale of the new athletic brand.

March 2006: SME sends DAPER logo production files and the logo standards guide.

May 2006: Brand unveiled to the DAPER Visiting Committee.