Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett became the first Pitt athlete to cash in on the NCAA’s new name, image and likeness policy, as he struck a deal with the Oaklander Hotel in Pittsburgh last week. Now, it appears he has plans to develop his brand, as he filed for a trademark on a logo that incorporates his initials and number.
Darren Rovell of the Action Network revealed the logo and noted that Florida attorney Darren Heitner filed for the trademark on Pickett’s behalf. The logo features a gold “K” and a gold and blue “8.” The gold in the “8” is intended to highlight the letter “P” within the “8.”
Reviews of the logo have been mixed at best. Graphic designers ranging from amateur to professional have panned the design online. Others have noted a passing resemblance to the “K” and “E” in the logo that adorns IKEA buildings. And many have pointed out that “K” and “8” combine to phonetically spell “Kate.” Still, the logo is not without its supporters, as some have responded well to the design.
The logo follows a well-established pattern in sports marketing, as it incorporates initials and a number into the design, like Tom Brady’s TB12 logo, Aaron Donald’s AD99 logo, Chris Paul’s CP3 logo and Robert Griffin III’s RG3 logo. In addition, Pickett is not the first college athlete to adopt a logo, as Wisconsin signal-caller Graham Mertz unveiled a streamlined design that incorporated the initials "GM" in June. The logo was met with positive reviews, and Mertz launched a website where branded merchandise could be purchased.
Despite the online criticism, it seems Pickett has plans for the logo, as he has gone to the trouble to apply for a trademark. With that in mind, it could appear on merchandise in the next couple of weeks, as that was the eventual next step for Mertz. However, Pickett has yet to reveal his specific intentions for the logo.