Search Shop

Two Byrds, One Logo

Clemson Logo

Two Byrds, One Logo

Ben Winterrowd

Golf, success, and tradition are synonymous at Clemson. One of the most decorated athletic programs in Tigertown, the golfing Tigers have been to 41-straight NCAA Tournaments, won seven NCAA Regional Championships and secured the 2003 National Championship. While the Paw is one of the most unique and recognizable logos in the world, enhancing such a historic golf brand was a project that Head Coach Jordan Byrd had the vision to seek, and he didn’t need to look outside his own family for the perfect resolution.

Jordan played collegiately at nearby Furman University, but his younger brother, Jonathan Byrd, was a three-time All-American at Clemson and one of the most decorated golfers in program history. Jonathan was a four-time All-ACC honoree and a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American.

Jonathan took drawing classes when he was in middle school but didn’t pursue it as much in high school because it conflicted with golf.

“It was something I did a lot until middle school, maybe a little bit in high school,” Jonathan reflected. “I kind of wanted to be an architect early on, but golf and going to college and doing architecture, those things never worked.”

“When I was younger, I drew a lot and whenever I drew, I would stick my tongue out like Michael Jordan and then I started doing it with my golf game when I putted. It kind of started when I was drawing because I would get lost in it. I probably need to do it [draw] more just so I can turn my brain off from worrying about golf.”

Jonathan has a keen eye for detail, which has helped him on the course and when he draws.

“I’m not a graphic artist; I’ve always just been someone who draws what he sees. I can’t just draw something out of my head. I like taking something and drawing exactly what it looks like.”

Jonathan recalls Jordan calling him when he first became head coach at Clemson about the idea of developing a golf specific logo.

“I asked my brother, who loves drawing, but he doesn’t do it much anymore. But I kind of convinced him to give it a shot,” Jordan said smiling.

“Jordan called me when he became the head coach and we started talking about it, just having a golf team logo would be fun for the guys was kind of the main thing. You see a lot of other golf programs just have a golf logo. He asked me about it, and I probably put it off for six months. It was a long time. I was almost intimidated by it, not thinking I could draw something good or something someone would think is cool.”

After procrastinating for a while, Jonathan began sketching for two or three months without his brother knowing.

He recalled drawing inspiration from Aaron Blaise, a Disney graphic artist who drew Rajah the Tiger from Aladdin.

“I just started drawing stuff to get ideas. I kept doing it more and more […] to the point where I thought it might be presentable. I showed my brother some stuff and he would give me feedback.”

There were some photos of former Tigers Lucas Glover and Charles Warren that Jonathan remembers trying to emulate.

“I drew one of Lucas’ body with a tiger head on it and thought it might be cool if it looked like him, because he had won the U.S. Open. It looked like Lucas, but the Tiger didn’t look cool, and it looked awkward. I drew one of Charles Warren and then one that kind of looked like Tiger Woods. Doing one of him [the tiger] swinging was harder to do so then I messed around with this picture of Tiger Woods where he is leaning on a club, and he looked intimidating.”

“There’s one main picture of Tiger where he is leaning on a club and that is where it started. I kept working on what my tiger would look like in the face where he would have a realistic look but also not too much like a comic.”

“After about five or six iterations of his drawings, it kept getting better and better and better,” recalls Jordan.

There was a specific look that both Jonathan and Jordan wanted to achieve, and neither was going to stop until they reached it.

“In the beginning, I’d seen a lot of logos, and some looked kind of cheesy,” Jonathan recalled. “I wanted him to look like he was standing on the first tee and ready to kick some butt. I felt like that could represent Clemson Golf.”

“From start to finish it probably took four to five months before we had something we thought we could work with.”

The process for creating a logo can be long and tedious, but they had help along the way. Jordan brought the idea and the drawings to Tim Match, Clemson Athletics’ chief revenue officer.

“I brought it to him [Tim] and showed him and he was like, ‘This is really cool. We need to do this, and this is how we should do it.’”

Jordan and Jonathan took the sketch and presented it to an outside company that could develop it into the logo they both envisioned, bringing it to life.

At this point, Jonathan’s time commitment, combined with his love for Clemson and the golf program, made him a bit nervous about unveiling his work.

“The company that helped was very flexible, and they knew we wanted to get it right,” said Jonathan. “They just kept doing it until we got it to where we wanted it. Knowing my personality, we weren’t going to stop until we got it just right.”

Jonathan was proud, but still hesitant.

“I felt like it was mine, you know?” Jonathan clarified. “It wasn’t like I didn’t want anyone else to see it, but I wanted to be protective of it. If I wasn’t happy with what someone produced, I didn’t want to go with that. I just wanted to get it right.”

Jonathan knew there was a fine line between a final drawing and the finished product.

“Once you draw something there’s way too much detail,” explained Jonathan. “If you look at any good logo, you can’t have all the detail you would have in a sketch.”

Creating something that could be printed small and still capture what they were going for was key – and that mission was accomplished.

Jordan and Jonathan began by using the logo internally and for the program to produce hoodies and hats for the team to wear to tournaments. They even put the logo on the back of the Clemson team van.

Jonathan feels a sense of pride as he sees the logo starting to populate.

“When I see pictures of the team and they’ve got their hoodies on with it or their hats. My son is a junior golfer, so junior golf parents will ask where they can buy it. That all makes me know that it was worth the effort.”

“I’m excited about it because I think it embodies our team and our program,” said Jordan. “The Tiger looks tough, strong, and confident. It’s some of the attributes that I want our team to embrace.”

The goal was to eventually take it to the masses, and that’s what they have started to do. Aside from the team and program alumni, Jordan uses the logo for Golf Paws – a program which strives to provide a mechanism that encourages and enables support of the Clemson golf programs to help maintain its place in college golf as a perennial national championship contender.

“That’s the trick moving forward is how we can use this logo to benefit the team and how we can use it to raise money to benefit the golf program,” said Jonathan. “That was the hope in the beginning.”

By the fall of 2022, Clemson fans and alumni could already donate to the golf programs and receive specific gear tied to giving levels with the golfing Tiger prominently featured.

Jonathan reflected on some of the insecurities he felt coming to the surface during the process and his nerves about starting something that people thought might stink.

“I’m just happy that people think it looks cool,” said Jonathan with a laugh. “That’s really it. I have it on my golf bag now out on tour and every day someone comes by and says, ‘Wow that’s a cool logo. Where’d you get that?’ I’m proud to say I designed that.”

The logo excites Jordan for how such a simple idea has elevated the brand of a proud program.

“It’s even better that one of our best players, ever, designed it for us and for our program.”