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Public input sought for Fighting Hawks logo development, 'Nothing SME does is in isolation,' design firm says

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- The design firm working to create University of North Dakota's Fighting Hawks logo is holding open forums in Grand Forks. The public is invited to attend a meetings at 6 p.m.Tuesday in the Empire Arts Center and at 11:30 a.m....

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- The design firm working to create University of North Dakota's Fighting Hawks logo is holding open forums in Grand Forks.

The public is invited to attend a meetings at 6 p.m.Tuesday in the Empire Arts Center and at 11:30 a.m. Thursday in the Memorial Union Ballroom. The second meeting is primarily for UND students, faculty and staff, but members of the public are also invited.

Conor O'Flaherty, director of brand strategy and development at SME Inc., which was chosen to design the Fighting Hawks logo, said being inclusive and getting feedback from the community is a very important part of his company's plan.

"It's about understanding the brand and understanding who the Fighting Hawks are," he said. "Nothing SME does is in isolation. It's done through the lens of the brand, the players, the fans and the athletes, and in order for this to be successful, we have to encapsulate that."

At the meetings, SME representatives will discuss the design process and ask for ideas and thoughts about the Fighting Hawks identity but not for specific logo designs.

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The controversial UND Fighting Sioux nickname was retired in late 2012 after the NCAA barred members from using Native American imagery. UND's Fighting Hawks name was announced in November after several votes took place.

O'Flaherty said SME recognizes the importance of the Fighting Hawks identity encompassing the whole state of North Dakota.

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