College Football Helmet Decals

For my historical ephemera project, I decided to use a small collection of college football helmet decals that I have obtained while working with NC State football since 2013. It is sort of an unwritten tradition, but usually student managers (like myself) trade some of our old gear/helmet decals with other schools when we play. In addition to networking with others in our profession, it allows people like us to collect mementos of our time with our respective teams. While I haven’t been a student manager for a very long time, swapping helmet decals with 10-13 schools for 3 seasons has produced a pretty sizable and interesting collection.

FSU decals (top-2013. Bottom-2015)

FSU decals (top-2013. Bottom-2015)






Wake Forest (2014) and Louisville (2015)







NCSU Decals from 2013-2015

NCSU Decals from 2013-2015

Creative Specs:

For the decals, I really didn’t worry too much about capturing different angles, as they’re all pretty much the same thing. Since the collection is fairly large and the decals vary in shapes and sizes, I used a coffee table at my apartment as a way to get them all into one shot. I choose to do close ups on a select few, namely an NCSU one, one similar in decal production (VT one) and one with a different decal production (Louisville).

Technical Specs:

Iphone 6 Camera was used.

Featured Photo- 115 KB

NCSU decals- 94 KB

FSU Decals- 69 KB

Wake and UL- 64 KB

Coffee table used as a method to bring all decals together for a “group photo”. The NCSU, Wake/UL and FSU decals were chosen individually for a close up shot and a compare/contrast between previous years and other teams’ looks.

Historical Significance:

Each decal is from a team that NC State has played from 2013-2015. I do not have a decal from every team in this era, as some teams did not want to trade or I did not bother to collect a duplicate from a conference member. Personally, they bring back memories of past games and places I have had the privilege of attending, including national powerhouses Florida State and Clemson. Historically, you can notice how the brands and imagery portrayed by athletic programs each year have changed. For example, NCSU was a small, red block “S” logo when I started. Now, a strutting wolf, a white block “S”, a slightly larger red block “S” and an American flag decorated block “S” have been added to my collection. NC State, along with many other athletic teams, continue to search for creative and non-traditional methods to attract new consumers and recruits to their program.

Pedological Implications:

Sports, especially at the college level, have evolved from an amateur pastime to a multi-million dollar industry. The details and effort put into branding one’s teams can be illustrated through logos such as these decals.  This can also be illustrated in the gear used by today’s athletes, as the once crude, simple leather helmets have now been replaced with a hard plastic, padded helmet that can protect against specific blows to the head. Typography, the art and technique of designing letters and images, can be analyzed through these decals. The digitalization of graphic design and logos has reached levels that previous designers could have not imagined, and it can be seen in everything from advertisements to decals on college football team uniforms.

Written by ldblanke

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