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An In-Depth Look at the Creation of the New Goin’ Band Logo

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I sat down with band director Duane Hill and Red Raider alum Aaron Smith, the man behind the new logo, to discuss what went on behind the scenes for the new logo, and what it’s like to be a Goin’ Band Drum Major

NCAA Football: Sam Houston State at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

A couple weeks ago, the Goin’ Band debuted a new logo that was designed by Red Raider alum Aaron Smith. I sat down with Aaron and band director Duane Hill to talk about their history with the band and the process of making the logo.

To Entertain

How did the two of you meet?

Aaron Smith: I met Duane during the week before school started. The incoming freshman were getting settled in, and the band was getting prepped for the first show. He was one of the returners that came early to get the freshman started and introduced to the Goin' Band.

Duane Hill: I can't recall the exact time we met, but we met through our experience with Goin' Band and Kappa Kappa Psi (a national service music fraternity). We ended up being roommates and Assistant Drum Majors under director Keith Bearden and Head Drum Majors under director Christopher Anderson.

How did the band’s performance on game day change from the time you started at Tech until the 2 of you had graduated?

AS: I'd say the band was already cooking with gas when I got there. Over the next few years leading up to when Duane and I were drum majors, the football team really started to take off. This meant more big games and more TV time for the band. That really led to us being more of a force as the team went down the field (which happened a lot with the Tech offense). Way more shorter bursts of music between downs, and we could see it have a positive affect on the team. There were several occasions where we saw the players on the field look up, point at the band, wave their arms at the music - they really got into it, and it picked up the energy level even more.

DH: I'm not sure the band's performance on game day changed very much from our tenure in band from 1999-2003, but our opportunities to perform in so many different stadium was extensive. I recall performing/traveling to every Big 12 South school and a couple of Big 12 North schools whether the full band or pep band.

What was your favorite memory from performing at The Jones, and what away game do you remember most?

AS: Favorite memory at a home game was the first time in the tunnel for pregame. 400 band members were getting ready to fly out, and the energy was amazing. So amped.

Second favorite home memory (sorry, had to do 2) was a home game against Texas. Their had been a gentlemen's agreement before the game that neither band would perform a particular song that both bands played - El Toro Caliente. It's a really fast, really fun tune, but everyone thought it best to avoid it turning into a competition. So when the Longhorn band realized their team was about to lose, they started it up. We said it wouldn't be a competition before the game, and we held to our word. It was NO competition. We smoked 'em. Louder. Faster. More intense. More crowd response. Win for the Red Raiders.

My favorite away game was against A&M in 2002. It was about 127 degrees on the field, and the game went into triple overtime. It was just time after time of trading hits with huge play after huge play - with Tech coming out on top (in the game and on the field).

DH: The best part about performing in The Jones our pre-game performance. There is nothing comparable to running out of the tunnels to a roaring crowd of Red Raider fans. A close second is doing the goose-step (the 3 to 5 stride) down the field as a Drum Major.

We were so fortunate to be able to take the full band to every Big 12 South school as well to Colorado and Florida (for a bowl game). The best away trip was to Ohio State. We had to put together a show in one week, took a charter flight to Columbus, Ohio and performed in front of 100,000 people. THAT was unbelievable! The game didn't go so well as it was Maurice Clarett's coming out party, but from a performance point of view, it was unmatched. It was always fun performing in Aggie Stadium as well. Their crowd was always present and receptive. Not to mention we tended to beat their football team a lot during those days.

To Inspire

Duane, at what point did you start to think about a new logo for the Goin’ Band?

I've been thinking about a new logo for a long while. I felt we either mimicked the athletic logo trends or had an ambiguous or general Goin' Band logo that didn't have much meaning. I decided to pursue a new logo in April of 2016 and reached out to several people via various mediums to see who could make my vision come to life. Aaron became the obvious choice once I connected some dots and understood his connection to graphic design/arts and music/Goin' Band. I wanted something clean, timeless and representative of Goin' Band and TTU and I knew he would get it.

Aaron, when Duane approached you about the logo, what were your initial thoughts about a direction for the new logo?

Before we even got into direction and specifics, my first words to Duane were pretty much, "you know I'm doing this." Duane has the unique perspective of being both the director of the band (vision for the future) and an alumni of it (respect for the past). He wanted it to reflect both of those things, so we started there. It was important to make it unique to the Goin' Band (Gaucho hat, movement in the type), and also speak to the details members of the band would appreciate (stripes for the bands I, II, and III).

Aaron, I know how important font is to a designer such as yourself (somewhat from your posts on Facebook). When you were designing the font for this logo, what did you use to determine the ending font style?

AS: We started simple and bold with the type, then customized the lettering to fit into the shield in a dynamic way that was engaging (arc at the bottom). When that was done, it looked perfectly fine - but I felt we were missing an opportunity to make it unique to the Goin' Band. And that's what the key word ended up being - GOIN'. We added in some movement to the lettering to give it more energy and keep it unique to this one band in the country, named for being the first band to travel. It feels fast, powerful, and unique - everything that the Goin' Band reflects on the field.

DH: I originally had two ideas for a logo. The first being what I considered different, but I came to realize the design was very unique and it didn't resonant with me. While doing a leadership camp in south Texas, I saw a student wearing a high school soccer jersey and the soccer shield was red and black and immediately I messaged Aaron to draft something like a soccer shield made popular in European soccer leagues. Another friend sent me images of several US Soccer shields and I was immediately hooked on the idea. From there...Aaron took the reigns and used his skills to sketch some designs. I think Aaron would say I was too involved as I wanted to be 100-percent sure of every aspect from the shading of gray we used to the swooshes on the lettering. I wanted to look at it and know it would stand the test of time. I'm so grateful Aaron was so patient with my requests for modifications and changes. A lot of times I had an idea he knew I would like, but drafted those changes so I could see it for myself. Aaron was a true professional. Although the final version of the logo was done in July of 2016, I wanted to wait to reveal the logo until I presented it to the students at our inaugural Goin' Band Convocation. I thought it was important to reveal to Goin' Band first and then to the general public with #TheReveal presentation.

To Be Excellent

Duane, what can we expect from the Goin Band this season?

Goin' Band this year will have so many diverse shows. Each one is completely different from the next. There will be some shows all fans will immediately connect to from our Star Wars inspired show to our Karaoke at the Jones Show. Some shows are musically challenging for the students while others are just plan fun. Here's a link to our complete show list for 2016

What is the most challenging aspect of being a drum major that the casual fan is not aware of?

AS: Everyone sees the goose step down the field at pregame and the conducting in the field and in the stands. What they don't see is the teaching and leadership that goes into putting together a different show almost every other week and getting 400 students together on the same page, ready to perform every Saturday. It's a ton of work, but worth every bit.

DH: The most challenging part about being a drum major is the behind the scenes responsibility no one sees or even thinks about. The drum majors are so vital in running the day to day operations which includes daily attendance (of 400 students), guiding our leadership team, instructing the band as well as conducting Goin' Band too. In Athletics there is an Operations director. The drum majors are our operations team while also our assistant coaches due to their teaching responsibilities. They are the pinnacle of the core values of our program... To Entertain. To Inspire. To Be Excellent.

Thank you very much to both Aaron and Duane for taking time to give us insight into the Goin Band. Wreck Em Tech!!!