ASU unveils ‘contemporary’ look for Sparky

Two years after a complete overhaul of its logo and uniforms, Arizona State unveiled a new — or updated, anyway — look for mascot Sparky at a press conference on Friday.

In collaboration with Disney, ASU gave Sparky a contemporary look, most notably altering the facial features that had gone largely unchanged since the mascot’s original design in 1946, also by a Disney artist.

The new Sparky has retained the mustache-and-goatee look but has a slightly elongated face, much larger eyes, less ominous eyebrows and black hair and horns rather than the traditional maroon, which coincides with ASU’s recent addition of black to its uniforms (including an all-black uni that has been worn as an alternate the past two seasons). The new look for Sparky also includes a black forearm sleeve featuring a prong from the athletic department’s official pitchfork logo.

According to the school’s official statement, the new Sparky was “designed to engage younger audiences,” as emphasized by a corresponding assortment of comic book-esque illustrations.

ASU athletic director Steve Patterson said during Friday’s announcement that the school’s traditional Sparky trademark, which still features the original Sparky as designed by Disney’s Berk Anthony in 1946, will remain and will not be changed to demonstrate the updates to the mascot.

Sparky has been varied many times over the years since debuting as a mascot in 1952, although none of the previous alterations changed colors or significantly modified facial features.

The new Sparky officially debuts at Arizona State’s spring game on April 13.