Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Universal NO HEADPHONES ICON Unveiled

I just read this:

"Arlington, VA - As race directors struggle with the RRCA guideline against the use of headphones in RRCA insured events along with the USATF ban on headphones at sanctioned events, the RRCA is encouraging race directors to adopt the new universal NO HEADPHONES symbol on race entry forms and race materials. Created by veteran race director, Jim Gerweck, the goal of this universal symbol is to send the message that event directors are serious about the headphone ban at the events they manage."

Let me be 100% clear. I can rationally understand both sides of this argument and have actually spoken to the Exec Dir of the RRCA (albeit briefly) about the matter. But have you seen the logo they unveiled? Get ready.

If you sat in stunned silence, welcome to the club. I am not the most artistically inclined chap in the world but this logo is atrocious. THIS is what they came up with?! My brother made three separate and uniquely cool FIDDY2 logos for me while he sat in traffic one day. He could have used the money they paid Jim to come up with "Frosty the Snowman Wearing Green Muffs" logo.

Not trying to be too harsh here but some people do not take this ban seriously at all. When your logo looks like something you can't wait to replace on the refrigerator door when Johnny actually gets the cast off of his hand and can draw again, it does not help your cause.


KLM said...

I can't believe that is what they came up with. And how bad were the options they turned down in favor of this one?!

Ryan Runs 26.2 said...

Thought it was a bit Kindergarten(ish) myself! Had a good laugh!!!!

klottey4 said...

I actually think it isn't so bad. It is simplistic (very much so), colorful (to hopefully catch peoples' attention), and gets the point across. All symbols that are meant to get a message across are simple like that. I agree, the head is awful, but it is clearly understood what the message is.

Dane said...

Do adults need color to catch their eyes? Does the race complying with a sanction need a logo?

This could be far more simple.

klottey4 said...

Yes, adults need color. It pops more than B&W, and when you are trying to establish a new sanction, you need all the "pop" you can get.

Yes, they probably also need a logo. When something is new, and the former way had been there for solong, it is hard to get people to follow it. People often read words, but don't pay attention because they are different in each race contract. Not everyone can read, not everyone chooses to read the fine print, not everyone has done so many races that they just know what is being said in the fine print.When you are seeing the exact same (ugly) picture across race applications, you are much more likely to follow them.

At the Miami marathon, I had read you couldn't wear headphones, Heather didn't. It was embedded in a bunch of language, and wasn't even included in any of the directions in the race packet. She wanted to take her headphones, and I didn't want mine taken away. She convinced me to take them and I was glad I did. Thousands of people were wearing them, although I know that wasn't what they wanted.

Dane said...

You honestly think that Heather would have not worn the headphones, an instrument she was probably relying on for inspiration to get her though, if she saw Satanic Frosty with his Green Muffs? You just proved she didn't care. The wording had no affect and neither would this logo.

Besides, the earphone decree is in no way fine-print. It is being screamed just as loudly as the course elevation profile. Runners forums are abound with discussion on it. People choose races that do not abide by it simply for that reason.

Not everyone can read but not everyone can figure out what the hell that logo means either. In Africa they had to change therGerber baby label because packaging there usually reflects what is IN the product. So "Liquified White Baby" wasn't selling too well.

And I am willing to be that the logo changes quickly or if it is reproduced, those colors will go away.

Dane said...

As an aside, look at what some runners are saying here:


Unknown said...


Interesting note. i was in a seminar at the Running USA conference yesterday. Turns out the ban on headphones was not because of safety but was designed to prevent trainers from giving elite athletes tips as they rune (of course rabbits and pacers are allowed, funny). Everyone assumed it was safety. Also USATF stood at the conference and let everyone know that if runners run with headphones it does not impact their insurance status.

katie said...

Hey Dane,

Knowing Jim, and based on the article quote you posted, I would be surprised if he was paid to create that logo. (Don't know if that makes you feel any better or not.)

Dane said...


Let me be clear, Jim may very well be an excellent person and a wealth of running knowledge but the logo is not good.

lizard42195 said...

I agree with klottey4. It's simple and gets the point across, like No Smoking and Pedestrian Crossing signs. I suppose if you were illiterate, you might take it to mean no earmuffs or ear protection allowed. Or, "As you approach the finish, you won't see one of those guys with hearing protectors waving light wands like when an airplane approaches the gate." Let's see...I think I would've drawn a runner running past a course marshal, oblivious to the course marshal's yelling and waving in the direction of the finish.

Miami doesn't allow headphones? Funny, the day after I ran it in 2006, I saw a poster advertising it in a Publix store. Ms. Poster Girl was wearing headphones. I took out a Sharpie and wrote "No headphones!" next to her head.

Dane said...


No smoking just has a lit cigarette with a slash through it. Not some guy, relaxing in a barcolounger, with a half drank 6-pack of Schlitz smoking a cigarette. It's not simple. that's the point.

And just b/c a race doesn't allow them doesn't mean people won't wear them.

lizard42195 said...

I was being facetious about what I would've drawn. Gerwick's icon IS simple, just like the No Smoking Icon, and it gets the point across at a glance. If the picture were a simple outline of an IPOD with earbud wires, with a slash over it, people might think, "Hmm, are those e-stim units they're not allowing? Or continuity testers? Or maybe heart rate monitors?"

Of course someone will always try to get away with wearing headphones, but then they'd better not whine about it if they get DQ'd.

Dane said...

It doesn't have to be an iPod (or anything else for the poor souls to be confused). Just headphones. Like the cigarette. That is what is simple. Not the Jack in the Box Logo with catatonic blue eyes wearing lipstick and earmuffs.

I agree. Not the point of this blog but I agree. Like it or not that is the rule. And fighting it is not like Kathrine Switzer fighting the no women allowed rule in Boston 4o years ago.

Unknown said...

"Stunned silence"? Much ado about nothing.