Vote June 3-14 for Iowa State University’s official tartan plaid

Student News Alumni News
By Cathy Curtis

Iowa State sports official colors, an official mascot — even an official seal. Now members of the Cyclone Nation can cast their ballots to choose the very fabric of Iowa State University — an official tartan plaid.

Given Iowa State’s reputation for student innovation, it’s only fitting that design of the new tartan rests squarely on the shoulders of students.

Designed by students

Iowa State students submitted 15 designs for the contest in May.

“Students who participated in the ISU tartan competition were challenged to create a design that not only represented the ISU community, but was also aesthetically pleasing and marketable,” said Amy Shane-Nichols, a lecturer in apparel, merchandising, and design who coordinated the design competition.

Apparel, merchandising, and design faculty members partnered with ISU marketing and ISU trademark representatives to evaluate the student entries and choose two finalists.

Selection was based on whether the design reflected research on existing registered tartans, how well the work interpreted Iowa State University’s rich history and official colors, and innovative of the design as well as aesthetics, originality, marketability, and alignment with the ISU brand.

“We received 15 high quality entries for the tartan design competition. The entries that were received were narrowed down through a careful review and evaluated based on the criteria outlined in the contest rules,” Shane-Nichols said.

Vote online June 3-14

The apparel program is asking members of the greater Iowa State University community to vote for their favorite tartan. Online voting is open to students, prospective students, alumni, faculty and staff.

Voters can cast their ballots online. Each individual may submit a vote between June 3 and 5 p.m., June 14. The winning tartan and student designer or design team will be announced in August.

The winning entry will be reviewed to verify the uniqueness of the design. If approved, the design will be placed on record in the Scottish Tartans Registry, licensed by Iowa State University Trademark, and woven into official Iowa State University fabric.

Official Iowa State tartan clothing and gear will be available for purchase

Just as members of each Scottish clan show their family allegiance by dressing in the distinct tartan of their kinfolk, sporting the new official plaid will signify the wearer’s pride in belonging to the Iowa State University family.

A variety of products ranging from neckties and scarves to tote bags and blankets will be produced from the tartan fabric. Officially-licensed Iowa State University tartan goods will go on sale in time for homecoming festivities, October 20-26.

Sales will benefit Iowa State students

Purchasing tartan items will help support academic programming in apparel, merchandising, and design.

“The official Iowa State University tartan will provide a unique opportunity for the ISU community to have a recognizable textile and associated products that symbolize the university’s rich heritage,” said Eulanda Sanders, the Donna R. Danielson Professor in Textiles and Clothing and chair of the Department of Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management.

The design competition is sponsored by the Iowa State University Department of Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management, 31 MacKay Hall, 2302 Osborne Drive, Ames, IA  50011-1078, and is funded by the Donna R. Danielson Professorship in Textiles and Clothing in the College of Human Sciences.

Key contacts

Eulanda Sanders, Donna R. Danielson Professor in Textiles and Clothing and chair of Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management, 515-294-7474,

Amy Shane-Nichols, lecturer in Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management, 515-294-6960,

Cathy Curtis, communications director, College of Human Sciences, 515-294-8175,

By Cathy Curtis