Tinker Hatfield: Storytelling and Design

The man behind the O featured in new Netflix series

On Friday, Netflix launched a new documentary series, "Abstract: The Art of Design," profiling eight of the world's preeminent designers. Among those featured: Legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield, a 1977 architecture graduate of the UO.

Hatfield, 64, is best known for designing athletic shoes for Nike, most notably Air Jordans. Among “sneakerheads” — a subculture that collects and obsesses over basketball shoes — Hatfield is a legend. GQ magazine dubbed him the “The Michael Jordan of Designing Jordans.”

But Hatfield’s fingerprints are also all over the University of Oregon.

He designed our distinctive “O” logo, using two familiar campus landmarks for inspiration. The inside shape of the O is shaped like the track at Hayward Field; the outer edge of the O is shaped like the rim of Autzen Stadium.

He’s been heavily involved in design work for our athletic teams, including the distinctive “Deep in the Woods” graphic that covers the basketball court at Matthew Knight Arena. And he just finished designing a new Oregon license plate featuring the Oregon Duck.

Oregon, Hatfield said, is “not like every other school. And it is more about the future and less about the past.”