There is a website called the helmet project that has teams' different helmets and the years worn.Am completely with you on the cursive "I". *shudder*
IIRC, we used the arc "ILLINI" on the helmets from Blackman's arrival in '71 (or a season afterward... and with those cool, Dartmouth-inspired, dual white stripes while he was our coach) through White's departure in '87, with maybe only a blip for a season when Moeller might have used a blank orange helmet (or maybe not... memory is foggy). That's much longer than we've used the Block "I", I believe.
Older (and wiser) fans can correct me but I don't recall that the program ever used the Block "I" in the pre-'70s eras. I believe we used only blank helmets or helmets bearing jersey numerals. I believe the Block "I" was a purely post-Zook introduction. Beckman (??... again, *shudder*) introduced it and it stuck (like gum to the sole of one's shoe, IMO.) It just reminds me of Indiana's use of the "I", and not in a positive way.
I will be grateful, however, to anyone who can educate me about Illini helmet history and correct my misconceptions.
I'm not very old nor wise but somehow I know this...
Moeller had the slanted "illini" after blackman, minus the dartmouth stripes and had blue facemasks
White initially had grey facemasts with slanted Illini (looks like a chiefs headress in some pics) then to orange facemasks and Chief helmet stickers.
Macovic got rid of slanted Illini so for a year they were plain orange with orange facemasks and no decals except for stripes in the middle, then the ILLINOIS a la NY Giants was adopted.
Under zook, ILLINOIS was modified slightly to have a blue outline
Then I stopped paying close attention for a few years during Beckman and Lovie b/c every game that had something different.
Bielema is at least consistent with orange helmets and white facemasks, albeit with a block I.
On this thread I mentioned someone who came up with some conceptual designs on another thread and he (or she) replied that they created those.
@ TheFlyinIllini 1317, may I ask you post those again so people can take a look? It is an updated version of the slant Illini of 70s and 80s, that I think looks pretty awesome.