The New Big Ten Logo – Is it Love?

A few months ago, for our “I’m in Logo Love” series, I wrote about the Big Ten logo,  and how awesome it was. It used negative space in a clever way to show that the Big Ten athletic conference actually had eleven teams. I also mentioned how excited I was to see what they would come up with when the Big Ten added Nebraska to their ranks, changing the number of participating colleges to twelve. (As a graduate of a Big Ten school, I have a vested interest in this topic.) You can see the full blog post here.

Well, the wait is over. This week, the Big Ten unveiled their new logo.

Let’s start with what they where going for in the development of the new logo. The designers, Michael Bierut and Michael Gericke from the design firm Pentagram, say they were symbolizing the conference’s future as well as its heritage. The logo will work in a square format as well as a horizontal format, which will make it flexible for use on networking websites, as well as a header on their own website. And the logo is flexible, in case the number changes again. As Gericke says, “Going forward, fans will know The Big Ten will always be the Big Ten.”

Also, the word “B1G” is designed to stand alone as the symbol, with the “B” for Big, and the numeral 10 following it… but that seems to be asking for people to stretch a bit. Truly – it looks like they stuck a number 1 in the middle of the word. Using 2 colors, like they do on this flash drive, makes it a bit more obvious. (But not enough.)

The new logo – which is being panned in print and on the web almost as badly as the redesign of the GAP logo – has its problems. The use of the negative space is distracting rather than intriguing. The color is more reminiscent of the University of North Carolina than the Big Ten. And it makes no reference to the fact that the Big Ten Conference is made up of 12 teams.

Another approach is the one from the BIGTEN Network. They use a modern font, leaning in a forward motion, with 11 stars running underneath to represent the 11 schools. All they will need to do to update their logo is add the 12th star.

So – am I in logo love all over again? Not so much. The reasons behind the decision, and the pitch all make sense… but when it comes down to how it actually looks? I’m not feeling the love.

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