Brand image is a massive part of modern 21st century business and college footballis big business.
Signature uniforms like the Sooners or Cowboys, unique hand signals or historic mascots like Bevo help separate one team from the next in the Big 12 with clarity. Fans identify with these brand images and it helps build value — or brand equity — for every program in the nation.
However, official school logos have been and will always be the simplest and most important way for a college program to classify and separate itself from its peers. Some change dramatically over time while others are literally set in stone for decades. Some are edgy, exciting and extremely busy while others are clean, classic and simple.
Every college football program in the nation has an official logo — and some are better than others — and the goal is to be the most recognizable brand in the nation.
And since Athlon Sports has been designing the best looking magazines on newsstands for the better part of half a century, we'd thought we'd turn our senior graphic design guru loose on college football's logos. Here is what is Art Director Matt Taliaferro has to say about the Big 12's football logos:
“The Big 12 football logos largely reflect the blue-collar toughness of its gridiron reputation: tough and no nonsense. And Texas easily leads the way on the Plains with a logo that is to college sports what the Nike Swoosh is to athletic wear. I don’t know if there’s a higher compliment a designer can bestow, so I’ll stop there.
“Oklahoma, West Virginia and Baylor go straight old school with strong symmetrical initials (always welcome as the safest collegiate default setting) while TCU shows Pitt over in the ACC how arched, serif’d type should be handled. OSU has successfully upgraded to a slanted, contemporary look that retains some classic block-letter charm. And while Kansas State’s wildcat graphic is nowhere near what Texas pulled off, it works — though there is an Arena Football League element that gives pause.
"Elsewhere, Iowa State continues to search for a mark that “fits” (is it the colors?), though they’re closer than ever; Kansas’ Looney Tunes magpie has tradition on its side, but little else. It’s time for a redesign in Lawrence that goes beyond “KU” or “Kansas” spelled out in Trajan; Lastly, Texas Tech is in worse shape than the Jayhawks, with stacked beveled “T’s” that reek of the 1980s’ obsession with 3-D. Take a lesson from the kids in Austin and College Station: Simplicity makes a logo easy on the eye as well as effective.”
Big 12 Official Football Logo Rankings
Arguably the best logo in college football, the Longhorn is classic, simple, unchanging but also unique and creative. There is nothing else to say.
All of Kansas State's design work, color scheme and uniforms are underrated and the logo is the same. Aggressive, stylish but yet still fairly simple and clean.
There is no doubting what the interlocking "O" and "U" stand for, right? The smooth lines and lack of extras in the font make this a fantastic logo.
When it comes to creativity, this one gets high marks for the way the letters have been worked together without putting too much flair into the design. It also reminds fans of the WVU landscape as well.
The letters are uniquely combined and the font is solid. The grey outline isn't the best and gives this logo a third unneeded color.
The block font will always be in style and the arched type works best with three letters rather than four or more. An underrated logo.
The power "I" and arched State are very unique across all of college football. But nothing can be done about the color scheme.
The big-T, little-T combo is pretty cool but this logo is extremely busy. Beveled font and three different colors don't exude tradition.
Normally, block lettering is great but the Bears' font is just a little off and seems a bit antiquated. The color scheme isn't the best but is used well.
The cartoon Jayhawk is a signature logo but doesn't really create an intimidating image in any sense of the word. And why is it dancing?
2013 Big 12 Team Previews