College Football 2013: Ranking the Pac-12's Logos

Who has the best football logo in the Pac-12?

Brand image is a massive part of modern 21st century business and college football is big business.

Signature uniforms like the Bruins or Trojans of Los Angeles, picturesque landscapes in Seattle and the Bay Area or historic mascots like Colorado's Ralphie help separate one team from the next in the Pac-1w2 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 newstands 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 Pac-12's football logos:

"The Pac-12 is filled with university logos that run the gamut of old-school class to (being brutally honest) new-school trash — with a little of everything in between. The traditional “blocks” of the conference — Stanford, USC, Washington … and OK, I’ll throw Oregon in there — are clean, bold and sure. Arizona, Colorado and Utah bring a graphic touch to this same concept, and thus, are effective (especially Colorado). Even UCLA, with its classic script — used in a way that shouldn’t work, but does — is a standout. The one “classic” logo that could use a tweak or two resides in Pullman, where WSU’s logo always struck me as a reach as amalgams are concerned.

"Then comes the trendy kids in the class that were wearing boot-cuts last month but are in skinny jeans now. Cal and Oregon State recently jumped on the slick, cartoon-art that will be seen as “faddish” within a decade, while Arizona State’s new trident logo brings an interesting, if not odd, update to the former Sun Smurf character. And then there’s Oregon State. Good God, where to begin? That aero-beaver will be changed quicker than they swap out unis down the road in Eugene."

Pac-12 Official Football Logo Rankings


  School Logo Thoughts
1. Washington Simple, tasteful, unchanging and very obvious. This emblem with its signature gold trim is one of the best in the nation and leaves little doubt as to what it represents.
2. UCLA The script "UCLA" is one of the most well-known logos in all of sports much less college football. And the way the word Bruins is incorporated makes it one of the most informative in the nation while still being fairly simple.
3. Stanford Michigan State and NC State know exactly what the smart kids from Palo Alto were thinking when this logo was created. It's classic and simple with a touch of style in the stroked white/red trim. Stanford boasts one of the best brand logos in the nation.
4. Colorado The Buffs logo balances all of the key aspects to a company logo. It's simple and classic but with just enough style and flair while also being incredibly unique. 
5. Oregon It doesn't get any simpler than the Oregon "O." There is some subtle style to the font that makes it cooler than the average "O." The clean classic look works but some yellow trim might make it the best in the league.  
6. USC The interlocking "S-C" is as famous as any logo in the nation and would likely be the best in league if not for the floating "Trojans." The team nickname doesn't look bad but isn't needed for a major brand like USC.
7. Arizona It's a clean, classic logo that hasn't needed upgrading for years. The use of two fonts is a bit odd but the two-tone, two-layered "A" leaves little doubt as to what this logo represents.
8. Washington State Anyone who has watched College Gameday knows about this logo. It is creative in an effort to combine the W-S-U with the Cougar head emblem. It is busy and complicated but very solid nonetheless.
9. Utah The standard block U is great and the school did an excellent job to incorporate Ute Nation into the look. However, the circle has an outdated helmet feel to it. An upgrade could make this pop.
10. Cal Cal updated their football logo this off-season and it has been met with mixed reviews. The traditional script "Cal" was a smooth look that had been around for some time. The new Bear looks much edgier and more aggressive. Which do you prefer?
11. Arizona State The pitchfork by itself is pretty solid looking with some edgy style. And the ASU is clean and classic. But together it feels a bit forced and busy. 
12. Oregon State The Beavers updated their look recently with a new edgier looking logo. And, frankly, they did a good job. This one is smoother and streamlined and is more aggressive. It's tough to make a beaver look mean, however.


2013 Pac-12 Team Previews

North South
California Arizona
Oregon Arizona State
Oregon State Colorado
Stanford UCLA
Washington USC
Washington State Utah

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