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Ranking the Big Ten's Best and Worst Logos in 2014

Michigan Wolverines

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 the goal is to be the most recognizable brand in the nation.

Since Athlon Sports has been designing the best-looking magazines on newsstands for the better part of half a century, we asked our senior graphic design guru to rank college football's best and worst logos.

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Here is what Art Director Matt Taliaferro had to say about the Big Ten's football logos:

 

School

Logo

Analysis

1.

Michigan State

It's clean, classic, gets the point across and is recognizable. It has some fierce edginess to it, the color scheme is perfect and there is no doubt it represents a Spartan.

2.

Penn State

Historically speaking, few logos are as traditional as the Nittany Lions oval. The smooth looking Lions head has great lines and appears to be hunting... Wolverines or Buckeyes? Few logos combine classy and aggresive like PSU.

3.

Iowa

It also comes in black, which is slightly more stylish. While maintaining a simple and historic look, the Hawkeye emblen also brings some creativity. In fact, I've no idea what an actual Hawkeye looks like.

4.

Ohio State

Normally, a name in a logo doesn't work, but the "S" is perfectly designed into the "O" and it works. It makes it busier than the cleaner, more classic logos above. The colors and trim are second to none.

5.

Indiana

The historic brand of Hoosiers athletics is well known. The intersecting, symmetrical "IU" is simple and clean with the added touch of block seraphs.

6.

Michigan

It doesn't get any more simple that the block "M" of Michigan. The font is excellent but it could use some trim or accents. Take or leave the bannered Michigan.

7.

Minnesota

There is much more style to this "M" as compared to Michigan's but it's also busier. The seraphs are cool and the trim is solid. An underrated logo.

8.

Nebraska

Again, simple and straight forward gets the point across. The colors and subtle trim are great and it appears that the Huskers have a monopoly on this letter. I'm not a fan of the Huskers font at all as that could use an upgrade.

9.

Rutgers

I'm usually a big fan of timeless marks that skip the cartoonish fads. However, the "R" could use just a touch of pizzaz. But only a touch.

10.

Maryland

The Testudo logo is excellent and this "M" standing alone is unique and fairly good looking. But the added obsession with the state flag in Maryland drops this one down a peg or two.

11.

Purdue

The black and gold logo is tough to read and comes at the viewer at an odd angle. The incorporation of the team name into the train icon is creative but doesn't solve the cartoonish overall feel.

12.

Wisconsin

Let's face it, the floating "W" isn't the best Wisconsin logo but it is synonymous with the only successful era of Badgers football. The drop shadow is cool but only adds to the cartoonish look.

13.

Illinois

The "I" by itself is nice and the "Illinois" can stand alone — and both look good that way. Together, it seems forced and MAC-ish.

14.

Northwestern

The purple "N" has plenty of things going on around it. The font is seriously bizarre and not really intimidating anyone.