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. Here is what Art Director Matt Taliaferro had to say about the SEC's football logos:
Find me a more effective marriage of color and simplicity of design and I'll hand these writing duties over to you. Georgia's logo is so timeless that I can't remember there ever being another that represented the football team. When you see this, there's no confusion as to what you're looking at.
Hard to find fault in the interlocking A-U. Again, trimming away all the waste and boiling a logomark down to its most basic typically nets the best results.
As a logo, Tennessee's is as direct and to-the-point as it gets. Think what you will of the orange (personally, I'm no fan), but the unique working of the "T" is as good as it gets. As an aside, UT's retro Davy Crockett logo is badass.
Someone from A&M needs to call Texas Tech and explain how effective beveling is done. Like Vandy, Texas A&M's logo is simple and therefore works as a potent branding mark.
The star and the "V." Nothing flashy. Message delivered. Simple, effective. Well done. (Although Vandy has never been able to get the right shade of mustard or gold or whatever that color is.)
Another SEC school logo that is vastly improved from its previous incarnation, I like the contemporary font used for LSU. The Illustrator'd "tiger" lacks some punch, but I'm learning to live with it. If I must.
Alabama's logo screams "college!" as much as any in the conference. I'm not a fan of the font used for the "A," as more stylized scripts exist that could naturally center it up.
Being a UK grad, I'm admittedly biased, but that may be a good thing. Because I have a vested interest, I can say this slightly modernized block logo is light years beyond the old vertical "UK" with the cat in the background. Oftentimes you are your favorite team's worst critic, but this is one incarnation of the logo that I hope is utilized for years to come.
Missouri has a dynamic logo that screams aggression, and they get points simply for not going the huggable animal route. Carving some of the fat off this mark — a la Michigan State's spartan — would tone the activity down and make for a sharper brand.
I actually like what MSU has done to update what was once a run-of-the-mill "block logo." The faux-banner works, as does the contemporary "M" that has one stem in yesterday, the other in today.
It's the colors. That's what has always bothered me about Florida's logo. The green on blue is harsh on the eyes while the entire concept of the cartoon gator is too ... "rounded." This is an alligator with razor sharp teeth, right? So borrow some of Missouri's hard, dynamic angles, give me some streamlining and scare me!
Well, it's a hog. Like Kentucky's, this logo is a vast improvement on Arkansas' previous incarnation. My issue it that animal logos are best used as stylized representations, not literal "drawings." There is mucho potential here ... get the university's design department cranking up the creativity!
I know there's some tradition that I'm most likely stomping on, but the Brush Script feel of this font-only logo is dated. (For those unaware, the font "Brush Script" went out of style about the time Archie Manning was moving from Oxford to New Orleans.) On the plus side, they've managed to not incorporate the rebel flag, so that's saying something.
Surprisingly, it's not the gamecock that turns me off here, it's the 90 degree angles on the inside of the "C" — shave those off and the awkwardness of this logo is minimalized. Sure, the rooster could use an upgrade, but let's be honest, it may be time to start from scratch.