Friday, July 11, 2014

Why Big 10 Conference changed their logo

Let me preface with the explanation that I am extremely ignorant when it comes to sports. I was using the old big 10 logo for years in my Visual Literacy class as a good example of the negative space used in design.  So naturally, when I discovered that they changed the logo I decided to find out why.

The Big Ten Conference (B1G), formerly Western Conference and Big Nine Conference, is the oldest  (120 years) Division I collegiate athletic conference in the United States.  In 1990 the conference added 11th member, Penn State, which was honored in the logo in a very clever way: The designer hid a number 11 in the negative space around the letter T. Brilliant, right? Now the problem arrived in 2011 when they added 12th member.

The new Big Ten logo was developed by Michael Bierut and Michael Gericke of the international design firm Pentagram. Looks like they designed it in 2010 in anticipation of the changes. The new logo, B1G , can be read two ways - BIG and IG may be read as a number 10. Clever design that combines word big and number 10 in a single word.  Timeless! They honored the old name but don't have to worry about changes in the number of members in a future.

Old logo - notice the number 11 created by the negative space

The new logo combines word big and number 10 in a single word