NCAA® and Joe Bosack & Co. Announce New Championships Logo System -

NCAA logo makeover: Everyone gets a trophy

By Michael Smith, Staff Writer, Sports Business Journal

Published February 2, 2015

The prevailing image that stays with college sports fans is the winning team hoisting the NCAA trophy into the air. That’s what exhaustive fan surveys in the last two years have told the NCAA.

With that in mind, the NCAA worked with Pennsylvania design firm Joe Bosack & Co. to create new logos for its 89 sports and championships. Those logos were unveiled to athletic directors last week during the midwinter meetings of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.

One of the new logos — for the 2016 Final Four in Houston — had already been revealed publicly.

Mark Lewis, the NCAA’s executive vice president for championships and partnerships, described a thorough two-year study that led to the new marks.

More than 20,000 online surveys were distributed to fans, student athletes, corporate partners, licensees, school administrators and equipment suppliers, asking them to judge old and new logos. Another 1,000 in-depth interviews were conducted, including 400 with student athletes from all three divisions.

“The research kept coming back that we weren’t inspiring or exciting anyone with our logos,” Lewis said. “That’s disappointing for us, because if there’s anything that should be inspiring, it’s the championships, and these logos just weren’t delivering.”

The most notable aspect of the new championship logos is the NCAA trophy, which appears to be hoisted on top of the mark. That’s by design. Designers also tried to give the logos a banner look, like the championship banners that hang from the rafters.

“We didn’t want to create a logo that looked like the NFL or the NBA, so we stayed away from those elements of shields and rectangles and ovals,” Lewis said. “What we hope you take away is that we really hit on this concept of the banners and that teams hang these banners when they achieve greatness.”

Throughout the creative process, Lewis said the NCAA relied heavily on the research. The governing body also wanted the design to have a common thread that runs through each of the 89 championship logos, “something that had never been done before,” said Joe Bosack, founder and creative director of Joe Bosack & Co.

“Logos in the past had been treated as individuals,” said Bosack, who started his design career with the NHL before opening his own shop in 1998. “This is the first time there’s been a theme throughout all 89 championships.”

Upon completion of the project, Lewis said he was proud that 72 percent of the thousands polled thought the new logos provided a better image of the championships. Within that group, 62 percent of student athletes and school administrators thought the new championship logos were more celebratory.

“Testing shows a belief that we have a better system than what we’ve worked with in the past,” Lewis said.