Breaking Down The Pac-12 Championship Game Logo Contenders

The Pac-10 is allowing fans to pick the logo for the Pac-12 Football Championship Game via popular vote. We break down these four contenders.

Ever seen a great idea and a horrible one all rolled up into one? If not, you're about to.

The Pac-10 has decided to put the process of selecting the Pac-12 Championship Game logo to a popular vote, and I gotta be honest -- all four logos are pretty attractive. Great idea, right?

Well, here's the terrible part: The voting opened today and closes on Monday -- also known as Memorial Day.

I imagine you probably see the issue with that, but in case you don't: Just how many people does the conference think are going to be on their computers in the next three days, given that, A) Internet traffic goes way down on the weekends because people are at home and not screwing off at work (trust me, I have the data to support this), and B) It's a HOLIDAY WEEKEND and many people who might otherwise be on their computers, even on the weekend, will be out of town?

Swing and a miss, Pac-10.

It's not like organizations don't whiff; it's just that the Pac-10 has done so many things right that when it makes a pretty bad error, it sticks out. (Sort of like this.)

At any rate, if you're reading this, it means you're at your computer this weekend, which means you might be so inclined to vote. You know how Grady is a geek for uniforms? I'm a geek for graphic design, since I've done some graphic design work in the past, and it was sort of my job to teach graphic design when part of my duties involved advising high school publications. Given that, I figured I could throw the four logos your way with my quick thoughts on each one.

First, a working assumption: This logo -- like any other piece of branding for the conference -- should scream Pac-12, whether through the use of the conference shield, the overall shape of the logo, or something. It should be clearly identifiable as Pac-12 . The very best option should be one that can ONLY be used by the Pac-12 and not generic enough to be used by any conference.

LOGO 1

Logo-1b_medium

Likes: Has a strong feel to it with the squared edges. Almost has a football-like shape, despite the squared edges.

Dislikes: Many. The centerpiece of any logo of the conference should be the conference shield. The biggest part of the logo is the word "FOOTBALL." Well, duh -- we know it's football. Unnecessary. Also not a fan of the word "championship" swooshing like that. And last -- why couldn't the kerning (the space between the numbers) on the year have been consistent, since you're not using a fixed-width font? Annoying as crap.

LOGO 2

Logo-2b_medium

Likes: Many! Now we're getting somewhere. The overall shape of the logo mirrors the shape of the conference shield, as does the color scheme -- gradients and all. Laces at the bottom of the logo are a nice touch. Sleek design overall that screams Pac-12. Love it.

Dislikes: I really would have liked the Pac-12 logo to be a little bit bigger -- perhaps moving the year to below the word "championship" would clear enough pace to increase the size of it by 5 percent or so. I think that would do the trick. Additionally, too many font families -- I count 4. That's about two too many. Icky, but an easy fix that doesn't destroy the overall concept.

LOGO 3

Logo-3b_medium

Likes: The gradient sunbeams/spikes/whatever that come out of the logo do a great job accentuating the shield. "Football" is big enough to let people clearly know what sport we're talking about, but not so big that it dominates the logo. Incorporation of the color scheme good here, too. The inverted "championship" and "2011" fit in nicely. 

Dislikes: Again, doesn't pass my "only the Pac-12 could use this logo" test. Change the shield to another conference logo and change the color scheme and anyone else could use it. Also not a big fan of the embossed look on "football." Additionally, too many logos use the spikes -- like this and this and this.

LOGO 4

Logo-4b_medium

Likes: The shield is front and center. Everything plays off of it, and I like the overall football shape of the logo. It's sleek, progressive and unique. 

Dislikes: The roman numeral year underneath is horrendous. WAY too big -- like so big it competes with the actual logo. Awful. This also suffers from the font family issue -- why the different fonts for "football" and "championship"? One sans-serif and the other serif? The same effect could have been accomplished by just using a thicker version of the sans-serif font. Silly.

OVERALL

My first choice would clearly be Logo 2, for all the reasons stated above. It screams Pac-12. As for the others? Logo 1 is awful. Logo 3 is fine, but like I mentioned above, is just a little too generic for my tastes. Logo 4 is intriguing, and could be very nice with just a few changes, but I'd be disappointed if it won and was used as-is.

How about you? Which one do you like? (Oh, and you can go vote here.)

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