Big Ten was established back in 1896, so it is the oldest athletic conference in Division I. Schools in the Big Ten compete in 25 different sports together. For many years, Big Ten did not even have a logo. However, as they became a more recognizable term, the conference decided to use a logo for branding purposes. You can find out all about the history of the Big Ten logo in this article. We will share many interesting facts about all the changes to the logo, and we will explain the inspiration behind the current logo for Big Ten.
Big Ten Logo Design Elements
The Big Ten logo is very simple, yet it is also quite effective. The athletic conference’s logo says “BIG” in all capital letters. These letters are written in a bold slab serif font that is very bulky and athletic-looking. Most of the logo’s visual appeal comes from the color scheme and the subtle shaping of the letters.
The I is missing its upper right serif, so it looks more like a 1, and the G’s crossbar is so close to its upper tip that it almost looks like an O. To further emphasize that the I and the G in “BIG” look like a 10, they are a different color than the B. The B is a plain black color, while the I and G are a light aqua blue shade.
Changes and Evolution
Big Ten’s previous logo was a little lengthier. It said “Big Ten” in a single horizontal line. The “Big” and the “Ten” were set right next to each other without any spaces. This allowed the logo to use the negatives pace between the G, T, and E to create an 11. The conference did this originally because there were 11 members when the logo was created. However, it no longer made any sense as new members were added, so they needed a change.
The old Big Ten logo also used blue as its color scheme, but the color was a little different. In older versions of the logo, it was a dark navy-blue color, and there was no black.
Big Ten’s old logo font was a sans-serif font with sharply angled corners instead of curves. The letters all had a rectangular shape, and the B and the T were slightly larger, even though the rest of the letters were also capitalized.
Big Ten created their logo because they wanted something updated, but they did not want to make any big changes, since football fans tend to get upset about sudden logo changes. To keep the same theme of a hidden number, the new Big Ten logo uses the I and G to look like a 10. It further references the old logo by using blue. This blue shade is a little lighter because Big Ten wanted a blue that would stand out more from the black, and also feel more electric and brighter.
The logo is intentionally simple because Big Ten needed a logo that could be reproduced on clothing, painted on sports courts, printed on gear, displayed on giant screens in stadiums, and shown on tiny smartphone screens. Since the logo is so clean and bold, it is versatile enough to be printed alongside any school’s logo in all these situations.
- Big Ten briefly considered using a version of their current logo that said “TEN” beneath “BIG,” but they decided this was too busy.
- Over the years, the Big Ten conference has rarely had ten members. In its history, it has contained a wide variety of members, ranging from 9 to 14.
- Until 1987, Big Ten was formally named “Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives,” but all fans just called it by its nickname.
Big Ten designed their modern logo because they needed something that would make sense regardless of their member count, unlike the hidden 11 logo. The logo’s strong colors and thick lettering make a big impact, while the subtle 10 on the logo reminds people of the conference’s name. This simple design is visually interesting, while still allowing the Big Ten logo to look cohesive in a variety of situations.
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