Tuesday, December 26, 2006

32 Bowl Games, 32 Logos - Part 1

Working in advertising, as I do, I often notice things others might not. I see a cool ad on TV and try to figure out how it was done, how much it cost, etc. etc. I am not a graphic designer, I work in what's called account planning but in my 11 years working in the industry I've had plenty of opportunities to evaluate and present corporate and product logotypes or logos, those symbols that come to stand for a company, a product, or an organization.

So after noticing that The 12th Manchild had assembled all 32 Bowl Game logos in one post for the purpose of giving his picks, I thought it might be cool to take a closer look at all of these logos and share my thoughts. They truly run the gamut from garbage that I would be ashamed to present to a client to really fine pieces of work.

In a 4 part series, we're going to take a look at the common elements of each logo, such as the incorportation of a football theme, the incorporation of sponsor's logo, design elements that are relevant to what the Bowl's name or location is, and overall presentation.

Joining me in this exercise is my work and blogging colleague, Alex who is a creative director from the graphic design and art direction side of the ad business and also a contributor to Stuck on the Palmetto, a widely read blog in South Florida. Because the creative business is so subjective there will be some small disagreements between Alex (The expert) and I (the account person).

1. San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

The type style and color of the sponsor are used in this very plain looking 2-color logo, the problem is that the sponsor's type style and color are boring. The one design element from the sponsor logo that can be considered half interesting, a sail boat, is ommitted from the Bowl logo. We have two clip art footballs and the obligatory Poinsettia flowers with a plain red banner. Uninspiring.

The Expert says: With a name like this it’s hard to come up with a good logo, but it doesn’t have to be this lame. Zero dynamism, poor choice of colors, uninspired font choice.

Overall Grade: D

2. The Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl

This logo, like the personality of the host city, is in your face with with its colors and "hey look at me" qualities. Pioneer's distinctive logo is present but seems almost like an afterthought. Further complicating the matter is the fact that it's not really Pioneer that sponsors the bowl game, but one of their products (PureVision Plasma Displays).

The Expert says: The starburst is such a played out shape. It's neither Purevision nor Las Vegas.

Overall Grade: C-

3. R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Unfortunately the person who designed this logo got saddled with a horrible sponsor logo to incorporate. It's a testament to the designer's talent that he/she was able to do it at all. What I like about this logo is that it takes an element of New Orleans we are all familiar with (but not the obvious ones: drunk bums and musical notes), the distinctive street lamps, and incorporates it into the design. The green from the sponsor logo is brought in to the crescent element, which is also distinctive of New Orleans. Considering what the designer had to work with, I give it a pretty high mark.

The Expert Says: Complete disconnect between the sponsor logo and the bowl logo. Green and purple not a good pairing.

Overall Grade: C+

4. The PapaJohns.com Bowl

Well, personal feelings about bowl games being named after pizza delivery websites aside, this is a terrible logo. Again with the clip art football. Here they felt they had to get the sponsor's name in twice but we know not where this game was played. This is the first logo we've analyzed so far to have some sort of shield. It's a pattern we're going to see in the upcoming logos. In this case the shield is some sort of futuristic, 5-pointed, batmanesque shield.

The Expert says: Not one, not two but three different banner shapes! Plus what is that weird silver shield shape in the back? Stylistically it’s all over the place, from a minimalistically rendered football to both outlines and bezels.

Overall Grade: F

5. The New Mexico Bowl

This bowl game along with 4 others is actually owned by ESPN Regional Television. The other four (the Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl, Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl, the Bell Helicopter -a Textron Company- Armed Forces Bowl and the PapaJohns.com Bowl) all have title sponsors. Apparently they couldn't line one up for this game. The logo incorporates a starburst, not as tacky as the one for the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl, and the central element comes from the state flag. At least we know where the game was played as the logo proclaims in teeny tiny letters... Albuquerque.

The Expert says: Illegible. Predictable. Stereotypical. But at leat they restrained themselves and didn’t throw in a curled tail lizard.

Overall Grade: C-

6. The Bell Helicopter (A Textron Company) Armed Forces Bowl

God forbid that we forget that Bell Helicopter is a Textron Company. I have mixed feelings about this logo. It's bold and easily readable but it also seems easy. Red, white and blue shield with the yellow banner and military stenciled letters. The football looks like a clip art missile shot from one of those Bell Helicopters. Of the ESPN owned bowl games it's the best logo so far.

The expert says: High points for cleanliness, good color combination and legibility, low points for using a football that probably was taken from clip art.

Overall Grade: B

7. The Sheraton Hawi'i Bowl

I have to admit that I like the corny mutant football/pineapple. I guess the jagged edges are supposed to give us a Polynesian native feel. The Sheraton logo seems out of place here.

The Expert says: Horrible, but at least the illustration style is consistent.

Overall Grade: C-

8. The Motor City Bowl

I get it, "The Motor City", you know...WHEELS. One problem, remove the words from the bottom and this could be a logo for any garage or used car dealership. No football connection whatsoever. The designer of this logo missed an opportunity to be subtle and also incorporate some football elements.

The Expert says: Not sure what sport is this for? Surfing mixed with Nascar? Mmmmmm.

Overall Grade: D

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