When it comes to brand identity, the logo could be the most important element. So what goes into a winning NCAA basketball team logo?

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Our bracket’s busted. But while it’s been upset city all over the nation, Moncur’s March Madness had nothing to do with final scores.

In this house, it’s all about the D.

Design.

So our very own Design Dream Team sat down with all 64 NCAA Tournament Teams to pick a bracket based exclusively on team logos and mascots.

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The Winner

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AND our 2014 NCAA Champion is (drum roll please)… PISTOL PETE!! We mean… the Oklahoma State University Cowboys.

When it comes to brand identity, the logo could be the most important element. So what goes into a winning NCAA basketball team logo?

In the end, our favorite logos kept true to our Four Cs of logo design:

Color:That pop of orange, that sharp black and white contrast.

Character: You want character? This ornery fellow OOZES character, from his masculine mustache to his unruly eyebrows. And yes, he IS reaching for that aforementioned pistol.

Clean: Take a look at those lines! He might seem like he’s got a lot going on, but upon closer inspection: the uniformity of line size, the symmetry of his mustache and bowed legs. It’s a beautiful thing.

Cool: Talk about cool factor… just look at him. It’s like Chuck Norris, Tom Selleck and Batman had a baby in the late 19th century South Central United States. No really, imagined after legendary cowboy and sharp shooter Frank Eaton, Pistol Pete’s backstory is even cooler. And we’d say this design does him the justice he deserves.

Runners Up

Coastal Carolina’s Chanticleer – Clean lines, bold color, and fierce white-out eyes. He’s like a mean-chicken Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles villain. What’s not to love?

Arizona State University’s Sparky the Sun Devil – Is it us, or does sparky look a little like Jon Lovitz? Automatic bid.

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Losers

Cincinnati Bearcats’ C – As a general rule, letters always lose. But we will say that Cincinnati at least gave it the ol’ college try. Most of the NCAA “letter logos” play it safe and live in the world of Egyptian, Slab Serif typeface. Harvard and Michigan, we’re looking at you.

Louisiana–Lafayette’s Ragin’ Cajuns – In a world of ancient soldier-, sassy cat-, and plain old letter- logos, we love the uniqueness of a chili pepper spirit leader named Cayenne. But where is he in the design? The guy dancing on the side of the field is WAY cooler than the fleur-de-lis on fire, chain-restaurant logo thing they’ve got going on.

University of Oregon’s Puddles – Two words: copyright infringement.

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Honorable Mention

Wichita Shockers’ WuShock

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He’s different. He’s made of wheat AND he’s chewing wheat (what a badass) – and his very being is steeped in double entendre vulgarity. What’s more, yellow is the first color the human eye notices. Bonus points. But while yellow catches the eye, it also causes excessive stimulation of the it, often resulting in irritation. Minus points. You’re a complicated dude, Wu – you really are.

Who do you think deserves the NCAA Design Title this March Madness?

p.s. Did you happen to notice our perfect South Region Bracket? Coincidence?? Probably.

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