The 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four hits nothing but net with their exquisite Columbus event branding.
[ Updated March 24, 2018 ]
I’m not a huge college basketball fan (gasp!)… I know that’s sacrilege this time of year. Nevertheless, I can always appreciate a well-designed sports event branding campaign, and the 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four logo and branding system hits the mark on a variety of levels.
The event logo caught my attention recently with its colorful purple and orange theme so I couldn’t resist checking it out further. And what I found definitely made my efforts worthwhile.
The main Women’s Final Four event logo is nicely done with several graphic elements neatly included in what has become the almost-mandatory “badge” design style. I’m not sure how this has evolved into the industry standard approach to sporting events logos, but since I typically like it when they are done well, I’ll let it pass for now.
I have visited Columbus a couple times, but my last visit was probably three decades ago, so I didn’t immediately recognize the significance of the bridge graphic below the “Final Four” type element in the logo. A little Internet research proved helpful and I discovered that Columbus was nicknamed ‘The Arch City” when dozens of lighted wooden arches spanned High Street in the early 1900s. A century later the design was resurrected as part of a historical urban upgrade project. The lower bridge graphic in the logo mimics their shape nicely. The upper arch and obligatory NCAA logo represent the iconic NCAA National Champions trophy and can be seen in numerous NCAA tournament logos like the Frozen Four and the College World Series. A simple basketball in cohesive purple and orange colors nevertheless work pretty well to complete the logo.
Disappointingly, the weakest part of the badge is the “Final Four” type element itself, which looks a bit unfinished with its subpar dimensional lettering treatment (again something that is almost compulsory these days).
But maybe the coolest part of the event branding, are the extended executions. These include an awesome purple background line art pattern that adds great color, texture, and the use of a subtle basketball graphic. This is applied to their web header, smaller web buttons and even a swag basketball for their “Bounce” youth event. This purple ball would have been really cool to use during actual games.
Several other category buttons on the website showcase secondary logos for “Beyond the Baseline”, “3v3 Tournament” and “Super Saturday Night” tournament events. Each is beautifully designed, rounding out a thoroughly entertaining event branding campaign.
Now if I could just get as excited about the actual event itself, they would have really hit a three-pointer. Maybe it’s time I should!