The Big Ten Conference Logo With the 11 In It!
Created While at Northern Illinois University - The Full Story
Created While at Northern Illinois University - The Full Story
While working at Northern Illinois University from 1980 thru 1993, I was very fortunate to work in Sports Marketing and teach in the Visual Communication program where it was rated one of the top 10 in the country. The School of Art at that time had 70 art faculty - largest in the country - with famous artists and teachers like David Driesbach, Bruce White, Dr. Norm Magdan, Dr. James O'Grady and Ben Mahmoud.
There were 22 faculy in the design program. It was a proud and respected program that placed about 30-40 students a year in design agencies in Chicago. In the sophomore reviews we would often fail half the students - they would have to change majors or take courses over. Educators at other schools didn't believe we could have a review like this.
VSA Partners was the best agency in the city at the time and I placed Lori Pocci and Mike Stees there when Robert Vogele asked about hiring two good designers. Another student of mine, Dana Arnett was hired as a designer and is now the primary designer for the company in charge of over 100 creative staff. He creates design, marketing and advertising for Harley Davidson, Facebook and Hyatt.
I worked with Intercollegiate Athletics at NIU for approximately 11 years and developed a strong relationship with Mike Korsek, Sports Information Director and the future Athletic Director, Cary Groth. I designed 4 Media Guides a year for many years at NIU and won two CoSida Awards - 1st Place in Men's Volleyball - my good friend and neighbor, Pete Waite, was the coach at that time. And won 2nd Place in Women's Basketball the following year - Jane Albright was the coach. These are the top awards in NCAA Sports Marketing. I made a lot of money on top of my salary.
I worked at NIU from 1980 -1993 and started as an Instructor then Assistant and then as an Associate Professor. The last 6 years I taught the portfolio classes and usually would have about 40 students with great portfolios - they then would take jobs with Quaker Oats, VSA Partners, McMillan Associates, etc. In the portfolio shows in Chicago at NIU's Gallery we would have hundreds of design firms walk thru and up to 30 kids would have jobs before the week was
out in May.
At NIU I brought in grants from Apple Technology Partners - $45,000 and $100,000 from the Whitman Corporation of publication design and health newsletters - I purchased Linotronic's first desktop publishing system that interfaced with Macintosh computers - not bad - 24 computers - their very first systems - many faculty were jealous and stuck in their old ways of thinking.
My students have designed Michael Jordan's book RareAir, Annual Reports for John Deere, Siemens and thousands of important communications pieces and award winning design. Each student was put through a tough curriculum with up to 10 different instructors in design, typography, publication, photography, art history, drawing, portfolio, etc.
Cary Goth, Athletic Director at NIU asked me to go to a meeting at the Big Ten Conference with her because NIU was in a Women's Field Hockey Conference with 5 other Big Ten Schools- Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern and Ohio State competed in the Midwest Collegiate Field Hockey Conference from 1989-91. She asked me to get a student from NIU and design the new logo for the conference in 1989 - Midwest Collegiate Field Hockey Conference. After two weeks, Julie Brown, student designer came with me and we presented the final logo in the Marriot
Hotel to the 10 Women's Athletic Directors - they congratulated us on doing a great job - it was implemented.
In 1989 Cary introduced me to Mary Masters, a Big Ten writer who later became the Sports Information Director at the the Conference Office. The next task was the Big Ten Women's Athletics Newsletter - a sports publication for the Big Ten Women's Athletic Directors. In developing the new piece - we tripled readership in one year. I redesigned the entire publication and made it visually stronger. Wayne Duke (1971-1989) was the Commissioner at that time and the Conference was located in a tower in Schaumburg beside the Schaumburg Mall in Illinois.
Mary was appointed SID of the Big Ten Conference when it hired Jim Delany in 1989 from the Ohio Valley Conference as Commissioner. She said to me - "You are coming with me!" I worked there until I left to go to work for Executive Sports, the primary company managing golf tournaments in the US. I started working in the Headquarters in Deray Beach, Florida in 1993 while still designing the Big Ten's Newsletter and Media Guides thru 1994.
Jim Delany created a new Conference office in Park Ridge that was modern, accessible to O'Hare Airport, had a parking garage, as well as, well-planned meeting rooms. I had a passcard to the parking garage underneath the building from 1989 to 1993. I spent two days a week at the Conference office for several years working on all kinds of projects - newsletters, manuals, promotions, program for the Rose Bowl. I set up their first Macintosh computer system to help bring their publications in house and recommended the software - Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator and Pagemaker and later Quark XPress and trained two interns.
The logo at that time was sloppy, italic and unbalanced. I told Mary almost every day that it should be redone. In 1990 Mary approached me and asked who should create the new Big Ten logo - without hesitation I said Michael Stanard in Evanston, Illinois who had a strong design reputation.
Michael Stanard, an NIU graduate was selected to create the logo and another student from Northern worked there - Lyle Zimmerman who now has the biggest identity agency in the City
of Chicago. Mike called and thanked me for recommending him for the chance to do it.
After several months Michael presented his final logo. It was very clever - he used the word "Big" with the number "10." He also used the colors of the school in versions of the logo. I thought it was perfect. However, Mary said that the Board of the Conference ruled that they could not use it because they thought they should use the written out version - "Ten." If it expanded there was already the Big 12.
After some thoughtful opinions from other Big Ten Officials she called me and asked if I could attempt to design the a new logo. I was overjoyed - she had trusted me in creating guides, newsletters, promotions, manuals, etc. for the Big Ten Conference for the past two years.
It is well documented that this was my project from the beginning! I went back to NIU and asked Al Grivetti, my grad student who played college basketball in Iowa, Karen O'Connor and Dani (Morris), student designers to help design the new logo. We all worked on concepts for approximately 3 months and every Friday I drove them from DeKalb to Park Ridge for the presentation. Each of us thought we had it won every week but nothing moved them - Mary Masters and Jim Delany were the decision makers. After each session for several months I took the three students to Walter Payton's Restaurant - "Thirty-Fours" for hors d'oeuvres and refreshments. They loved it and we often saw other NIU grads in the Schaumburg restaurant. Karen O'Connor graduated from NIU and went on to work with the Chicago Cubs and later worked as a designer for Bruce Vogele.
I scheduled all the meetings with the Conference and I drove to every meeting and brought Al, Karen and Dani (8 or 10 times).
After months of frustration in finding a strong identity, Jim and Mary loved a final version by Al Grivetti that had the 11 designed into the letter version of the number "Ten." It was in a 2 to 1 ratio and they loved it. The Conference added it's eleventh member in Penn State, partly because of
the tradition of the school and its Head Coach Joe Paterno.
In addition, we were asked to create a simple corporate manual - I worked with Al and a Big Ten intern to write the text for the manual and develop the details. I personally received a check made out to me "Walt Hines" in the amount of $3,000 for the logo and manual - from the beginning it was my project entirely - I split it with Al. After he got his payment, he stopped working on everything and went back to finishing his degree. Mary entrusted me with the finishing touches.
I had to finish the manual with several variations of the logo - I suggested using a highlight color - red. I implemented the PMS numbers, made reversed and italic versions of the logo and used a variation in gray with all the Conference logos. They duplicated the manuals and sent them to the member institutions. Variations of the logo from the manual were used on the floor of Conference basketball arenas. The logo was all over TV for 20 years.
Mary Masters also asked me to have my students create a logo for the 10th Anniversary of Women's Athletics at the Big Ten Conference. I made it a class project and there were two finalists. Mary picked a conservative version for the final. The student whose logo didn't win was very upset with me. I tried very hard to have them accept the more contemporary one but that was unsuccessful.
Publishing is a tough, tedious business. I remember having to change copy three different times in one day and drove back to DeKalb 3 times (hour and a half - one way) and then finally drove to FedEx by ten o'clock at O'Hare to get a magazine off to print. I had access to photographic archives where I found totally unique photos - of John Wooden as a basketball player at Purdue - the ball looked bigger than him - Tom Harmon and the first Heisman winner - all the records and rich history of the Conference.
For several years I created and developed the Official Big Ten Newsletter an 8-page publication -
it was difficult to fill up with news. In addition, we created an 11 team sports calendar for the Conference - the next year the Pac Ten would also then make a calendar!
In the next few years I was approached to create the new collegiate logo for the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (MCC) in Indianapolis (Jonathan LeCrone - Commissioner) (it's now the Horizon League), the Mid-Continent Conference (Mid-Con) and when Jerry Ippolitti was named Commissioner at the Mid-American Conference - he asked me to design the 50 Year Anniversary logo for the MAC Conference. It was a busy two years - flying, designing and working as a professor. It all prepared me for a career designing over 200 Golf Tournament magazines, collateral, billboards, advertisements and sponsorship guides working with over 50 Tournament Directors, and PGA Tour, LPGA and Champion Tour writers and officials. In addition, I worked with Barbara Nicklaus in designing publications for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
I have fond memories of working at the Big Ten because not once did I have to give them a bill -
it was always ready for me in an envelope at the front desk for the 7 years that I worked there. Working with Commssioners Kevin Weiberg, Rich Falk, Phyllis Howlet and my good friend WT Robinson was a terrific experience.
Several students benefitted from the work experience there - Julie Brown, Erin Taylor, Karen O'Connor - it definitely enhanced their careers.
In design firms all over the country an agency with a famous name (almost all the large ones) have in-house designers who work together as a team developing logos, sharing research and concepts and doing all the background work - they pin the concepts on the wall - they want and get feedback from their peers on form, color, inspiration - and ultimately the principle of the company takes full credit for the project - they pay them to work on it - that's the way it works.
I thought about going back and checking my tax returns from those years to see how much money I actually made at the Big Ten each year - for the media guides I believe it was several thousand dollars - Men's and Women's basketball, Volleyball - each newsletter was $500. It really didn't matter - it was the prestige of working there year round for 7 years.
At NIU I made a lot of money on the Media Guides - it is a lot of work - those guides were often 100 pages of photos, statistics, stories, bios and records. It's a unique breed who design these things - I tried to estimate how much actual print I was responsible for - I think several million is pretty close. Each one of my media guides, tournament magazines, programs is involved in hundreds of hours of work formatting pages, fitting stories into specific pages, adding and taking out stories routinely, last minute additions, advertisements that need to be formatted, in some cases 90 pages of corrections in one day - then off to print. In the beginning it was nerve racking - when a publication comes back - are there any mistakes,? Usually there are minor things throughout 120 pages.
After 10 years I didn't sweat it - I developed confidence - I could sleep at night. If the average person worked one of these for the first time - it would seem overwhelming. Publishing is a business for the confident, professional designer - you could be fired after one bad magazine.
I had to make great covers - nothing could ever be average!!!!!! I survived with total confidence as a virtue. Thousands of hours of details, color corrections, information design graphics, silhouettes, changes, break pages, etc.
Wayne Kosterman was a designer in Chicago who tried to convince Mary Masters to have him do the logo at the same time she considered my official request. On the day she decided to have me create the logo with my students, Wayne was very frustrated at the Conference office - he was distraught over losing the job. Several months later at a Design Breakfast in the early morning in Chicago he brought up the fact that it's unfair for Walt Hines at NIU to try to make money and have no overhead by not paying his students. I was upset - I wanted my students to have this experience - that's all. My student, Julie
Brown was at the breakfast - upset too at the comments - she knew what I was trying to
do. Wayne came to one of our pre-portfolio reviews in the suburbs of Chicago the following year and admitted that we had done a great job on the logo. He designed FSU's Official Seal.