For some people the end of Summer is a bummer. It's back to work and back to school. For a whole bunch of other people — in this case Americans to be specific — it's the beginning of their obsession. College Football. Bars are full. Conversations are about nothing else. Men scream at TVs wearing faux uniforms whose colors does not befit their skin tones or physiques. But it's here. And bringing these seemingly life-or-death matches to the screen is ESPN through its ESPN College Football (ESPN CF) programming, which has the rights to air games from the major divisions. To add a little oomph to this season's package ESPN CF turned to brand agency Troika to overhaul the on-air package.
The package centers around the concept 'Mania,' a frenetic visual interpretation of the excitement and anticipation surrounding the College Football season. Viewers are taken on a visual journey through an Escher-esque world of descriptive typography and iconic visuals inspired by the game. The rebrand, which included logo design, opens, transitions and title sequences, was designed to evolve with the College Football season, culminating with elements created specifically for each of ESPN's five BCS games.
— Troika Vimeo page
Comparing the old logo against the new logo is like seeing Bruce Banner transform into The Hulk. All the same components are there except that the new one is bigger, bolder, and more aggressive. Not smaller, lighter and wimpier. For a football logo on the sportiest and explosiest of channels, the new one is definitely more appropriate and, more importantly, it has much better screen presence. My favorite detail is the dirty ball, nice attention to detail. Since this logo lives on-air, the animation is even more important than the logo itself, and Troika has done a fantastic job in bringing to typographic life the sights and sounds of college football.
Stills from the animation package. Video below.
I wouldn't go as far as calling the animation Escher-esque as it has none of the artist's quizzical labyrinthine qualities. But I would call it kick-ass-esque. As that what it is. It pumps you full of energy before anyone has screamed hike for the first time. It brings together the solid typography with the more real imagery quite nicely giving it a nostalgic aura reminiscent of the Lou Dorfsman's Gastrotypographicalassemblage wall at the CBS cafeteria. I couldn't care less about college football, but this could get me to care. Actually, no it won't. It just gets me to care about the people that make such nice animated things.