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The 2006 NCAA Final Four
Dean Johnson Design
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This extremely competitive, high-intensity series comes down to the
semifi nals, called the Final Four, in which the champions of each
of the four playoff divisions compete against one another for the
prestigious championship spot. In 2006, the Final Four was held at
the RCA Dome in Indianapolis to a crowd of nearly 44,000 eager
basketball fans per game. The home viewership of this tournament
has grown steadily over the years to rival that of any premier sport
championship including the Super Bowl, World Series, and NBA fi nals.
Dean Johnson Design of Indianapolis, Indiana, was hired to design
the identity for this high-profi le event, which posed many challenges.
First, it was to be seen by millions of people across all demographic
barriers and would need to have broad appeal. Secondly, the logo
would be used as the foundation of the identity for the tournament
and would have a wide variety of applications. The logo would need
Each March, the NCAA Men’s
Division I Basketball Champion-
ship dominates the sports
world for a month-long series of
single-elimination playoff games
known as March Madness.
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Design for Special Events
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to work as a full- or one-color image and had to be legible when
shrunk down to 1 inch or blown up to 20 feet. The designers also
had to contend with the fact that the logo would be applied to a
variety of materials and surfaces from embroidery on hats, silk-
screening on T-shirts, vinyl, mesh, window decals, foam core, as well
as on-screen television graphics. A close eye was kept on production
of all of these materials to ensure the colors would stay true across
all mediums. The designers also needed to consider and honor the
events locale whenever possible. Finally, they would have to create
the proper hierarchy of information within the logo while still including
all of the necessary information and the newly redesigned NCAA logo.
DJD created a symbol that represented a sense of speed and
motion that was true the game of basketball but was also inspired
by Indiana’s famed Indy 500 car race. It was important that a limited
number of graphic elements, colors, and fonts were used so they
could be applied consistently across the huge variety of applications.
The logo proved so successful that the NCAA decided to use
the Final Four moniker and blue disk in all future Final Four logos
as a means of maintaining consistency and building brand equity.
DJD also created a graphics standard for partners and sponsors
who would use the identity for merchandising, advertising, and
signage that appeared throughout Indianapolis and the arena. This
included designing the basketball court fl oor, arena signage (table
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