) -- The Big Ten Conference has revealed its new logo today.

The creation of a new logo was prompted by the upcoming addition of the University of Nebraska to the conference as its 12th member school. It will begin being used in the 2011-12 academic year.

New Big Ten Logo

The logo was developed by international design firm


and will be used for all sports.

Pentagram partner Michael Gericke said that the logo is "memorable and distinctive" as it "evolved from the previous logo's use of negative space."

"Its contemporary collegiate lettering includes an embedded numeral 10 in the word BIG, which allows fans to see BIG and 10 in a single word," Gericke said.

Pentagram created several versions of the logo for flexibility within new media. One version lists the Big Ten football divisions, broken into two categories, legends and leaders. Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern make up the legends, while Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin are referred to as leaders.

"Legends is a nod to our history and to the people associated with our schools who are widely recognized as legends -- student-athletes, coaches, alumni and faculty," Big Ten commissioner James Delany said. "Leaders looks to the future as we remain committed to fostering leaders, the student-athletes who are encouraged to lead in their own way for the rest of their lives, in their families, in their communities and in their chosen professions."

Current Big Ten Logo

The Big Ten Conference, which was founded in 1896, is the oldest and largest Division I college athletic association in the nation. Despite its name, the conference has had 11 member schools since Penn State joined in 1990. University of Nebraska will be the 12th member when it joins the conference in July 2011.

The conference's current logo contains a hidden number 11 in the negative space around the T in Ten. The new logo doesn't reference the new number of member institutions.

--Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.

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