Founded in 1888, the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) was the first collegiate conference in America. Today it is revitalizing its visual identity, building on its incredible legacy and positioning its brand to be purposeful and dynamic in the modern era.

Project objectives were threefold: first, to honor the MIAA’s heritage, second to position it for the future, and third to magnify brand awareness for each of its member institutions, all through a timeless design approach relevant to the modern-day student-athlete.

"The idea of developing a more modern look for our logo and branding system grew out of the first MIAA strategic plan that was completed last year. The process was inclusive of administrators, staffs, coaches and student-athletes being led by the very creative expertise of Skye Dillon and his team at SDS.

"Skye listened from the very start to find out what makes the MIAA distinct, and the end result nailed it. Our new brand identity is really something special that draws from our region and sets us apart from all other collegiate conference looks. I am so excited to begin using our new visual identity."

- Penny Allen-Cook, MIAA Commissioner

The following components express the MIAA brand narrative:

MIAA - With over a century of equity in this moniker, the title ‘MIAA’ will continue to be the foundation of the brand as its primary messaging. A revised slogan, ‘America’s First Conference’, functions in a complementary role, leveraging this distinct trait among all of the NCAA.

MICHIGAN - As the only Division III conference in the state and the home of its original membership, Michigan represents the roots of the league. In the marks, its thin-line silhouette draws inspiration from similar graphics utilized in the MIAA’s past and is intentionally open at its base as a nod of inclusivity to Saint Mary’s and Trine, both located in northern Indiana.

GREAT LAKES - While Michigan speaks to the MIAA’s origin, the Great Lakes region is symbolic of its broader vision of influence. This iconic shape is intended to attract prospective student-athletes in Michigan’s neighboring states and present the MIAA through a more national lens. Logo iterations with and without the Great Lakes give the system inherent flexibility to accommodate various application needs.

MEMBERSHIP - MIAA membership is one of the most storied in all of collegiate athletics. Of the 13 schools that have had full status since its 1888 founding date, nine are still members. In many ways, this rare company of institutions is the heartbeat of the brand. Likewise, the new identity highlights each existing member through name, color, and location in the form of stars within the context of its new logo template.

Membership Logos

In addition to the core logos, a full suite of sport-specific and corresponding championship marks have been developed for further brand customization.

Sport-Specific Logos
Championship Logos

Finally, a vibrant toolkit of 3D Hero Images for both the conference and each of its members delivers an enhanced expression of the identity and is intended to function on the web, social media, and other digital platforms. When considering a common thread to connect every MIAA season from 1888 to 2020 and beyond, framed photographs were a fitting motif for America’s First Conference. Likewise, this toolkit presents the new marks within color-coded, framed canvases as a tribute to the lasting memories and moments documented throughout its existence.

Member School 3D Hero Images

For the project, the conference partnered with New Jersey-based Skye Design Studios (www.sdsbranding.com), a national leader in sport branding and identity design.

"The MIAA brand is as timeless as it gets, truly 'The First'. I commend Penny for her incredible vision, for both this project as well as the league as a whole, and each MIAA member for their dedication throughout the creative process. This was a complete team effort, emblematic of what makes this conference so special."

Skye Dillon, SDS Founder