Ball State grads at Indianapolis company designed Final Four court and logo

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – This year, Purdue is the only Indiana team taking the court during the NCAA tournament. However, there’s still a connection to the Hoosier State front and center in every game.

“You can see the shape of the stadium at the top, and the four trees represent the four teams in the Final Four,” Chris McCormick said while pointing to the 2019 Final Four logo.

McCormick is a senior art director with the Indianapolis based company Section 127.

“The four stars represent the four championships that have been in Minnesota,” said McCormick.

The Crawfordsville native and Ball State graduate knows a lot about this year’s Final Four in Minneapolis. After all, he is the one who designed the logo.

“The logo is kind of the first starting point that really launches the entire project,” McCormick said.

Every piece of artwork you see during March Madness comes from the minds of McCormick and his coworkers at Section 127. The artwork centers around the Final Four host city, which this year is Minneapolis.

“We go to the venue multiple times, we go to the city multiple times, and we received a creative brief from the NCAA that really packages everything they’re looking for,” McCormick said. “When you see the logo, we want people to know without even reading it where that’s from.”

The logo incorporates aspects of Minnesota like the North Star, pine trees, the shape of the stadium and the Mississippi River.

“That’s really part of our job as being creatives,” McCormick said. “To build that story and give it a visual identity.”

“Right here is the wire frame outlines of all the design elements that go into the final four court,” said Senior Designer Connor O’Malia while pointing to his computer. “The gradients are expressive and represent the northern lights.”

O’Malia designed this year’s Final Four court. He also designed last year’s women’s court, and the men’s in 2016. The 28-year-old Fishers native is also a graduate of Ball State, and as a huge sports fan. He says he’s living the dream.

“You have to step back from the projects you’re working on and pinch yourself because sometimes it doesn’t even feel like real life,” said O’Malia.

While March Madness only comes around once a year, the excitement lasts year round at section 127. And for the artists, the work never gets old

“As a team when we finally get to see our work come to life in person at the venue or see fans reacting to the court or reacting to the ticket they have in hand, it’s a pretty surreal feeling,” O’Malia said.

The team works 18 months in advance to develop March Madness artwork. Work will soon start for the 2021 Final Four logo, which is hosted by Indianapolis. With an office full of Indy natives, the artists at Section 127 say there’s a lot of pressure to make it special.

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