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Niagara University has more than winning teams this year. Its logo has been named a winner as well.

A panel of editors from the Business Record, an upstate New York publication, picked the logo as the best among those of 13 upstate New York colleges and universities that compete at the NCAA Division I level.

The publication specifically called the NU logo "fantastic." But it didn't stop there. "Many pro teams could learn a design lesson from Niagara because the logo is perfectly balanced and not overpowering with its classical type face and contemporary eagle head," the editors wrote.

The design of the eagle blasting out of the letters NU was created in 1996 by Quiller and Blake, a Niagara Falls advertising agency.

Peter J. Pagliaccio, Quiller and Blake creative director, came up with the design.

"Designing logos is one of the hardest things we have to do," Pagliaccio said. "You are trying to put a thumb tack on an idea or feeling that defines a company or school. For NU, we had to have an aggressive look for the sports teams. You want to show some sense of urgency. The eagle and angles of the letters are designed to look like they are moving."

Pagliaccio said his first designs were duds because he was designing something more conservative.

Maureen Oakland, a Quiller and Blake account supervisor who was the liaison with the university, said Pagliaccio was initially designing conservative logos "because it was a Vincentian university. But I told him to go nuts. Our client was trusting us and allowing us to push the envelope."

James Mauro, the university's assistant athletic director and a baseball coach, said the new logo was one of his first duties when he came on the job.

"In the past, each team had it's own logo, and they were drawn by hand," Mauro said. "We needed a professional logo for marketing and identity. This one is sharp and bright, and stands out. The forceful eagle grabs your attention, and the style and color are what younger people want."

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