The 50 Most Engaging College Logos

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At first glance, a college logo appears to be just a clever piece of art; however, what many overlook is that a logo is largely a marketing tool to brand and promote the university. A single institution can employ a variety of logos (or variations of a logo) to promote team spirit, school attitude, and academic rigor. The images are intended to convey a message, but they’re also designed to elicit a response: inspiration, competitiveness, pride, scholarship, loyalty, and more.

With these intentions in mind, we’ve studied hundreds of college logos and compiled a list of the most engaging and dynamic we could find. Sure, it’s a subjective evaluation, but these are the ones that resonated most with our team, and we think they’re excellent examples for any marketer, designer, or communicator seeking inspiration. They’re presented here, along with some information about them and the teams and institutions they represent.

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College Baseball Logos

 

1. University at Albany

Albany Great Danes Baseball Team

Website

UAlbany

Also known as the University at Albany, this varsity intercollegiate athletic team is a member of the America East Conference and the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I. This traditional logo design brands the university with its purple and gold school colors. The logo is used universally throughout the college’s sports programs, which makes the design an attractive and easily transferable design for branding and marketing. It is recognized because its simplicity and bold colors are easily identified.

2. Lindsey Wilson College

Blue Raiders

Website

Blue Raider Logo No Words Outline

Located in Colombia, Kentucky, the Lindsey Wilson Blue Raiders are a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), who primarily compete in the Mid-South Conference. Their blue and white Raider logo conveys elegance and aggression.

3. Berry College

Berry Vikings

Website

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In Northwest Georgia, you will find the home of the Berry College Vikings baseball team. Berry College is a founding member of the Southern Athletic Association, Division III of the NCAA. Its blue and silver viking logo signals “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

4. Georgetown University

Georgetown Hoyas baseball

Website

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Georgetown Hoyas baseball is in the Big East Conference, which is part of the NCAA’s Division I level of college baseball. Baseball was the first established sport at Georgetown, with its first game in 1866. Georgetown officially organized a team four years later. Jack the bulldog is also personified in the school’s mascot.

5. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

UCLA Bruins

Website

UCLABruins

The UCLA Bruins logo is known for its “true blue” and gold colors. The colors were proudly displayed when the Bruins swept the Mississippi State Bulldogs in a best of three series to win the 2013 NCAA National Championship. This was the university’s first national baseball title.

6. Scottsdale Community College

Fighting Artichokes

Website

Artie Artichoke

This fun and charming logo is for Scottsdale Community College, located on the River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in Scottsdale, Arizona. Sporting the schools colors of green and gold, this logo comes with an interesting history. In the 1970’s, the school administration was accused of using scholarship money to bribe athletes to come to the school. The students arranged a school-wide protest and voted to change the mascot to something ridiculous that would serve as a badge of shame for the school. “Artie The Fighting Artichoke” was the result and still remains as the school’s logo today.

7. University of San Diego

San Diego Toreros

Website

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The San Diego Toreros baseball team is a varsity intercollegiate baseball program at the University of San Diego. The Toreros have won four conference championship series, three regular season conference championships, and two regular season division championships. This cleverly designed logo brings life to their “Founders Blue” and “Torero Blue” school colors.

8. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Carolina Tar Heels

Website

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The North Carolina Tar Heels compete in the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference in the NCAA. Their first recorded basketball game was in 1867 when they defeated a Raleigh all-star team. The Tar Heels were the top overall seed in the 2013 NCAA Baseball Tournament and reached the 2013 College World Series. The school colors of “Carolina Blue” and white are displayed in this ram logo.

9. California State University, Fullerton

Cal State Fullerton Titans

Website

titans

In 35 years of Division I play, the Cal State Fullerton Titans have never had a losing season. Titan Baseball is considered to be among the elite programs in college baseball. They have made 16 College World Series appearances and have won 4 national championships (1979, 1984, 1995, and 2004). Since 1992, the Titans have made an appearance in every NCAA Tournament. Their well known navy, orange, and white school colors are nicely displayed in this famous logo.

10. Wichita State University

Wichita Shocker Baseball

Website

wichita

Black and gold are the team colors that are displayed in the Wichita Shocker’s Baseball logo. The Shockers have made 7 appearances in the College World Series and in 1989 they won the national championship. They compete in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and in the Missouri Valley Conference.

College Basketball Logos

 

1. University of Florida

Florida Gators

Website

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Known for the battles with rivals like Kentucky, Tennessee, and Florida State, the Florida Gators compete in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I and the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The Gators logo displays the fierce alligator, which is Florida’s official state reptile.

2. Rutgers University

Scarlet Knights

Website (Men’s)

Rutgers-Logo

The New Jersey Rutgers Scarlet Knights was one of the first American schools to participate in intercollegiate athletics. The university was among the “Final Four” in the 1976 Division I NCAA Tournament. They ended the 1976 season ranking fourth in the nation. Their logo combines the scarlet school color and the knight mascot, which intertwines with the school’s name. In 2014, the Rutgers Knights will leave the American Athletic Conference and become a member of the Big Ten Conference.

3. Huntington University

Foresters

Website

foresters

The Huntington University Foresters compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). This lumberjack logo combines the school’s forest green and black colors with the chopping ax.

 

4. Temple University

Temple Owls

Website

temple

The Temple men’s basketball team is one of 6 teams in NCAA history to reach 1,800 wins. They were also the first National Invitation Tournament (NIT) champions in 1938, which was one year before the first NCAA Tournament. The strength of their victories are evident in the fierce owl logo, which sports the school colors of cherry, black, and white.

5. Drexel University

Drexel Dragons

Website

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The Dragons joined Division I in 1973. Since then, in 109 seasons, the Drexel Dragons have an all-time record of 1,119 wins and in 2013, the women’s basketball team won the 2013 Women’s National Invitation Tournament. Their dragon logo contains the school’s colors of blue and gold.

6. Saint Mary’s College

Belles Basketball

Website

saint marys

Founded in 1844 by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Saint Mary’s College is a private Catholic liberal arts college. They participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III and the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Nicknamed “The Belles,” this clever logo design incorporates both a bell shape and the outline of the surface of a basketball.

7. University of Maryland

Maryland Terrapins

Website

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Referred to as the Terps, the Maryland Terrapins became a founding member of the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1952. They currently participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I competition. In June of 2014, the Terps will join the Big Ten Conference. Their Chesapeake Bay turtle logo contains the four school colors of red, white, black, and gold.

8. Union College

Union Bulldogs

Website

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The orange and black Bulldogs primarily compete in the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC). In 1952, the student body voted the Bulldog as the school’s official nickname. Since then, the team is known as the Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs. In support of their nickname, a bulldog was purchased as their mascot, which is used in their logo and named Mack. In addition to attending games, Mack also traveled with the 1967/68 men’s basketball team to Kansas City for the NAIA National Championship Tournament.

9. Cazenovia College

Cazenovia Wildcats

Website

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Located in Cazenovia, New York, the Cazenovia College Wildcats are a member of the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC). This logo cleverly uses the school’s colors of blue and gold to create a 3D style wildcat.

 10. Drury University

Drury Panthers

Website

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Drury University is a private liberal arts college in Springfield, Missouri and is home to the Drury Panthers. Their fierce scarlet and grey colored panther logo is a perfect representation of their April 7, 2013 success, when they won the Division II Men’s National Basketball Championship. The Panthers broke a school record by winning their final 23 games of the season and taking their second Great Lakes Valley Conference championship and first NCAA Division II Midwest Regional.

 

College Football Logos

 

1. University of Texas

Texas Longhorns

Website

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Ranked seventh as the most prestigious college football program since 1936 by ESPN, the Texas Longhorns closed their 2013 season with an all-time record of 875–339–33, which earned them the second most wins in NCAA Division I FBS history. The Longhorns compete in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision as a member of the Big 12 Conference. In their history, the Longhorns have a total of 129 players that have been named to All-America football teams. The team had players who won the Heisman Trophy, and had seventeen Longhorns who have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Their simple, but effective, burnt orange and white Longhorn logo is widely recognized as a perfect representation of their football success.

2. Boise State University

Boise State Broncos

Website

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The Boise State Broncos are best known for their famous blue field turf, which is a fitting complement to their orange and blue bronco logo and mascot. The Broncos compete in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision Mountain West Conference. Also known for their overtime win in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl against the Oklahoma Sooners, the Broncos finished the season as the only major undefeated college football team.

3. Ohio State

Ohio State Buckeyes

Website

Ohio-State-Logo

The Ohio State Buckeyes are named after the state tree, the Ohio Buckeye, or Aesculus glabra. They compete in the NCAA’s Division I in all sports and the Big Ten Conference. The buckeyes have won 7 national championships, 35 Big Ten Conference championships, 2 leader division championships, and 2 OAC championships. Their traditional scarlet and grey letter style logo was established in 1987.

4. Oklahoma State University

 Oklahoma State Cowboys

Website

oklahoma_state_university1

The Oklahoma State Cowboys’ logo takes the traditional route with their orange and black letter style design. The Cowboys are members of the Big 12 Conference and compete in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision level. In 2012, the Cowboys made a few changes by including an “All Orange” uniform with a Pistol Pete logo, also know as “Phantom Pete” by Oklahoma fans.

5. University of Arkansas

Arkansas Razorbacks

Website

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Known as the “Hogs,” the Arkansas Razorbacks acquired their name in 1910 by a student body vote. Originally named the Cardinals, this decision to change the name was made after the university played LSU and was referred by former coach Hugo Bezdek as playing like a “wild band of Razorback hogs.” The Arkansas Razorbacks with school colors of cardinal and white are the only major sports team in the U.S. with a porcine nickname.

6. University of Missouri

Missouri Tigers

Website

Missouri Logo

The Missouri Tigers are named after a band of armed guards called the Missouri Tigers, who protected Columbia from Confederate guerrillas during the Civil War in 1864. The Tigers compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA). Home games are played at “the Zou” Field. Their Tiger logo sports their team colors of black and gold.

7. Florida International University

FIU Panthers

Website

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The Florida International Panthers are a mid-major NCAA FBS college football team. This fierce panther logo was created in 2009 and replaced a 2001 logo design, which included a shield and panther creeping from the tall grass. Their newer design only contains the school colors of blue and gold. The FIU Stadium, which holds 45,000 fans, is cleverly nicknamed “The Cage.”

 8. University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Panthers

Website

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The “Pitt Panthers” compete as members of the Atlantic Coast Conference and Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. In 2007, the University of Pittsburgh decided to update their torch-cut Panther head with a sleeker, more polished look. Athletic Director Jeff Long said, “After receiving consistent public feedback, we felt the time was right to give our Panther head a more refined, contemporary look and one that is easily reproduced and recognized.” This new logo style includes the school colors of blue and gold.

 9. Ohio University

Ohio Bobcats

Website

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The Bobcats compete in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) in all sports. Their Ohio green and white bobcat logo was designed in 1999. The Bobcats play at Peden Stadium, which is nicknamed “The Wrigley Field of College Football.” Peden Stadium is considered one of the best college football facilities in the Mid-American Conference and in the nation. In 2012, Peden Stadium brought in its largest crowd with 25,893 fans in attendance to watch the Bobcats decisively beat the New Mexico State Aggies with a final score of 51-24.

10. Rice University

Rice Owls

Website

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Rice Stadium, known for the site of Super Bowl VIII, is home to the Rice Owls football team. Defeating Marshall in 2013, Rice won its first outright football conference championship since 1957. Rice University’s athletic logo includes Sammy the Rice Owl mascot and the university colors of union blue and confederate gray.

 Institutional Logos

 

1. Princeton University

Princeton, NJ

Website

princeton-shield

Princeton University is a private research university and one of the eight Ivy League schools. Princeton offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering. The Latin phrase DEI SVB NVMINE VIGET, translated as “Under God’s power she flourishes,” is Princeton University’s official motto which is proudly displayed in the schools orange and black colors.

 2. University of Saint Francis

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Website

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The University of Saint Francis is a private Catholic university offering majors ranging from liberal arts to health sciences. Founded in 1890 in Lafayette, Indiana, the University of Saint Francis has dedicated themselves to becoming a coeducational university in the liberal arts tradition. The crest in the inner circle shows the arm of Christ joined with the arm of St. Francis at the base of the cross. This symbolizes the fusion of love between Christ and St. Francis as identified through the motto, “Deus Meus et Omnia,” “My God and My All,” which is mounted on the crest.

3. Swarthmore College

Swarthmore, PA

Website

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Founded in 1864, Swarthmore was one of the earliest coeducational colleges in the United States. Located 11 miles southwest of Philadelphia in Swarthmore, PA, Swarthmore College is a private liberal arts college. An impressive 90% percent of Swarthmore graduates eventually attend graduate or professional school, and over 20% of graduates attain a Doctor of Philosophy degree in their lifetime.

4. Lyon College

Batesville, Arkansas

Website

lyon

Lyon College was founded in 1872 as an independent, residential, co-educational, undergraduate liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It is the oldest independent college in Arkansas. Their motto “Perseverantia Omnia Vincent Deo Volente” means “Perseverance Conquers All, God Willing.” Considered a smaller school, Lyon enrolls approximately 600 students from 21 states and 14 countries.

 5. Becker College

Worcester, MA

Website

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Becker College has campuses in Worcester and Leicester, Massachusetts. The Becker College logo traces its history from the union of two Massachusetts educational institutions. Becker is known for ranking in the top 20 for producing the top registered nurses in Massachusetts and ranking in the top 15 nationally for their veterinary sciences program.

 6. California Institute of Technology

Pasadena, CA

Website

california tech

Known as “Caltech,” the California Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Pasadena, California. Originally founded as a preparatory and vocational school by Amos G. Throop in 1891, the school was transformed into its present day research university in 1921. Caltech manages and operates NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Their school motto is “The truth shall make you free.”

 7. Livingstone College

Salisbury, NC

Website

livingstone

Livingston College’s motto “A Call To Commitment. Taking Livingstone College to the next level,” has been the cornerstone of their education principles since 1879. Livingstone is a private four-year college in Salisbury, North Carolina and is a historically black college. It is associated with the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. In 1887, the institute changed its name from Zion Wesley Institute to Livingstone College in honor of African missionary David Livingstone.

8. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

Website

12061, #8,  Seal of Harvard University, VERITAS

Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University is one of the eight Ivy League schools. Harvard, known for its history, influence and wealth is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Harvard’s Latin motto, “Veritas,” means “truth,” a simple statement that has become the foundation of this educational institution which is also the United States’ oldest institution of higher learning.

9. Drew University

Madison, NJ

Website

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Drew University, a coeducational private university located in Madison, New Jersey, is nicknamed the “University in the Forest” because of its wooded 186-acre campus. Originally founded in 1867 by railroad tycoon Daniel Drew for the purpose of training candidates for ministry in the Methodist church, the university expanded to offer an undergraduate liberal arts curriculum in 1928 and graduate studies in 1955. The University motto “δωρεαν ελαβετε δωρεαν δοτε” means “Freely ye have received, freely give.” (from Matthew 10:8 KJV)

10. Chestnut Hill College

Philadelphia, PA

Website

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Originally founded in 1924 as a women’s college, by the Sisters of St. Joseph, Chestnut Hill College is a now a coeducational Roman Catholic college in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Their motto “Fides, Caritas, Scientia” is translated to “Faith, Charity, Knowledge” and is the perfect representation of what this college stands for. The Chestnut Hill campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places which includes St. Joseph Hall, with a six-story Greco-Roman rotunda and French Gothic exterior, and Fournier Hall, which is a jewel of Italian Romanesque architecture.

 

Mascot Logos

 

1. Penn State

Nittany Lions

Website

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The Penn State mascot, the Nittany Lion was created by Harrison “Joe” Mason during a baseball game against Princeton in 1904. Mason and other members of Penn State’s team were shown a statue of Princeton’s famous Bengal tiger as an indication of the treatment they could expect to encounter on the field. Because Penn State did not have a mascot, Mason came up with the Nittany Lion, claiming it was the “fiercest beast of them all,” one who could overcome even the tiger. Turns out his predication was correct, Penn State went on to defeat Princeton that day. Mason’s inspiration for the mascot and logo came from the mountain lion that was spotted roaming central Pennsylvania. Cleverly adding “Nittany” to the Nittany Lions gave Penn State a unique logo and mascot that no other college or university could duplicate.

2. Notre Dame

Fighting Irish

Website

university-notre-dame-mascot

The famous fighting Irish leprechaun was not always the mascot for Notre Dame. From 1930 to 1965, the mascot was a variety of terriers. In 1960 the Notre Dame cheerleaders added the fighting Irish mascot to walk back in front of their squad during games. The fighting Irish Leprechaun became so popular with the fans that it became the official mascot in 1965 when the Leprechaun was registered as an official university mark.

3. Skagit Valley College

Fighting Cardinal

Website

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This Fighting Cardinal Mascot was developed for use in promoting and displaying the spirit of their sports teams, which are members of the North West Athletic Association of Community Colleges, which consists of 2-year colleges in Washington and Oregon, and one school in British Columbia. Skagit Valley College athletics consists of baseball, golf, softball, tennis, and track teams.

4. Oregon State University

Oregon State Beavers

Website

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Benny Beaver was the winner of the 2011 Capital One Mascot of the Year and is the official mascot of Oregon State University. Also known as “The Beaver,” it is not recorded when the mascot first appeared at Oregon State University. However, there are photos of the mascot in university yearbooks dated in the 1940’s. The earlier versions of Benny Beaver was a cartoon logo that was created by famous graphic illustrator and former Disney employee, Arthur C. Evans.

5. University of Wisconsin

Wisconsin Badgers

Website

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In earlier years, the University of Wisconsin used an actual badger at the first few football games. The badger proved to be too fierce to be controlled and was retired to the nearby Henry Vilas Zoo. In 1940, Art Evans, a California-based commercial artist, created the Bucky Badger logo, who wears a “W” sweater and struts forward with a fierce expression. Bucky the Badger was inducted as a charter member of the Mascot Hall of Fame’s College Division.

 6. University of Alabama

Alabama Crimson Tide

Website

alabama

Big Al is the lovable elephant mascot that debuted at the 1979 Sugar Bowl, when Alabama beat Penn State for the national championship. The story of Big Al goes back to the 1930 season when Coach Wallace Wade had assembled a great football team. Sports writer Everett Strupper wrote “when those big brutes hit you I mean you go down and stay down, often for an additional two minutes.” At the end of the quarter – according to reports – the earth started to tremble, there was a distant rumble that continued to grow and some excited fan in the stands yelled, “Hold your horses, the elephants are coming.”

 7. University of South Carolina

Cocky the Gamecock

Website

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Cocky is a cartoon version of a gamecock, a fighting rooster. Cocky made his debut at the 1980 Homecoming game, where he gained popularity and acceptance. In 1981 and 1982 Cocky was invited to be the official mascot of the NCAA Baseball College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. He has also been awarded a ‘mascot national championship’ – the Universal Cheerleading Association mascot championship in 1986 and 1994 and the Capital One mascot championship in 2003.

8. University of Iowa

Herky the Hawk

Website

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After the Black Hawk War of 1832, James G. Edwards, a newspaper reporter in Fort Madison proposed the nickname “Hawk-eyes” in 1838 to the city of Burlington. Later, in 1948, Richard Spencer, a journalism instructor, drew a caricature of a hawk for Frank Havlicek, business director for the university’s athletic department, who was looking for a symbol to represent the athletic teams. This caricature was the birth of Herky the Hawk who first appeared during a football game in 1959.

 9. Michigan State University

Sparty

Website

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In 1925, Michigan State University changed their name from the “Aggies” to “Spartans.” A variety of spartan mascot and logos were tried until 1984 when Gruff Sparty was created by the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, who introduced a new look for Sparty with an unshaven look and general scowl on its face. Today’s Sparty is a more “approachable, fierce yet kind, man for all seasons” mascot. The current costume is a state-of-the-art ensemble that costs $12,000.

 10. Western Michigan University

Buster Bronco

Website

WMU_Broncos

Born in 1988 and a member of the WMU cheer team, Buster Bronco became the official mascot of Western Michigan University athletic teams. The “Broncos” nickname dates back to 1939 when the athletic board of the Western State Teachers College adopted the nickname “Broncos.” The mascot Buster Bronco is also leads an interactive 3D exploration of the WMU campus.

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