We’re all inundated with logos every day, whether we realize it or not. From the second we turn over and shut off our alarms for work to getting lunch in the middle of the day to watching television before bed, the visual representations of thousands of businesses have made their mark. When it comes to sports teams especially, creating a logo is one of the top priorities, and many teams undergo repeated bouts of rebranding as they grow and develop.
Why is a logo important? Brand recognition. When a team is able to have a recognizable logo and brand design, it’s free marketing every time someone purchases apparel, and quickly allows fans of the same teams to relate to one another. When it comes to sports logos, there are some distinct criteria that should be explored when developing a sports logo:
- Overall logo design
What do each of these mean, exactly? A sports logo needs to be a few things to work for a team, especially a larger team. While organizations can definitely rebrand as times and attitudes change, there is still something to be said about timelessness. Consider a team such as the Arizona Cardinals, which has been around since before the turn of the 20th century. Their original logo was simply two red C’s, one enveloping the other. In the 1940s, the team rebranded and their new logo featured a red cardinal bird on top of a football. This was again changed in the 1960’s to reflect the head of the cardinal, a logo that had stayed true until retouching and updating the bird’s head in the 2000’s. With little design changes that have been made, the Cardinals have a timeless logo, and even more so since the 1960’s version of the logo design.
The logo should also effectively represent the team, the city, and the team’s overall atmosphere. One team that performs this really well is the New York Mets. Officially, the Mets logo is a baseball with the New York skyline in the background, but other variants have the N and Y letters intertwined with one another. There’s no mistaken that this team represents New York! Conversely, the Cleveland Indians logo does nothing to explain about the team, the city, or the attitude of their fans. The name refers to a Native American player of the Cleveland Spiders in the late 1890’s. The logo, a stereotypical figure with a headdress, does not indicate baseball, Cleveland, nor accurately describe the team’s fans.
A sports logo should also be good! Plain and simple. With so many components to consider, good design still should not go by the wayside! Looking purely at aesthetics, there are some design elements that can never be ignored. Colors, lines, shapes, space, texture, and type are only some of the things that designers must look at! The Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs are two teams that get pure aesthetic appeal when it comes to logo design, while we’d like to have a conversation with the designer of the Florida Panthers. Say what you will, but a logo still needs to be attractive.
Sports team logos get to do something very unique- their purpose is to intimidate! As fun as playing is, the teams are still meant to represent their cities and their fans by bringing the heat and dominating the competition. A sports logo should convey to the opposing team that this team means business! The Memphis Grizzlies, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Timberwolves are great examples of teams that use design to intimidate. Using dark, serious colors and daunting mascots, these are some of the most terrifying logos in sports.
Finally, a logo should be easily merchandized. This is displayed on advertising, apparel, and other items of purchase. The Dallas Mavericks have a logo that’s too busy to simply place on external items, including the word “Dallas”, which renders tiny. The Carolina Hurricanes is another team whose design makes it difficult to use out of context. The Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, and the Seattle Seahawks all have logos that are easily placed on a variety of items, allowing their fans to represent their favorite team on a myriad of products.
Sports logos have a unique set of needs to be effective, and some teams have their branding down pat! Other teams could do with a redesign to ensure that the basics of logo design shine through and make their designs memorable in a good way. What do you think? Does your favorite team have an exemplary logo or should they be reconsidered for a redesign?