A Kinder, Gentler Predator

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As far as mascot design go, the one mascot for the Nashville Predators was one of the most genuinely terrifying creatures we have ever seen. This saber-toothed tiger has orange luminous eyes with no pupils and gleaning teeth that so sharp even the shadowing has points. This logo is certainly imposing. Unfortunately, it is also too complicated. The little details are fun and add to the fear factor, but they don’t reproduce well in large and small sizes. Even the scariest hockey mascot needs to look good on a jersey, after all. This is one of the most important principles of mascot design.

Hence, we see the new mascot. It is almost as scary as the original and keeps the exact same outline. However, the new Nashville Predators mascot sample has been simplified. The teeth have more realistic shading that will also reproduce better, and the gold band around the creature has been matched with a gold band running through the design. Many of the details have been cut; in fact, while the old logo design and mascot used seven colors, the new ones use two. This will mean a huge saving on printing costs in addition to the more recognizable image.

The wordmark or the team has also been redesigned, although much less drastically so. The new wordmark is pointy, italicized, and bold; in other words, it is almost a caricature of what a team wordmark should look like. However, it is appropriate for the aggressive sport of hockey logo and even more appropriate for this team, in particular, seeing as how it has fangs.

As we were reading about this new logo, a question kept popping up in our heads: why Predators? It is a mascot name that we have never heard before, and the saber-tooth tiger, while fierce, seems an unlikely choice for a hockey team. It ends up that there is significance to this choice of animal. About forty years ago, the skeleton of a saber-toothed cat was found during a building construction, and it became somewhat of a local legend in Nashville.

How will this new mascot and logo go over with fans? It should be noted that the same mascot has been used since the team joined the NHL in 1997. While Nashville does not seem like an obvious hockey town, the Predators have done well almost every year and been to the playoffs a few times, rallying a fair amount of local support. We think fans will like this new design because it is very similar to the old one, just a less complicated version.

Mascot design is important because it rallies fans and communities. It gives the teams a name and an image with which to identify. It is crucial in most modern sports to have a great, professionally designed logo and mascot. After all, no one wants to feel embarrassed over their team’s design elements. However, the old mascot had a fatal flaw—difficulty in scaling—and the new mascot addresses that beautifully.