Football Branding

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Monday Night Football has been through several changes in the past few years, changes in format and even in a television station. Now the popular program is in for a new and equally important change: a change in brand and logo design.

There was nothing really wrong with the old sports program logo. It is simple, memorable and bold.  There’s not a lot to criticize because there’s not a lot to it: simple black letters with the ESPN logo and the NFL logo tucked neatly beside it. The only downfall is that it lacks character.

The new logo design has character in excess. It has a basic shield shape that ties in with the NFL logo beautifully. A black bar across the shield bears the name of the program in shiny metallic letters. The bottom part of the logo is created to resemble a football, while the ESPN logo at the top is flanked by bright stadium lights. Shiny chrome surrounds the shield.

One of the elements we really love about this logo is the texture. The rubber texture of the bar and the brown pigskin football below offset the metallic elements nicely. The lights are gleaming and lifelike. This logo design was created to look more like a photograph of a three dimensional object than a drawing. The subtle lighting coming from the right side enhances that perception.

Before you run out looking for a 3D logo of your own, consider the disadvantages of this logo, which are more practical than stylistic. Can you imagine this beast of a logo scaled down? A lot of the detail will be lost, and the result will be less than attractive. Consider it printed without color or high resolution on newsprint, or worse yet embroidered on a polo shirt. It just won’t work. We suspect that a simpler version of this logo will be used for those purposes. However, on television screens across the nation, which is where this logo will spend most of its existence, it will work just fine.

The style of this logo design is perfect for the program: bold and manly. It fits the brand well and has the professional details that a brand of this prominence deserves. The old logo was okay, but it could have been created by anyone on any computer’s stock Paint program. The new logo certainly surpasses the old. It just screams ‘American’ and ‘football’.

We usually put a lot of thought into how a logo design will work in various media, and that is generally a very important consideration. For Monday Night Football—not so much. This is a made-for-television logo and it looks like one. The field of television program logos is a unique one with an entirely different set of considerations than other fields of logo design. And, if the logo does not work, there is always next season.

The Monday Night Football brand is strong enough to withstand some experimentation, as long as the core audience of red-blooded American males is not offended.

When we look at national and international sports, it seems that most organizations update their corporate logo designs regularly in order to remain relevant to their fans and audiences. However, some sports organizations seem determined to hold onto their old school logo designs even when it goes against all good sense to do so. We know it seems un-American to criticize football, but one of these organizations is the NFL. The NFL has a logo design that extends well back into the organization’s history. While there have been a few small changes to the design, it has remained functionally the same for several decades. There are several good reasons for this. The shield shape is imposing and implies going to battle, while the colors are as patriotic as they possibly could be. The level of detail is just right, so that the logo design looks good embroidered on a polo shirt or blown up larger than life on a screen. These are all important advantages, but they do not keep the NFL logo from feeling a little stale after too many years on t-shirts and television screens. Some people have pushed to create a logo similar to that of the NBA, with a player as the central image. However, the problem with this is that everyone has their own personal favorite. For example, the Raiders would not approve if Joe Montana were made the model for a logo, nor would 49ers fans enjoy looking at silhouette of Jim Otto on their television screens every Sunday. No one will be able to agree on a silhouette, making this option next to impossible to execute. Another suggestion is that the NFL keep the shield in some form, but make updates. The NFL has updated their shield before, but never in a way that changed its essential shape or nature. Going this route would allow them to keep a recognizable brand while creating an image that would take them into the future. Last, some people think that the logo design should go in an entirely new direction. They could use another abstract logo or use one of the many symbols associated with football. The sky is literally the limit. Almost any change would have the same effect: a small amount of outcry followed by acceptance. Football fans are not known for liking change, especially when it comes to their favorite sport, but they are quick to get on with the game. Many people enjoy the patriotic color scheme as well as the stars and other patriotic elements of the logo design. These, they feel, represent the fact that football is an all-American sport. However, we could keep these symbols while designing an entirely new logo. We also could maintain a feeling of patriotism without resorting to the obvious. The old NFL logo design is simply not that great. It does nothing to represent such a well-known and well-loved brand. Almost any change would be an improvement at this point. This is one organization that obviously needs to be pulled kicking and screaming into the new millennium.

New Jets Logo Takes Flight

A new hockey team is coming to Winnipeg, an event which is very exciting in an area where hockey is as big as football. The team is getting a new name, new uniforms and a new logo design to represent them and their community to the rest of their league and even to the world.

The new team is named the Winnipeg Jets. This name and Canadian pride form the basis for the brand and all visual elements. The red, white and blue color scheme seen in the hockey team logois used by the Canadian Air Force, while there are silver accents that add emphasis and also refer to the metallic color of the jets that the team is named for.

The two main images used in the Winnipeg Jets are a jet (for obvious reasons) and a Canadian Maple leaf. However, there are other fun elements as well. For example, in the round logo that will be used on pucks and other gear, the jet is pointing upward toward a notch, implying that it is headed north. Because Canada is the northernmost country on the continent, this is definitely relevant. One sports team logoshows the wings worn on an Air Force officer’s uniform along with hockey sticks and a maple leaf.

The Winnipeg Jets have a visual image that is patriotic and appealing to the avid logo base, but it is sleek and attractive as well.  We like the way that the color balance seems to pull our eyes into the logos, especially with the occasional pop of red.

One issue some people may have is that the logo design is a little subdued. It is a beautiful visual identity, but how will it hold up next to the more bright and flamboyant costumes in the league? Some might even call it boring. Also, many hockey teams are cutting back on the number of colors in their uniform and logo for simplicity’s sake. For example, we wrote not too long ago about the Nashville Predators’ change to a smaller color palette. This one has two separate hues of red and two more for gray in addition to the blue and white. That just seems excessive, especially when you consider that it is, indeed, a rather quiet, unassuming logo.

This is not the first time that the town of Winnipeg has had a hockey team named the Jets. There was a team in the town years ago that left for economic reasons. Since the Jets let, demand has built rapidly. Now that the fans finally have a hockey team, they will surely embrace them regardless of the logo design. However, having a great logo design will definitely give the hockey team the right image and a measure of confidence when going up against other teams in the league. Moreover, a good logo will lead to even more merchandise sales, which all sports teams need in order to financially survive.

The real question is: what will the new mascots look like?

Brasil or Brazil in 2014?

With one World Cup over, it is already time to start arguing about the next. The latest controversy focuses on the new logo design representing the celebrated global event. The new logo design was officially unveiled at the end of the 2010 games. It immediately was the center of the argument. Here are a few of the reasons that many soccer fans are rejecting the new logo.

The use of a Z instead of an S in the country name.

When it was unveiled, the logo design featured the name of the country, which is normal for sports event logos. However, the name of the country was spelled with a Z instead of an S, because English has been used for several years in World Cup media. This upset many people, especially native Brazilians who prefer the S version. Does removing the country name altogether remove the problem? Not in the hearts and minds of Brazilians.

The prominent display of hands in the image.

There’s a reason the rest of the world calls it football. There are only a few times when a soccer player can use their hands. While it is clever to create an image of multicolored hands in the shape of the World Cup trophy, it may not be entirely an accurate representation of the sport or the host country.

One of the strangest juries ever.

This logo design was one of seven choices that a specially selected panel had to choose from. Who was on this panel? Several notables such as the Secretary of FIFA, Jerome Valcke, but also popular figures such as author Paulo Coelho, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, and pop singer Ivete Sangalo. Were these the most dignified dignitaries that the country had to offer? Are they a fair representation of the aesthetic taste of the Brazilian people?

A well-liked predecessor.

Many people liked the old logo design, which was used when Brazil first made their bid to host the FIFA World Cup 2014. It was serious, relevant, and had the country’s name spelled correctly in its native language. It also looked good on t-shirts and other media, which is important for events such as this. The general feeling among many is that the popular original logo design should have been modified into a new logo, rather than starting from scratch. It’s possible that one of the logo choices had this option, but was shot down by a jury that is not exactly unanimously favored.

Unusual scale.

Most sporting event logos are larger in a horizontal direction so they fit neatly onto television screens and billboards. This one is tall and therefore will present a marketing challenge, namely how to fill all that empty space on both sides.

There are certainly many positive aspects of the new logo design. It has a color scheme that is more relevant to the host country and a general tropical feeling. The design is clever, even if you are one of those who believe that hands are an inappropriate image for a soccer game. Many well-loved logos begin their public life in controversy; we will see if this one follows suit.