Lightning Logo Design Loses Power?


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Like many sports teams, the Tampa Bay Lightning has an athletic logo design that represents the players in their communities and at games. The professional hockey team recently adopted a new logo that, while similar to the old one, seems to lack the power of the original. Is simple always the best choice? Is the new logo design an epic fail or a hands-down win? Here are a few of the pros and cons that we see in this redesign.

Simpler Design

Pros: One of the first things that we noticed about the new Tampa Bay Lightning logo is that is that it has dropped most of the details of the former design. The beveling and multi-colored accents have been abandoned for clean lines and a single blue hue. Simple logo designs tend to last longer and be more memorable. In addition, they are easier to place in a variety of sizes on a variety of media—this one will work on everything from billboards to hockey pucks. The single color means lower printing costs as well.

Cons: Sometimes a few details are needed to create a well-rounded brand. The new logo is so simple it might actually be yawn-inducing. The old logo design was not unnecessarily complicated or difficult to remember; the details actually gave it character. Further, it offered a color palette for the brand. Is one color really enough to represent all of the team’s activities and merchandise?

New Font

Pros: The new font is definitely easy to read and easy to remember. Further, the lettering is placed above the image rather than on top of it. The use of negative space creates a more modern feeling.

Cons: The old font played on a sense of movement, with more angling and an extended tail on the capital B in Bay. If you look closely, the letters reflect the angle of the lightning bolt. The new font seems to have a few design defects as well—the letters have slightly different thicknesses and the spacing feels awkward. There was nothing really wrong with the old lettering; couldn’t they have simply modified it to work better in the new monochrome palette? Text based logo designs are quite a challenge to brand properly.

Modified Shape

Pros: The circle has been flattened to an oval to give a sense of movement that the former shape was lacking. It looks like a hockey puck coming at you, which is very appropriate for the genre. Further, the new shape fits well with the angled lightning. The way the circle is ‘broken’ as it meets the lightning helps to emphasize the design.

Cons: The circle is an inclusive shape that gives a friendly feeling to the rather harsh and jagged lightning image. The new design lacks this quality and thus loses some of its crowd appeal.

Rebranding and adopting a new logo design is always a risky process. In this case, we have to question whether the new design will be a source of team pride and inspiration. Ultimately, the answers lie with the team and their fans.