Earlier this month, the New Jersey Nets moved to the new Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn, New York, and got a brand new logo by partial owner, Jay-Z. The logo is a basic black-and-white treatment, with the shield motif, basketball, and team name from the previous incarnation reduced to a two-dimensional plane inspired by old public transporation signs. It wasn’t super well-recieved by professional designers, who explain, “the logo family is technically worthless and embarrassing. The “NETS” typography on the primary logo is conceptually uninspired…and visually unbalanced with a shift in thicks and thins that is neither obvious enough to look like a Humanist sans nor non-existent where it would be a Geometric sans.”
So, it got me thinking: what are some of the best professional sports logos? Which are those that convey the tone of the sport, the city they represent, and the identity of the franchise as a whole?
I found this article at Bleacher Report – Power Ranking the Best 100 Team Logos of All Time – and picked fifteen standouts. So, maybe this post should be titled, “Chris narrows down fifteen favorite professional sports team logos of the one hundred identified by Zack Pumerantz of Bleacher Report…” but that would fit in the title field.
So, in no particular order:
NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers Alternate 1990-2002 The most logo-y of the bunch. Could also work for a communications company, and yet still identifiable as a basketball team and a “Trailblazer”
NHL’s Detroit Red Wings 1948-Present Virtually unchanged for the nearly sixty-five years, it says Detroit, Red, and Wing all at once. Will never need improving.
MLB’s Chicago Cubs Alternate 1997-Present A perfect mix of warm and familiar…and terrifying. Look at that angry eye!
MLB’s New York Yankees 1913-1946 More or less the same since the team’s been around, you think it’s basically the best way to convey New York City sports…until you see:
NFL’s New York Giants 1961-74 Just as bold, just as NYC, but plenty more minimalist.
NHL’s Philadephia Flyers Alternate 2011-Present It’s a P, it’s flying, it’s fantastic.
NFL’s Seattle Seahawks 1976-2001 Evocative of the Pacific Northwest, sturdy, without intimatidation. The color scheme isn’t my favorite, but the lines are excellent.
NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies 2004-Present The newest of the bunch, this guy conveys what it would look like if there was an actual bear on the basketball court.
NHL’s Boston Bruins 2007-Present No NHL logo is better suited to be printed on a hockey puck
MLB’s Brooklyn Dodgers 1932-58 Solid, yet ornate. Strong and plenty of fun. Representative of an era.
MLB’s Houston Astros 1965-74 Established during the atomic age and the space race, this Astros logo doesn’t hide behind its less-than-likely team name, but embraces it. Get me this on a t-shirt.
NHL’s Quebec Nordiques 1980-95 The franchise became the Colorado Avalanches in 1995, but this logo makes me hope for a rebirth. My favorite of the bunch.
MLB’s New York Mets 1962-98 Might not totally capture your attention, but when you look it, you can’t find anything to fault.
NHL’s Edmonton Oilers 1996-97 The text is oily without being gross, and just looks like a hockey logo should. They’ve a much more contemporary option now, but this motif will never go away entirely