NFL reimagined.

 
 

NFL reimagined.

This post on the ever-increasingly Buzzfeedy Fastco design features Pentagram designer Matt McInerney redesigning logos for all NFL teams. Hm. Six of these teams haven't been around that long.

Quote the article:

He’s (McInerney) careful to point out that the effort is just a fun side project, and he knows that unsolicited redesigns often include elements that might not, in his words, "stand up to real world scrutiny." But several of his marks seem like they’re nearly ready for primetime.

This is a very interesting self-promotional fun side project indeed, but also one that comes with a strange beehive attached. And it is one that is more unique to design that advertising, I would say. Houston Texans (Ironically, the newest team on the list), Green bay and Seattle work well as revamped logos. While others feel more like Kid Robot characters than football teams. And McInerney has clearly researched the project, paying homage to Buffalo (named after Buffalo Bill, natch) but oddly forgetting or ignoring the fact the Steelers logo was given to them by the American Iron And Steel Institute. Think about that-- there is logo sharing going on. That in itself is fascinating.

It's all of course hypothetical as McInerney points out no one has asked him to do it. But if someone hypothetically asked him to design a sports logo I think he'd have an easier time if the teams were brand new.

Outside the design world, people aren't interested in improving logos and typefaces. If anything, it pisses them off and they want to keep the original intact. See Tropicana for reference. Not because we're tied to our bad outdated sense of swelling force, and color scheme. But because ugly or not, logos represent a part of our history. They've been reinforced from a very early age. They represent us as much as they do the brand.

In the context of orange juice, it's family. it's mornings, perhaps with a loving parent. More often than not, spent at a kitchen table, maybe in front of Saturday morning cartoons. In the context of football, it represents every win, lose, near miss, short end to season, thrilling pass, rebuilding year and triumph your team--and by extension, your home town--as had over the years. I should know; I grew up in Pittsburgh. A former steel town that try as it might, is still recognized by those roots by every NFL commentator. Those roots are not only what makes us, but what represent us to the rest of the country. Much more than your city's flag.
Quick, can you even describe your city's flag without looking it up? Your pro-sports team is your city's welcome wagon, or threat. The logo on that jersey is a source of pride--sometimes one of the only sources of pride a city has.

It's a constant struggle between the creative minds wanting to reinvent the wheel, and the "regular" people wanting the wheel to stay where it is. it seems the most successful logo rebrands come from a gradual, rather than total shift. But even then you are at risk for ridicule. Ebay, a relatively new company in the great scheme of things has had enough time to be inscribed in our collective conscious. It's a tall order for any designer (or company CEO for that matter) who wants to put their greasy thumbprint on history.

Put another way: The last Montreal Expos game was in 2004 .
But if you go to Montreal, the logo still lives on. What other reason would it be if not because the logo means the world to a city?

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