Note: These are pieces of concept art only. These logos are not the official mark of any team in The National Football League.
This is a series of logo redesigns that I have worked over the last few months. I initially did the NFL team logo redesigns out of procrastination and shared them with the NFL subreddit on Reddit.com. The response was so positive I decided to use to opportunity to learn, learn more about the NFL history and practice my graphic design skills. Below is an index to posts that you’ll find on this site of the full series of thirty two logos. This post gives a little bit of background to my motivations and inspiration.
I’ve known Adobe Illustrator and how to use it for years now, but I’ve never truly mastered it or bothered to dig into it for no reason other than I haven’t needed to. But as a fan of glyphs, logos, typography and other outlets of graphic design I’ve always felt the need to tackle it. Every now and then I’d attempt it but wouldn’t take it far enough or else wouldn’t have the time to really give it a decent attempt. Until a year ago.
Born out of procrastination I redesigned a select few NFL team logos. Looking back on them, they were okay, but nothing amazing. I didn’t spend a great deal of time on them but shared them with the r/NFL community on Reddit anyway to gauge their reactions. Overall the response was positive. Some loved them. Others were apathetic or disappointed that their team wasn’t properly represented. Most just wanted to see what their team might look like through my eyes.
So I thought to myself—if I want to get better at my hobby, what better way than to tackle the entire league of logos?
I’ve been a fan of the NFL since ‘06 (I’m not from the States) and the aesthetics have always been one of the sport’s drawcards for me. But as I’m pretty sure is the case with most people who call themselves designers, no matter what we see out there, we always think we can do a better job.
NFL logos are a funny business. Some have remained the same for generations while others change regularly, but for the most part the underlying theme of the team has stayed the same for all. Not just in name but in the visuals.
The Denver Broncos logo pre-1997 and their look after back-to-back Super Bowl titles may be substantially different from one another, yet their visual themes are the same. Naturally both feature horses, but the underlying positioning of them, their threatening stature and expression are the stronger visual cues that are carried across in each, despite their initial visual differences. The team’s personality is maintained in both. An example of a good redesign in my opinion; a homage to what came before it and taking pride in the team’s history while still galloping forward.
There are many teams in the NFL with good logos, strong visually that have stood the test of time and through the many changing visual trends over the years. There are also a lot of really crap ones. But every logo has a history and a fan base that clings to it.
When I approach design, I rarely design purely for myself; the catalyst may be of my own ambitions but in the end I design for other people. I get joy out of delighting others with what I create. With that in mind, I set myself parameters for this challenge based on the target audience. Or rather audiences.
32 different teams, 32 different sets of fans, 32 themes, 32 personalities, 32 stories and 32 lines of history. 32 different cities and landmarks. 32 different names. If I was going to do this right by me I would have to do it right by the 32 legacies of the league and stay true to their roots and do right by their followers.
I’m not making these for me, I’m making them for you, the fans. Not an easy task but the perfect exercise in both practical and theoretical design. As such I wont redesign any logo with an inappropriate style e.g. abstract, minimalist or vintage or any of that sort unless it is absolutely the best option. I will retain the current colour schemes of each team. Basically I am giving myself this task: design each NFL team logo as if you have been approached by the said team with or without the respective fan base’s knowledge.
A daunting task, but I always did like a challenge. Plus the offseason is excruciating and this seemed the perfect fit. I even had a deadline.
I am also very aware there are teams whose logos are the stuff of legend, but I’m challenging myself here and so I am challenging you: would you be happy if your beloved team’s logo were one of my creations?
My attempts may disgust you, or they may delight you. I know I can’t please everybody but if I’ve done my job right you’ll be able to see where I came from regardless. Either way don’t hesitate to let me know what you think, they are for you after all.
Subsequent posts in the series are the result of work I have done in my own time over the past 5 months, enjoy.