One of the most important characteristics of an effective sports logo is that it has immediate influence on its fan base. The icon should grasp the viewers attention without a second of extra thought. It should evoke excitement and make the fan want to root for their team. Finally, it should be timeless. Many of the logos made this list for the sole reason that they have stood the test of time with little or no changes while remaining solid as a modern day emblem. This list is opinionated and meant for inspiration and educational purposes. After reading, please feel free to let us know what you think are the top 10!
10. New England Patriots (1993 – Current)
Designed By: Unknown Send us a tip
The original logo of the Boston Patriots (as the team was known) is that of “Pat Patriot”. The Patriots introduced their current logo in the 1993 season when the team underwent a major change in the uniform, colors and logo. The logo is a silhouette of a patriot with the primary colors of the US flag (Red, White and Blue) and a star on the hat. The Patriots logo is also known as the “Flying Elvis” to some because of its slight resemblance to Elvis Presley’s long sideburns.
9. New York Yankees (1903 – Present)
Designed By: Lous B. Tiffay (Tiffany & Co.)
Would you believe that one of the toughest and most recognizable logos in sports was designed by the famous jeweler Tiffany & Co? Believe it, the interlocking “NY” made its first appearance on the uniforms of the New York Highlanders in 1909. The design was actually created in 1877 by Louis B. Tiffany for a medal to be given by the New York City Police Department to officer John McDowell, the first NYC policeman shot in the line of duty.
Perhaps because one of the club’s owners, Bill Devery, was a former NYC police chief, the design was adopted by the Highlanders. It first appeared on both the cap and on the jersey’s left sleeve, replacing the separated “N” and “Y” which had appeared on the left and right breast each season since 1903 with the exception of 1905. For that season only, the “N” and “Y” were merged side by side into a monogram on the left breast actually a forerunner of the now legendary emblem.
8. NBA Logo (1969 – Present)
Designed By: Alan Siegel (founder of Siegel + Gale)
Recognize the man in the silhouette above? The NBA’s silhouette logo of a dribbling basketball player is in fact Mr. Jerry West himself. The mark has generated billions of dollars in merchandising for the league — and it has Alan Siegel to thank for it. At a previous job in the late 1960s, Siegel had just finished overseeing Major League Baseball’s centennial design — a red and blue background framing the white silhouette of a batter, according to the Los Angeles Times. In recent news Siegel announced he would be leaving the Siegel + Gale firm that he founded 43 years ago. Siegel isn’t fully retiring. An occasional blogger for The Huffington Post, he will also continue to teach and conduct research while serving as Siegel + Gale’s chairman emeritus.
Here is the photo that was the main source of inspiration:
7. Detroit Red Wings (1948 – Present)
Designed By: James E. Norris, Owner
The Redwings icon is a wheel with a wing that plays off of the negative space to create a sleek one toned icon. Chicago grain merchant James E. Norris bought the team in 1932. His first act was to change the team’s name to the Red Wings. Norris believed the new name would help the team curry favor with Detroit’s auto industry, and also wanted to pay homage to a hockey team for whom he had played earlier in the century, the Montreal Hockey Club–nicknamed the Winged Wheelers. He also designed the first logo for the Red Wings, which is more or less the same logo that is used today.
6. Boston Red Sox (1931 – Present)
Designed By: John Taylor, Owner
Just like the Redwings, red, negative space and simplicity are the winners here. The Boston Red Sox, the member of the Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division has its roots in Toledo, Ohio, 1912. The current team name, Red Sox, is based on an old-fashioned form of plural socks and was implemented in 1907 by its owner John Taylor.
5. Milwaukee Brewers (1978-1993)
Designed By: Tom Meindel
One of the most recognizable logos in sports, the Milwaukee Brewers yellow and blue mitt logo was introduced in the Winter of 1977 and adorned Brewers caps for the 16 greatest seasons in club history. The logo was selected among more than 2,000 entries from both professional and amateur designers in an open contest in October and November 1977. Tom Meindel, an Art History student at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, designed the logo and earned the $2,000 first prize. The logo combines the lower case letters “m” and “b”, the club’s initials, to form a baseball glove.
Tom Meindel admits he’s not much of a sports fan. But the 58-year-old graphic designer, who has lived in Eugene since the fall of 1991, has a front-row seat to an ongoing debate in Milwaukee over which logo the baseball team should embrace. A growing number of Brewers fans have been clamoring for a return to the old “ball and glove” logo. There were serious talks in 2005 about bringing the logo back but the Brewers still have the same logo today that was designed in 2000.
4. Philadelphia Flyers (1966 – Present)
Designed By: Mel Richman, Inc
After holding a design contest for the name in which a 9-year-old boy from Stockard was the winner with “Fliers”, it was time to design the logo and jersey. Mel Richman Inc., a Philadelphia advertising firm was hired for that job where Tom Paul was the head of the project. It was artist Sam Ciccone that drew the logo. Four stylized wings attached to a slanted P with an orange dot to represent a puck. There were other designs, including a winged skate, but the winged P was by far the obvious choice. It was also Ciccone that designed the jersey to go with the logo. A stripe down each shoulder and down the arms also represented wings. The concept of the logo and jersey was the representation for speed.
3. Memphis Grizzlies (2004-present)
Designed By: RARE Design Thanks Ben Barnes for the tip!
the Grizzlies unveiled their new team uniforms for the 2004-05 season, with a re-vamped team website and a re-designed team store featuring new Grizzlies merchandise at a public event. The results were a modern iconic image that seems to have the basic inspiration of a heart shape but remains one of the toughest faces in sports. One of my favorite parts about this is the contrast of shadow on the right side of the bears face.
“Today, we are proud to show our fans the first stage of a new era of Grizzlies basketball by launching our new primary logo,” said Grizzlies President of Basketball Operations Jerry West. “The new logo is a simple, timeless design that will symbolize winning, tradition and the future of Grizzlies basketball. This logo is unique to Memphis, marrying the tradition of basketball with the history of the city to create a logo that the team, organization and the fans will embrace.”
West added, “Our players were involved from the beginning stages of designing the new logo and in designing the team uniforms. They were very instrumental in describing what they wanted the look and colors to represent. What they wanted was a logo that would make them feel proud, something that represents this city, and something that would symbolize a new tradition of winning and respect.
2. Major League Baseball (1968 – Present)
Designed By: Jerry Dior
First unveiled in the fall of 1968, the horizontal logo appeared on players’ uniforms during the 1969 season, accompanied by the words “100th Anniversary.”
Designed by Jerry Dior, he explains “It just came to me; I did the rough sketch and cleaned it up a bit, and that was that. I never thought anything about it until I turned on the television and saw it on the New York Mets’ uniforms” during the 1969 World Series. Mr. Grant recalls that the cost for the logo was between $10,000 and $25,000.
According to Yahoo! Sports, The inspiration for the Silhouette based on Harmon Killbrew’s batting stance. You can definitely see the similarities.
1. Your Choice
We want your opinion! What do you think is the best sports logo out there and why? Let us know on the comments or on twitter @atgraphicdesign.