For the past five years, the Hawks have harbored a new and modern take on the primary logo. For about 20 years before that change, the Hawks held one of their most iconic logos. This was an actual hawk’s body spread out and hooked onto a basketball. From 1995 to 2015, the open-winged bird was the organization’s identity.
For a long time, this was a fan favorite because of its different and in-your-face design. In 2015, this all changed when the team-branded itself in a more simplistic, minimalist way. The modern design that simplifies a brand has become quite possible. We see that with the Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Miami Heat, and many others. The days of having busy logos are on the way out.
In the age before heavy graphic design and lots of details packed into the logo, the Atlanta Hawks laid the groundwork for their current design. From 1972 to 1995, the Atlanta logo was the silhouette of a hawk, outlined in red with a red semicircle around the front of the bird. The words “Atlanta Hawks” are placed underneath the bird. This was the longest-running primary logo in the organization’s history.
In 2015, this iconic look came back to fit the minimalist mantra. The bird silhouette was slightly updated to look a little more modern, but the idea is very similar. The other change came with the lettering. Instead of having the team’s name in red below the hawk, they added a red circle around the bird and put “Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club” in white lettering in said circle.
In 2021, they are continuing the “Pac-Man” logo with the silhouette, but they are dropping the “club” from the scripted words around the bird. Also, they are slightly changing the font, which you may or may not notice if you aren’t looking too closely.
Although one of the most popular logos in the organization’s history might be the hawk spread out in this dominating way, the Pac-Man bird hits on the nostalgia for a lot of fans.
“Our fans have been so excited by the return of the iconic Pac-Man logo,” CEO Steve Koonin said.
All of the fans that started with the team in the 70s and 80s are grown up now. This new logo is catering to those old fans and tapping into the nostalgia factor. Because this logo is just a modernized version of that original Pac-Man variation, they are doing a great job of rebranding the team to fit its roots. This is a trend that we are seeing all over professional sports as of late.
So, this season, look out for those slight changes in the primary logo. Who knows how long it will stay, but knowing the current trends and how organizations are tapping into iconic looks, it may be around for a while.
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