Logos are an essential part of most major league sports teams' identities—no matter how many years they've been around or what other changes they've undergone since their inception, they tend not to change much at all (unless league rules force them).
So why does this matter? Well, logos are an essential part of any team's identity! They're also often important parts of communities' identities as well. For example, the NBA logo has become so iconic worldwide that it appears on everything from clothing, and toys. Today, we'll dive into some stories behind famous emblems from around professional leagues that are the most popular.
The NBA logo has been used since 1969, when Alan Siegel and Joe Podell crafted it. When Siegel created this logo for the NBA, sports trademarks were mainly just pictures of the team mascot or name written in different fonts. Very few used people instead of animals or letters. But Siegel hoped that using an actual human face would make viewers feel more connected to their team by showing how athletic they were—and it worked!
Among all of these logos, it is probably the most well-known, and it is usually featured in online sportsbooks and even no-wager casino websites via their NBA-themed slot games. The design is based on a photo of player Jerry West from that year's All-Star Game, where he made an incredible shot with five seconds left on the clock.
Jerry Dior designed the MLB logo in 1968, which features a white silhouette of a batter meant to look like the stitching on a baseball. Although the logo isn’t modeled on any player, it features some characteristics of Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew.
Major League Baseball has used the iconic design since 1968, although some changes were made over the years. The color hues have changed a bit. The blue color turned to navy blue. The logo was designed to look like the stitching on a baseball. Tampa Bay Rays infielder Wander Franco has this symbol tattooed on his neck.
When you think about the NHL logo, you may think it looks like a sigil from a fantasy novel or maybe an abstract design for pipe tobacco. It's not what one would expect from an organization that promotes itself as being down-to-earth and professional in contrast to its rival sports leagues.
But then again, hockey is also known for its roughness—and its players are known for their toughness and brawniness. The design was created in 1917, but it took a while to be adopted. It was designed in black and orange in the shape of a shield. This NHL logo was introduced in 2005 and is similar to the previous version - the shield shape essentially remained the same. Throughout its history, it has only been modified three times.
The NFL logo was designed as a shield with red and white stripes on either side, with a blue football in its center. The colors are meant to represent America’s national flag. As time went on and technology advanced, bringing us more sophisticated designs you can see in different sports bars and fans’ attributes, so did our understanding of how best to display such an iconic image.
After all, we learned long ago that three-dimensional objects could be complex, if not impossible, to properly convey using two dimensions alone! The NFL symbol has remained the league's iconic symbol since it was formed in the 1920s. However, the logo used pink stripes and a ball symbol in the 1940s. In 1962, all stripes were removed, which made it appear cleaner.
The MLS logo is a stylized soccer ball. The original MLS logo was created in 1994 when the league was still known as the United States Football League. It depicted a black-and-white football and a foot.
Four subtle changes were made to the MLS logo before its current design was adopted in 2014. 2015 saw a complete redesign of the MLS emblem with new branding that included an updated shield. Now, it has a more minimalistic and simplified look compared to the previous versions.
You may not know it, but you’re probably familiar with the logos of America’s national sports teams. They’re everywhere: on jerseys, hats and t-shirts, billboards, and television commercials. But despite their ubiquity, they are often overlooked as uncomplicated designs that don't require much thought beyond recognizing them as sports logos. While each team's logo is different—or at least seems to be—they all share a standard structure and history.
While the NFL, NBA, and MLB are some of the most popular sports leagues worldwide, their logos don’t always get as much attention. However, each one has a story behind it—sometimes those stories are more interesting than you might think! We looked at some of America’s most significant sports leagues to see what makes them unique and how they came about.
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