Tuesday, 10 December 2013

A look at basketball use in logos

The Bucks' logo from 1968-93
Basketballs are an overly-common feature of NBA team logos.

There’s nothing wrong with the idea, but the basketball appears to be an uninspired throw-in in too many logos.

Equipment is also a common feature of MLB logos, but is less popular with NFL and NHL logos.

Basketballs are a tempting element to include given how they can easily fit a logo. A basketball is simple and recognizable, works big or small and is easy to interact with for mascots in the logo. Baseballs are similar.

Just because a basketball's easy to include doesn’t mean it should be included. It has to add something.

The argument that a basketball in the logo makes it clear the team plays basketball seems like a poor excuse.

There are instances of a basketball doing more than letting the uninitiated know what sport the team plays. Here are some examples of a basketball benefitting a logo.

Milwaukee Bucks, 1968-93

The pose and expression of the buck, the sweater and the spin marks surrounding the ball are all top-notch. The buck’s carefree confidence is uncommon among mascots on NBA logos nowadays.   

Seattle SuperSonics, 1975-95

An example of a basketball working as a logo outline. The semi-circle shape and colours help a lot, as does Seattle having something to make its skyline distinctive.

Utah Jazz, 1979-96

The word mark is fantastic, and UTAH fits nicely above JAZZ. The colours also work well. But the centrepiece and strongest element is the basketball note: it’s relevant, simple and appealing.

Washington Wizards, 2011-present

The wizard isn’t just holding the ball. It looks as though he’s got it hovering over his finger, or he’s just released a finger roll. The colours and the W formed by his beard are other highlights. The second basketball, the crescent-shaped one, is unnecessary.

Anaheim Amigos, 1967/68 (ABA)

It’s not a great logo given the word mark is just ok and the colours are bland. But the hat on a basketball is likeable, even if the ball itself looks poor. 

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