Logoing in Style

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Fans of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors got an extra Christmas gift this year. Though they won’t actually use the logo until next season, the organization decided to take its image in a more serious direction to match the newfound competitiveness of their team. Somehow Toronto’s original Barney the Dinosaur scheme didn’t scream NBA championship.

Logo evolution is a natural step in the process toward the overall success and rebranding of any team or company. There are some other striking examples of change.

Watching Duke beat Elon recently in college hoops, the latter’s logo stood out as an example of the march of progress. Change is inevitable, especially when your original nickname is the Fightin’ Christians.


Suitable for religious warfare or comic relief. Maybe not so much for credibility. And the real shocker is this particular change at Elon wasn’t executed until the millennium.

The Buffalo Bills didn’t wait so long. The NFL team switched logos in 1979 and soon after soared to four consecutive Super Bowls. Hard to imagine Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly leading those high-octane offenses to glory with the more pedestrian Buffalo design.

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The New England Patriots have reached six Super Bowls since their big logo change occurred in 1993. Although, that success may have more to do with the coaching of Bill Belichick and quarterbacking of Tom Brady. Still, the squatting minuteman had to take a hike.


Logo changes are almost always improved upon as the years go by. An early Volkswagen symbol looks like a confusing maze compared to its current, simpler, sleeker look.

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But, logo change is not ALWAYS a good thing. Baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers ditched the best logo they ever had–and the one the team wore for the most successful period in its history.

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Coolest insignia in sports history. The brilliant baseball glove logo was created in 1977 by a college student, and earned its designer a $2,000 first prize in a contest run by the team. A bargain, compared to whatever exorbitant fee the Brewers paid for the current corporate look. The team should really go back to the future.

Dave Coombs was morning radio partners with Gomez Adams for almost 20 years. They had only one logo.

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