Logos are a central part of any sports franchise's identity. Not least because they can be a game-changer in merchandising sales. For NFL teams, logos tend to fall into some standard categories: animal mascot designs, monograms of the city's initials, takes on iconic symbols. Our resident football expert, Shutterstock designer Jordan Roland, combed through them all to select the five that best reflect the identity, legacy, and sensibility of the area the team represents. Stylistically, these are the logos that stand out from the competition.
Chicago Bears / Shutterstock.com
This storied franchise is among several that have opted for a lone strong letter as their main symbol. The logo is simple, bold, and brash. The Bears take the iconic "C" and make everything exact: Every stroke length is the same size, and everything is proportionally in line. Bears fans are known to be some of the most avid in all of sports, and that energy starts at the top.
The Cowboys' southern pride comes out first and foremost in the team's logo. Everyone knows the blue and white star, but what you might not consider is how much that small symbol has come to mean to Texas residents. What was once just a common shape and style has, over time, become closely associated with this one organization and brand. Designers should take note of how well the Cowboys have pulled this off.
A stampeding buffalo isn't the most obvious choice here, since the team was named after Bill Cody — who earned the nickname "Buffalo Bill" after killing over 4,000 buffalo in just eight months. However, it's how the animal is depicted that makes it so unique. In contrast to the Panthers, Lions, and Ravens, this logo doesn't have any shading, depth, or perspective. Instead, it hinges on the flat look that was a staple of 1970s sports-logo design. The history and folklore behind the name only help strengthen it.
The Packers are another old franchise that has stuck with a classic direction. Their bold "G" dates back to the early days of the NFL, and because the logo has been virtually untouched since the mid-60s, it has become entrenched in the psyches of Green Bay fans. The logo itself has an organic, hand-drawn feel, exemplified by the variations between the thickest points and the thinnest. The history of the team and pride of the city come across every time the Packers take the field.
The Jets took a modern sans serif typeset of the team name and layered it over an "NY" monogram in the background. This style of layering is popular in other leagues, like Major League Baseball, but it's rarely found in modern football. The Jets are also one of only two franchises to incorporate a football into their logo itself (Tampa Bay is the other). Despite any ineffectiveness the team endures on the field, it soars with a design that successfully merges old and new concepts.
What do you think? Do agree with these logo picks, or are there others you prefer? If so, tell us which ones they are and why in the comments!
NFL team names and logos are registered trademarks of the National Football League.