Lakeland Flying Tigers

The Flying Tigers logo is both a clever visual metaphor and classic automobile-aircraft style emblem executed in a style harkening back to the glory days of the team's namesake. It pays appropriate tribute to the team's historic military ties, acts as an apt mascot for a competitive athletic team and hints at its affiliation with the MLB's Detroit Tigers. Well balanced aesthetically, apt colors and appropriate baseball-style typography.

Credit: Plan B. Branding

 

Phoenix Suns

Creatively drawing from the city's namesake, the Phoenix Suns logo employs a striking interpretation of the mythological bird and an abbreviation (PHX) which appeals to the hip United States basketball subculture. Not only are the illustration, symmetry and color palette visually pleasing, among its staid, traditional basketball peers it is a truly unique mark.

 

Hofstra Pride

New York based Hofstra University's athletics logo is a wonderful, stylized depiction of its mascot, a lion pride. Because it essentially uses a single solid color (and a yellow highlight) the logo lends itself to versatile application, particularly in the area of merchandising.

 

Toldeo Mud Hens

The Mud Hens logo employs classic baseball typography and colors to evoke the romantic feel of the sport's American heritage characterized by the memories of yesteryear's happy summers and simpler times. The polished, family friendly illustration is set inside a visually pleasing symmetry and cleverly framed by an egg shape.

Credit: Studio Simon

 

FC Dallas

A beautiful, simple graphical rendition of its Texas roots, the badge logo of Major League Soccer's FC Dallas draws from imagery popularly associated with the largest state in the Union, from its use of the state's flag colors to its lone star and Texas Longhorn mascot brandishing a Texas shaped patch on its head.

 

La Salle University Explorers

Mistakenly having thought to be named after French explorer Sieur de La Salle by a sportswriter, La Salle University which was actually named after Catholic saint, St. John-Baptiste de la Salle, ended up adopting the anomalous mascot following a student vote.

 

Penrith Panthers

Although the text of the logo is weak, the NRL's Penrith Panthers logo is carried by a very strong, expressive illustration of the team's ferocious mascot, set in a unique color palette. Especially appropriate for the nature of the sport and the league in which it competes, any fan, particularly those at the younger end of the spectrum, would enthusiastically wear merchandise this mark adorns.

 

Bradenton Marauders

Structurally symmetrical and thematically expressive, the logo of Minor League Baseball's Bradenton Marauders is beautifully illustrated, integrating its pirate mascot into a broader elegant style associated with the romanticized 17th and 18th century Golden Age of "marauding" pirates. Every element, from its typography to its decorative swirls, combine to produce a cohesive expression of the team's novel identity.

Credit: Studio Simon

 

New York Red Bulls

In a curious marriage of corporate marketing and sports franchise ownership, Major League Soccer's New York Red Bulls, the adopted offspring of Red Bull Corp., reflects the identity of its corporate parent. The company's name naturally and appropriately doubles as the team's mascot while the mark clearly inherits its DNA from the parent brand. As an experiment in ultimate brand promotion, this is rivaled by very few.

 

Arizona Diamondbacks, Alternate

The trade-off between using a monogram and a graphic is often a choice between being descriptive (usually geographically, see the New York Yankees monogram) and expressing personality (see Baltimore Oreoles). What the Arizona Diamondbacks logo achieves is both with its D-shaped snake (diamondback), whose creativity and expression breathes personality and life into the team's identity, something for which the league's logos are not typically known.

 

Drake University Bulldogs

Drake University's athletic logo stars a skillfully crafted illustration of their bulldog mascot whose trotting posture and determined facial expression aptly portrays the competitive nature of team sports. Using simple strokes which lends the logo to versatile merchandising applications, its elements are positioned in such a way that it creates a balanced asymmetry which is as visually pleasing as its soft color set.

 

University of Washington Huskies

The stylized husky logo of the University of Washington is a simple, expressive and beautifully illustrated mark which lends itself almost flawlessly to every necessary application, from digital to print to merchandise. Memorable and unique, the logo is a proud visual representative for the university's athletic teams.

 

Golden Lions (Transvaal)

Formerly known as the Transvaal Lions and the Gauteng Lions, The Golden Lions is a South African provincial rugby union team whose storied history stretches back into the late 19th century. It's mark gives the organization a proud face and acts as a strong visual metaphor not unlike tribal war totems.

 

Binghamton Senators

Inheriting the DNA of its NHL affiliate team, the Ottawa Senators, the logo of the American Hockey League's Binghamton Senators is arguably the perfect minor league logo, reflecting its older cousin's likeness and genetics while sporting its own fun, youthful personality. Its ties to the storied Ottawa hockey franchise afford the team credibility and gravtias, while its caricatured mascot, reminiscent of Asterix characters, plays to the strength of minor league sports which tend to emphasize fun and entertainment over pure competition. Beautifully and expressively illustrated, this mark sets a very high watermark and casts a long shadow over its competition.

 

New South Wales Waratahs

Tightly integrating a rugby ball into the state's floral emblem, Australia's New South Wales Waratah's logo is restrained in concept but fresh in execution, treading well the line between tradition and innovation. Not only this, but the stylized waratah is a creative and appropriate metaphoric emblem for the state's rugby team, executed in a skillful manner worthy of the team it represents.

 

Schaumburg Boomers

The logo of the Schaumburg Boomers is a great example of the type of creative freedom afforded to minor league baseball teams. From the quirky, localized mascot (a 'boomer' being a male prairie chicken) to its strikingly executed illustration incorporating iconic baseball elements and typography, this is the kind of unique mark which excites fans and supporters.

 

St Peters College Peacocks

Represented by a wonderful metaphorical juxtaposition of a beautiful aggressive peacock, the mascot of St. Peter's College was chosen for a number reasons, among being the fact that the land on which the campus exists was once owned by a man named Michael Pauw, whose last name means "peacock" in Dutch.

 

Loyola University Greyhounds

The Loyola University Greyhounds' skillfully composed mascot counter-balanced with slanting text is a good example of two asymmetrical parts combining to produce a symmetrical whole which is both visually interesting and visually pleasing. The depiction of its greyhound, whose artistic quality is self evident, is an appropriately dynamic symbol for the institution's athletic team.

 

Eastern Wayne Wee Warriors

The majestic logo of the Eastern Wayne Wee Warriors is a wonderfully expressive illustration whose quality outsizes the 8U football team it represents.

 

Pepperdine University Waves, 1998-2003

Pepperdine University's athletic team was formerly represented by the greek mythological god, Triton, as a personification of its waves mascot, a creative choice, but also a slightly ironic one considering the university's Christian roots.

 

Kent State University Golden Flashes

Originally known as the Silver Foxes, influenced by the Kent State University president's raising of the breed on his farm, the name was later changed to the Golden Flashes after a college-wide team naming contest following the controversial firing of the president in 1926. The mark plays on the idea of a diving golden eagle (which can reach speeds of up to 150 miles/hour), to create a wholly original and expressive identity - an important ingredient in generating fan enthusiasm and team support.

 

Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs

As a testament to the area's rich steel history, Minor League Baseball's Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs are named after raw steel, known colloquially as "pig iron". Quite apart from its practical strengths - simple lines, basic color palette and balanced proportions - the logo is a wonderful visual interpretation of the team's identity which has been resoundingly endorsed as evidenced by the team's strong merchandise sales.

Credit: Plan B. Branding

 

Miami Heat

Representing its abstract mascot with a flaming fire[basketball]ball is a creative solution for the NBA's Miami Heat. Although the tail end of the flame could use some refinement and the hoop is a slight distraction, overall this mark is both visually pleasing and functionally practical for its wide range of application requirements.

 

Ryerson Rams

Because visual identities don't exist simply as self aggrandizing monuments to an artist's artistic talent, logo design, particularly athletic logo design should be concerned not simply with looking good on paper or screen, but working well in different sizes and on different mediums. The logo of Canada based Ryerson Rams is such a mark which is expressively and skillfully crafted with a single color and simple lines in such a way that it looks great and works practically on everything from ink on paper to embroidery on fabric.

 

Sydney Roosters

Australia's Sydney Roosters Football Club turns what is an awkward animal and quirky mascot into a strong, proud figurehead whose adoption was rumored to have been inspired by the French national team's mascot, "le coq".

 

Joliet Slammers

Minor League Baseball carries a tradition of novel team identities and the Joliet Slammers are no exception owing to their logo's visual interpretation of a clever word play on the term "slammers", both a slang reference to a prison and a noun for someone who hits bases loaded home runs.

Depicting a baseball diamond in a prison yard surrounded by barbed wire topped walls overlooked by a guard tower, the logo is vividly illustrated in a symmetrical fashion, interweaving the team's name neatly like a jigsaw puzzle. Compounding the rhetorical double entendre, the team's mascot is a black crow nicknamed, J. Bird from the colloquial term referring to prisoners as jailbirds.

Although the area is well known for its proximity to a couple of large penitentiaries, the risk of its convict association being considered a little unsavory seems to be fairly well neutralized by the logo's cartoonish rendering.

[Also see, alternate versions.]

Credit: Studio Simon

 

New Hampshire Primaries

Playing off the state's hosting of the famous presidential primary election every four years which signals the start of the next election cycle, the New Hampshire Primaries cleverly adopted both an elephant and donkey as mascots representing the Republican and Democratic parties respectively.

Credit: Studio Simon

 

Hartford Whalers

The logo of the Hartford Whalers is an abstract monogram whose 'W' combines with its whale tale to create an 'H' in the negative space to create one of the classics of the sporting world.

 

Lancaster Jethawks

The mark of minor league baseball's Lancaster Jethawks is an effective visual metaphor constructed by combining elements of the club's unique identity, from its proud hawk and crossed baseball bats to the emblematic wings representing the area's association with the aerospace industry. Versatile enough that icon variations can be extracted from it depending on the necessary application, the crest-like logo is a strong merchandising asset for the organization.

 

Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins' custom badge lockup shies away from the popular trend of slick, athletic illustrations in favor of a classical stylized bear mascot with a polished, modern feel and in doing so, successfully showcases its past while embracing the present

 

Pensacola Blue Wahoos

Named for a fish common to the area which is fun to catch and whose name is fun to say, the mark of minor league baseball's Pensacola Blue Wahoos adheres to Brandiose's design philosophy that if "it [can] fit in another city ... it?s time to go back to the drawing board". Employing typography which mimics that of the iconic Pensacola Beach sign and colors which uniquely represent the feel of the city, the logo is a vibrant and fun visual metaphor for the area and the club's minor league baseball experience.

Credit: Brandiose

 

Southern Illinois Miners

Creatively fusing the team's mining roots with the baseball theme, Minor League Baseball's Southern Illinois Miners logo is a type of visual portmanteau - a baseball bat-pick axe wielding miner, artistically and expressively illustrated in a fashion which lends it to versatile merchandising applications.

 

Cricket Australia

The mark representing the governing body of cricket in Australia is elegant and succulently evocative in representing the feel and tone of the country's iconic summertime love affair with the game.

 

Lake Erie Monsters

Minor league sports teams possess greater freedom (usually because they're not weighed down by a long history and legacy) to adopt more novel, creative identities which tend to generate greater fan enthusiasm and loyalty. In fact, the more successful teams tend to see this freedom almost as a mandate to move in this direction, distinguishing themselves from the often disposable, dime-a-dozen competition whose unique selling point is largely geographical. Paying homage to the area's fabled Loch Ness Monster equivalent, the American Hockey League's Lake Erie Monsters is such a team, with an identity whose fun, novel, geographically appropriate concept is done justice with a skillful execution.

 

Lake County Captains

The maritime themed, badge-like logo of Minor League Baseball's Lake County Captains is comprised of its team name underlined by ocean waves and set in a ship's wheel in metaphorical tribute to its captains mascot. Employing a traditional baseball typography used by Major League clubs like the Anaheim Angels, the logo blends both baseball and maritime tradition in a classy mark.

Credit: Studio Simon

 

Oregon Ducks, Donald Duck

Following a handshake deal between Walt Disney and the university's athletic director, Leo Harris in the 1940s, the University of Oregon adopted the iconic Donald Duck as its official mascot, tying its image indelibly to the House of Mickey in a novel move which has withstood the test of time.

Credit: Disney

 

Charlotte Checkers

Sometimes a great sports logo is simply a great character illustration, and the former logo of the American Hockey League's Charlotte Checkers is just that. Drawn with solid lines and simply colors, it's not only expressive, fun and appropriate, but also versatile.

 

Chennai Super Kings

Chennai's Twenty20 cricket team, playing in the Indian Premier League is represented by a logo with a distinctly Indian flavor, from its stylized lion to the crown adorning its work mark. Well balanced and distinct, the mark is a proud symbol of one of the league's strongest teams.

 

Saginaw Sting

Combative logos are the order of business for most American sports teams and rightfully so because of sport's parallels to military battles. The Continental Indoor Football League's Saginaw Sting is no exception, employing a aggressive, soaring wasp as a visual metaphor to represent what is an abstract team name. If the role of a sports team's identity is to promote competitive loyalty and solidarity, this mark succeeds admirably with a color palette reminiscent of traditional army hues.

 

Lebron James 23

The former mark of former Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player, LeBron James, cleverly incorporated his particulars - the initials L,B and J and his jersey number, 23, along with a crown to represent his self-proclaimed nickname, King James. Versatile and compact, this logo adorned the merchandise of his Nike affiliated merchandise until he adopted the number 6 jersey.

 

Wichita Wild

An occurrence more frequently associated with small school or little league teams, the Indoor Football League's, Wichita Wild, tears a page straight out of the local amateur league playbook by adopting the logo of a professional sports team from across the pond playing in Australia's National Rugby League, the Wests Tigers. Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, the Wests Tigers would no doubt appreciate the compliment, but barring a written agreement and a compelling reason, this amounts to identify theft.

UPDATE: We received an anonymous email claiming that the "tiger part of the logo is a generic logo available online with no copyights associated with it. It is not the property of either team, and was found searching through logos". We have not been able to verify this because no links were provided.

 

Ottawa Senators

The NHL's Ottawa Senators logo is an impressively crafted illustration of a resolute ancient Roman senator, constructed using strong stroke lines which lends itself very well to both single color and embroidered applications on merchandise, the sale of which makes up a large portion of franchise revenue. Well balanced and framed by a metallic 'O' for Ottawa, the logo serves as a proud symbol and an appropriate representation of a competitive athletic team.

 

Sergio Garcia

Designed by FutureBrand, the logo of Spanish professional golfer, Sergio Garcia, cleverly weaves together two strands to create an uppercase 'S' which doubles as a lowercase 'g'. Set in red and gold and styled after a gothic tradition, the mark pays tribute to his national heritage in a manner befitting the class, culture and tradition of the game.

 

Deccan Chargers

Created by legendary identity designer, Chris Mitchell of Epic Icons, the logo of Indian Premier League cricket team, the Deccan Chargers, in a nod to sporting tradition, mirrors the shielded format of storied football clubs like the English Premier League's Arsenal Gunners, while expressing the energy, freshness and vibrancy of the nation's most popular game with its dynamic bull mascot. Comfortably contained and symmetrically balanced, the mark is a proud, appropriate figurehead for the young cricket club.

 

Oregon Ducks

Designed in close association with Nike, whose founder, Phil Knight, is an alumnus, the single letter monogram of the Oregon Ducks is a beautiful specimen, sleek and strong with a typeface to match, representing typographically the qualities of a top flight athletic team.

South Dakota State University Jackrabbits

Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto Raptors

Xavier University Musketeers

Orem Owls

Lakeland Flying Tigers, Alternate

South Africa Rugby

Houston 1836

Memphis Grizzlies

Aiken Foxhounds

University of San Diego Toreros

Manly Sea Eagles

Melbourne Storm

Salt River Rafters

Penn State University Nittany Lions