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.

 

National Park Foundation

Hiding a snow capped mountain and gentle stream in the negative space of a ranger's hat, the logo of the National Park Foundation is an imaginative, vividly expressive and utterly appropriate symbol of national parks in the United States.

 

Oxford University Press

For a brand with a strong name and significant name recognition, a graphical icon tends weaken the logo by distracting from and competing against it for attention [see Xerox, Wacom]. Oxford University Press plays to its name's strength by emphasizing its scholarly, academic Oxford University association with a customized word mark which fuses some of its letters together to infuse interest, uniqueness and personality to a logo which could easily be boring and disposable.

 

Papyrus

Named after the earliest form of paper crafted from the papyrus plant and specializing in greeting cards, stationery and printing services, the logo of Papyrus reflects the creativity, elegance and eloquence of its products and philosophy in a manner which is unique and memorable. Although the significance of its hummingbird icon is cryptic (symbolizing the legend which "say[s] that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration"), its beautiful rendering and unique color is a visual asset which reinforces the emotive mission of the company.

 

United States University

Private, for-profit college, United States University, attempts to project gravity, sobriety and academic credibility with a university seal mimicking those of its older, more respected cousins (and possibly those of the federal government). Undermining this to a degree is the almost comical magnitude of its out-sized name playing on the idea that if being named after a state is good, then being named after a country is fifty-fold better. Setting this aside, it's a beautifully and elegantly rendered mark which tends to succeed within the limitations of its field.

 

Evernote

Playing on the legendary perpetual memory of elephants, the logo of Evernote, the web-based note taking and organizing service uses a stylized elephant whose dog-eared ear mimics its paper bookmarking counterpart.

 

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

 

City Of Lawrence, Kansas

In 1863, Lawrence being a strongly pro-abolitionist city in "free-state" Kansas, attracted the ire of pro-slavery raiders from neighboring Missouri headed by William Quantrill whose group conducted a massacre of some 180 men and boys, reducing the city to smoldering ruins. Banding together to re-open its stores and businesses and aided by the arrival of the railroad, Lawrence, Kansas rose from the ashes to become what today is recognized as both one of America's best college towns and best places to retire. Adopting the mythical phoenix as a visual expression of the city's motto, "From Ashes to Immortality", the logo of Lawrence, Kansas is a beautifully crafted mark which is both distinct and historically appropriate.

Credit: Flory Design

 

Flying Fish Brewing Company

Flying Fish Brewing Company cleverly adds two propellered wings to a fish skeleton to create a quirky visual metaphor representing the small New Jersey based brewery.

 

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

 

Holmes And Yang

Sophisticated and creative, the logo of premium fashion label, Holmes and Yang - the brainchild of actress, Kate Holmes and stylist, Jeanne Yang - uses implied lines to spectacular effect as a way to set its brand apart from the minimalist san serif wordmarks so commonly adopted in the fashion world.

 

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.

 

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.