Luke and Jason are copywriters at Simple Truth. Even though their strongest design skill is switching from Helvetica to Georgia, we let them review all 32 NFL team logos.
Disclaimer: Their opinions (such as “That’s a good red” and “This logo is nice”) do not reflect the standards of the Simple Truth design team.
This week, they tackle the first half of the alphabet. Then they take a week of halftime because they write headlines and sentences all day. Writing full paragraphs is a tough process. They’ll cover the second half of the alphabet next week.
The guys had six logo categories: animals, letters, symbols, birds, humans and Browns. Ready? Let’s go.
Jason: Looks like someone’s unhappy with your birdseed choices.
Luke: I like the redness of it. That’s a good red. It’s angry looking, so that’s good. But — and this is the main gripe I have — it’s a cardinal. Least intimidating bird and one of the least intimidating mascots in the entire league. I’m not sure if a seahawk is a real thing, but even if it’s fake it’s still scarier than a real-life cardinal. Where does it rank for you among bird logos? I have it third out of five.
Jason: Sadly, it ranks in my top two birds.
Luke: This is the only bird logo to show the entire body. The other four are just severed heads. Thus, the Atlanta Falcons have a brave bird logo. I don’t know what that means.
Jason: It’s missing a tail. Also, it doesn’t look like it could actually fly.
Luke: This thing can totally fly. That right wing is sleek. Also, are we sure birds have tails?
Jason: Bird tail.
Luke: Got it. This is my second-favorite bird logo.
Jason: If it’s supposed to be origami, it’s perfect. Third-best bird.
Luke: How on earth can you like the cardinal more than the falcon?
Jason: I don’t know. I just do. It’s just a nicer logo.
Jason: Yes. Nice is a design term, right?
Luke: The top of the alphabet is shockingly bird-heavy. And here’s the worst bird logo. It looks like it got trashed and got a face tattoo. It wasn’t a bad bird before, but now that it has a face tat it has no choice but to turn to a life of crime. It seems oddly hairy, too. I think I’ve proven I don’t know much about birds, but I’m pretty sure they don’t have hair.
Jason: It looks like it’s related to Heckle and Jeckle, and that is not a good thing. It also seems to have a human eye. I’m all for anthropomorphization (that’s right, I said it), but this gives me a bit of the heebies and the jeebies.
Luke: Worst bird logo?
Jason: It’s not even close.
Jason: Maybe it’s Kevin Costner’s fault, but I have a thing for the buffalo (also, I don’t know how to spell the plural of buffalo…buffali?). It’s a majestic beast. AND they added a stripe? Sold. I do wish they would have at least attempted a Bill logo. Just some guy named Bill…on a helmet.
Luke: Plural of buffalo. You like that stripe? Why is it there? Is it illustrating movement? Because I already get that with the hooves. WHAT IS WITH THIS STRIPE.
Jason: It’s a magical buffalo. Just give in. You know you want to.
Luke: It looks like it just suffered a fatal wound at the hands of a heartless frontiersman.
Jason: Or DELIVERED one! Run free, my friend, run free.
Luke: Where does it rank among animal logos? I have it third out of eight.
Jason: Second-best animal.
Luke: It’s a roaring panther and yet it bores me. There’s no movement happening. I’d go so far as to say it looks chubby. I did a quick scan and it’s definitely the only fat logo in the league. Second-worst animal logo.
Jason: This is my least favorite animal logo. Not only does it barely resemble a panther, it’s got a neck that’s three times as big as its head. Throw in the creepy no pupils thing and it’s just a dumb, boring fake cat. Other than that, it’s great. One of the worst logos in the league.
Luke: The “C” stands for confidence. Simple, elegant, classic.
Jason: Oh brother.
Jason: Paging homer. Is homer in the house?
Luke: Are you telling me you don’t like this logo?
Jason: Simple and classic, yes. Also, one of the least original logos around.
Luke: It’s been around for nearly a century, so I’d call it one of the most original. But I understand your anger. I’d be mad too if my team ditched a great logo for an underwhelming one.
Jason: It’s a classic, I agree. Thankfully they didn’t drop a spaceship on top of it to “update” it.
Luke: Stadium rankings are another story. Stick to the game plan, sir. Where does this thing rank in lettered logos? I have it second out of eight.
Jason: Third-best lettered logo.
Jason: This one I don’t get. Where do they use this logo? Their helmets are those cool bengal stripes. If we’re judging the helmet, this is one of the coolest in the league. If we’re judging the logo, it’s hideous. They just slapped stripes on the letter “B.” Lettering logo rank: seventh out of eight.
Luke: I have it sixth out of eight. The stripes are a no-brainer, but they still look good. What I have a problem with is the lettering. Total mail-in. Your mascot is a Bengal tiger, easily one of the world’s coolest animals. Instead? The letter “B.” As in “barf.”
Luke: Where do I even start? How about here: They’re called the Browns and their logo is orange.
Jason: THE. WORST. Not only is it not a logo, it’s not even brown! I get that you’re going for minimalism, but this might be one of the ugliest helmets in football history. And yes, I am aware that this helmet exists.
Luke: You can’t even categorize this abomination. It’s not a bird, animal, human, letter or symbol. It’s just a concussion enabler. There’s only one helmet logo in the league, and this is easily the worst one.
Jason: It’s like their goal was to create a logo that a person just waking up from a 70-year coma would see and say, “Oh, right. Cleveland is a place that exists.”
Luke: Unchanged and instantly recognizable. Whether you love or hate the fact that this is America’s team, this is their symbol. And I call it the second-best symbol logo out of the six that there are in the category.
Jason: Iconic. It pains me to say it, but this is a really nice logo. Everything is bigger in Texas, but somehow they were able to avoid creating a 40-foot neon cowboy lassoing the world’s biggest bull while riding a rocket as a logo. It’s my favorite symbol logo.
Jason: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The old “D” logo with the horse coming through it was spectacular. There was even smoke coming out of the horse’s nostrils! The new logo is definitely meaner looking than its predecessor, but it looks too much like all of the “updated” logos. Sacrifices class to look contemporary. Boo. All that said, the orange mane is pretty sweet. Bumps it up to number four in the animal category.
Luke: I also have it fourth out of eight among animals, but the bottom half of that category contains obese panthers and (spoiler alert) blue-tongued jaguars, so there’s not much competition. As much as I appreciate a jacked-up horse with murder in its eyes, the old logo was the real deal. John Elway. Am I right? JOHN ELWAY.
Jason: Agreed. Bring back the Orange Crush!
Luke: Get ready to hate me. This is the second-best animal logo, just ahead of the Bills. Know why it’s better? Because it doesn’t need a self-conscious red slash running through it just to liven things up. It’s a lion. It’s on the attack. That’s all you need.
Jason: It’s a blue lion. Strike one.
Luke: Oh, my bad. I forgot buffaloes are blue.
Jason: It’s not very threatening. Strike two.
Luke: You’re not very threatening.
Jason: Every time I see it, I think of this. Strike three.
Luke: I think you’re projecting team inadequacies onto the logo.
Jason: Did I mention it’s a blue lion?
Luke: You’re the worst. Why does Buffalo get a pass for blueing it up and Detroit doesn’t? Just because you love Kevin Costner?
Jason: Here’s where the fight starts. Love the horns. Love the star eye. Love the use of white space.
Luke: White space? Who are you right now?
Jason: It’s an important element.
Luke: So you’re saying this is your favorite logo in the entire league.
Jason: Spoiler alert: yes.
Luke: This is so wrong. It’s the worst animal logo in the league. Or maybe the worst symbol logo. What on earth is this thing? Let’s start with their plagiarism of two iconic logos. Yes, Texas is the Lone Star State. I get it. It’s also the symbol of the most famous football team in the world. Go another direction, guys. And, hi, maybe you don’t want to rip off a college team while you’re at it. It looks like they’re doing their own take on a longhorn.
Jason: So no one else can use longhorns or stars? The star is from their state flag and the state mammal is the longhorn.
Luke: It’s unoriginal. I guess they did their best with what they were given. As far as boring nicknames go, it doesn’t get much better than the Texans. You think that and immediately think of a cowboy, but oops! Can’t do that. Someone’s got that locked up already. How else do you illustrate a Texan? With obesity? Or shotguns? The problem is with the nickname. Why don’t they just call them the Houston Oilers again? That logo was bananas.
Jason: We have another number one. Best symbol logo, closely eking out the Cowboys. Simple and straightforward wins the (horse) race. Little weird that it’s blue, but it’s not a lion so I’m okay with it.
Luke: I’m not as high on this. Good, not great. A couple symbols are clearly better. Although it was a smart move making their logo a universal symbol for luck. As in Andrew Luck, whom they drafted thanks to one perfect year of fully planned suckitude after Peyton Manning left. Third-best symbol logo for me.
Jason: First mention of actual team play on this list?
Luke: It is. Although we all know you were picturing the Lions’ ineptitude when you pooped all over that blue beast.
Jason: Is this a jaguar or the hollowed-out head of some jaguar-snake monster they found in the jungles of Peru? Did they kill the shaman who was wearing it before stealing the treasure buried deep beneath Yerupaja? Did that lift the curse or are we all doomed? See you in my nightmares, hell beast.
Kansas City Chiefs
Luke: Big fan of the arrowhead symbol that ties in nicely with the name of the stadium. Not a big fan of the lettering here. The shadowing in particular is making me upset. Switch to a flat look, Chiefs. Embrace what’s trending. Fourth-best lettered logo out of eight.
Jason: I feel like they didn’t really put in any effort here. “Why don’t we just do an outline of an arrowhead (with squiggly lines, of course), then just interlock the ‘K’ and the ‘C’ and go have an early lunch?” They deserve a better logo than this. It is significantly less overtly racist than the Redskins logo, so there’s that.
Read part 2 here. Some (Jason and Luke, mostly) say it’s even better than part 1!