Branding Design

When You See The Charlotte Hornets Logo Pyramid You May Want To Create One

With the dark days of the Charlotte Bobcats behind them, the NBA franchise in Charlotte, North Carolina (my home state) returned to being called the Charlotte Hornets in 2014. The franchise, along with the NBA and Jordan Brand, created a new brand identity for the Hornets. Within that identity, they created a new logo system pyramid.

Each of these elements has a purpose. They all contribute to the overall identity and create a new family of assets that can be used by the designers within the organization. Your brand can learn from studying such efforts. It can help you decide on how to move forward with creating your visual identity or revamping your current one.

How Do You Create A Logo System?

Creating a system like this means making sure everything is consistent and relates to the main logo. You need to have an in-depth understanding of the brand, its goals, and its audience(s). You’re not designing each logo in a vacuum. Each element must work in concert with one another. Every logo serves a purpose, while looking like they belong to the same team.

Notice, at the top, you have the Charlotte Hornets full logo. In blocks within the pyramid, you have the main logo deconstructed into additional assets. The hornet is isolated from the text. The hornet is removed from the badge background and made into a single color stamp. The hornet is given a profile. The badge shape is altered into a “C” shape with a crown referencing the city of Charlotte being the “Queen City”. Notice each one has something that can be traced back to the main logo.

Establish your main logo, your visual identity nucleus. You’ll also most likely need a word mark, represented here by the middle box – the “Charlotte Hornets”. Beyond your main logo and word mark, think about how you will be communicating – formally and informally. How many different ways will you be presenting yourself to the market?

Why Create A Logo System?

A logo system may give your brand the necessary tools in the toolbox.  With a sports franchise, for example, each asset has massive merchandising potential. Each can be interpreted many different ways on hats, jackets, uniforms, T-shirts, socks, mugs, etc. Also, each asset can be positioned and used in various ways in various environments. For example, for kids events, maybe the franchise chooses to highlight the Hugo logo more. It still represents the overall brand but in a more appealing, less aggressive way than the sharp edged main hornet. The Hugo logo also serves as a link to the past for classic fans.

According the great people at

“There is also a secondary logo that is a direct evolution of the original logo to be used only as the mascot logo for Hugo. A smart way to give fans what they want — their old glory-days team back — but without compromising the idea of a fresh start through the primary logo. I also bet that any merchandise with this logo will outsell anything with the new logo.”

And, if I’m not mistaken, those shoes were updated to resemble the ‘Concord’ Air Jordan XI 11s. Their majority owner is a former basketball player named Michael Jordan. You may have heard of him.

Having a logo system gives you the best chance to win on multiple levels. Having a well-rounded visual brand identity is extremely important for anyone trying to establish an attractive presence.


One reply on “When You See The Charlotte Hornets Logo Pyramid You May Want To Create One”

Great article bro! Being in Charlotte I know this first hand. A friend of mine works for the Hornets and did one of the logos in the Logo System Pyramid

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