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Branding Design

How To Design Logos For An Entire Fictional Football League

With the surprising demise of The Alliance of American Football, my plan of creating more logos (and videos) for potential AAF franchises was cancelled. However, from the ashes of that idea came a new idea that would explore the cross-section of sports and design in a creative way: the Fiction City Football League.

Fiction City Football League is a project that involved coming up with logos for 8 soccer (football) teams from 8 distinct fictional cities. Each of the cities selected happened to be from the DC Comics Universe. The Eastern Conference would be made of Gotham, Metropolis, Freeland, and Dakota City. The Western Conference would be made of Coast City, Central City (Heartland United), Star City, and National City. In a series of videos on my YouTube channel, my friend TJ Tooley and I discussed each city and potential design directions. But first, I had to come up with the concept for the league itself.

The FCFL Logo

The FCFL logo design process started with the soccer ball. I illustrated the soccer ball first. When illustrating something from real life, I like to analyze a live action photo to pull the essential elements from it. These elements may or may not include the shadows. The overall design was inspired by patches I’ve seen on various soccer kits throughout the world.

The FCFL text obviously had to be on there to identity the league. They are positioned in such a way where the “FC” is on top and the “FL” is on the bottom. They not only stand for FICTION CITY FOOTBALL LEAGUE but the FC on top represents FOOTBALL CLUB. It’s common to see “FC” at the end of many franchise names.

The 8 lines below represent the inaugural class of teams (4 Western, 4 Eastern). The colors were inspired by the logo I made for the Instagram account, Fiction City Logos. The Eastern & Western Conference logos pull from the symbolism of the main FCFL logo. I made a FC1 (“FICTION CITY ONE”) television channel logo for the FCFL broadcast deal. (I’m thorough when I want to be.)

With the main league branding established, the 8 teams could be named and the logos designed.

Gotham & Metropolis

Two of the most notable cities in all of comic books start off the FCFL journey. FC Gotham is inspired by the Art Deco vibe seen in adaptations like Batman: The Animated Series. The colors match the mood of Gotham City while the inside references the Batsignal itself.

The Mighty Metropolis is much brighter compared to Gotham, mirroring the difference in imagery between Superman and Batman. I used the outline of the Superman symbol on the inside and placed a soccer ball inside. The big M and the large, tall text MIGHTY speaks to the bold personality of the franchise.

Freeland & Dakota City

Freeland, home of Black Lightning, gains a franchise in the Freeland Pride. TJ mentioned the idea of the logo being a fist and I thought that was perfect to capture the heritage, pride, and power that the city would want represented in a football club. The shield of Freeland Pride consists of the raised fist, which has a negative space state of Georgia snuck in there, and a hidden F around the wrist. 

Dakota City, home of the Dakotaverse of Milestone Media, got the mascot treatment. The Dakota City Football Club aka the Wolves’ logo is inspired by Wolverhampton Wanderers FC as well as the Inter Miami CF logos. The soccer ball replaced the snout in the illustration. The line between the ears not only represents the fur on a wolf but is a subtle reference to lightning and the Dakotaverse’s most popular character and hero, Static Shock. The “1993” at the bottom represents the year Milestone Media was founded.

The Heartland & The Coast

Central City was going to get a franchise but we wanted to avoid the obvious Flash connection. Also, geographically this club would have to represent a large area of the country. So, we decided to name the team Heartland United. My mind immediately went to corn fields so I created a laurel of sorts with the name and the soccer ball in the center.

Coast City, home of the Green Lantern Hal Jordan, used the waves of the ocean and the soccer ball itself as the center imagery. The name of the club hugs the center image with a Green Lantern symbol on each side.

Star & National

With Star City, we wanted to do something a little different and name the team Shining Star City. The logo plays with the star imagery as well as the bow & arrow. Being the home of the Green Arrow Oliver Queen means the Star City logo had to touch on that at some point. Overall, we wanted the name and the design to work together as a cohesive concept.

National City, home of Supergirl, immediately sounds very patriotic, hinted at by the use of red and blue as well as the stars. The wing in the center is a reference to flight, freedom, and Supergirl herself.

 

In Conclusion

The FCFL was a fun project that stretched my imagination and allowed me to practice interpreting various things in a visual way. It was a worthwhile challenge creating brands for a league that uniquely spoke to each brand and worked together within the confines of a football league. I wonder what other cities or sports I’ll tackle next.

~b.

WATCH THE WHOLE SERIES AT youtube.com/creativebobbie

Categories
Branding Design

How To Design A Monogram Logo With Adobe Illustrator

Wikipedia describes a monogram as:

A monogram is a motif made by overlapping or combining two or more letters or other graphemes to form one symbol.

I describe a monogram as an (hopefully) epic fu-sion-ha of multiple letters within a creative mark, representing a person, place, or thing.

In this episode of Making A Mark, I am going to take you through my process of creating a monogram mark. The thing I am making this for is for my fantasy football team, the Stroll City Strivers. Now, I have already broken down my design of the brand of the Strivers in a previous video and blog post. But I’ve been thinking about adding a letter mark to the brand. I could possibly use the monogram as a faux “throwback” part of the brand. We’ll see. Let’s get started.

STEP 1: Analyze each letter. What makes each letter unique? How can you play with that?
STEP 2: Take that intel and play with how you can combine the letters.
STEP 3: Digitize the sketch.
STEP 4: Profit. Present.

Categories
Branding Design

Logo Design Review | The Alliance for American Football (Part 2)

The first four logos the Alliance for American Football revealed were a big hit with me. The Atlanta Legends, Birmingham Iron, Orlando Apollos, and Memphis Express all have outstanding brand concepts. The next four revealed continued the trend of great design work and brand ideas.

The Arizona Hotshots had the first logo I saw from the new batch. The overall concept is inspired by the standard fire department shield design you frequently see. The Hotshots feature illustrated pulaski axes crossing each other, surrounded by flames below. One of the things I truly appreciate about this design is the subtle “AZ” that you can see in between the axes at the top. As a designer, I love seeing little touches and references like that incorporated into designs. Meaning in design is very important.

The Salt Lake Stallions are bringing that horsepower with a very sharp stallion illustration. Continuing the trend of hidden letters, you can see the S in the design below the horse’s face. The mane, as is the overall illustration, is energetic and bold. This horse has an attitude and a confidence that speaks to what the Salt Lake team is trying to be about.

The San Antonio Commanders logo pulls from the history and a major landmark of the city. The iconic Alamo is depicted above the sword, which points upward and onward. The angle and the perspective make the sword active, as if that would be the way it would be held by someone commanding an army to battle. The Lone Star of Texas is placed below the sword. The entire concept looks like it could be a military patch. This is all very well done and comes together very nicely. It speaks to the location in an outstanding way.

The San Diego Fleet goes all the way in its Naval theme, from the design of the logo to the name of the franchise. The naval ship and the chevron are tributes to the Navy heritage in San Diego. The strength of the franchise is evident in how their brand is designed. The ship is coming at you, with its sharp edges, symmetrical construction, and light shadows.

According to the Fleet website:

“The colors and typography are unique to professional athletics, mirroring those of Navy ships and the signature San Diego sunshine and Battleship Gray.”

With all 8 of the teams’ names and logos now unveiled, my excitement for the first season of the Alliance of American Football is at the highest it has ever been. I love that the team brands don’t seem generic. The logos are professional and high caliber while also being unique, fun, and creative with meaning. Excellent job to everyone involved.

~b.

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Branding Design

Logo Design Review: Alliance of American Football (Part 1)

From the moment it was announced, I’ve been impressed with the rollout of the Alliance of American Football. The Alliance of American Football (AAF) is a new professional football league, that was announced this past Match, to premiere in February of 2019. Over the course of past few months, the AAF have unveiled coaches, player signings, and cities that will host teams. But recently they finally started to reveal what I’ve been waiting to see: team names and logos.

The first logo I saw was for the Orlando Apollos. First and foremost, I was pleasantly surprised that the mascot for the Orlando team wasn’t something generic. You could tell that thought went into it, as is demonstrated in the introduction video. The logo itself does a fantastic job in visually representing the story they are trying to tell with the franchise. The illustration of the marksmen is well done within the O. They describe the Apollo as the Greek god of sun and light, which fits for an Orlando, Florida based team. The color orange is typically associated with warmth, heat, sunshine, and enthusiasm so it fits well here. I’m also a big fan of the “precision marksman” pointing his arrow east.

The Birmingham Iron is a very strong name for a franchise. It’s also a uniquely appropriate name for a franchise in Birmingham, Alabama. Birmingham is the most populous city in Alabama and was nicknamed “The Pittsburgh of the South” because it served as a primary iron and steel industry center. The name, as well as the branding, speak to the history of the city and toughness the team wants to exude on the football field. The color black is often associated with power so the color scheme of black, steel grey and silver works well within the story of the brand. The iron football is an excellent illustration that uses the different shades of grey and some white to represent the iron material. The word IRON is strong and pronounced to really draw your attention to the kind of strength being shown in this mark.

The Atlanta Legends also decided to pull from their city’s history. Atlanta is and has been home to many legends in many different industries (in and out of the realm of sports). From the old gold crown with the football in the negative space to the choice of purple as a back drop, the Atlanta Legends have an outstandingly royal look to match their brand story.

The Memphis Express want you know that they are going places and fast. The story they want to tell is one of speed and breakthrough. The plane is breaking through the E, leaving a trail behind it. The letter E seems to be in movement as well. The entire mark is not only moving forward but upward in their goal of gridiron success. According to the Memphis Express page on the AAF website: “Under his leadership and that of GM Tim Lewis and Irby, the Express is all about the pairing of precision and urgency. Memphis moves swiftly, purposefully, determined to move forward, to raise the bar and earn respect every day.”

I am loving the AAF rollout for each team and so far the logos are all great. You can tell a lot of thought went into these and I am excited for the next stage: team jersey designs!

~b.

Categories
Branding Design Lessons

Making A Mark: Fall Football

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, Fall does not arrive officially until September 22nd. However, one of fall’s greatest pastimes has returned to our lives: football. The college and professional football seasons have begun and I am very happy! Football, particularly college football, is my favorite sport to watch. On this episode of “Making A Mark”, I attempt to design a logo that represents to upcoming season of my favorite sport.

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Branding Design

The Genius of the Staubach’s Coffee logo by Brandon Moore

The moment I saw Brandon Moore’s Staubach’s Coffee brand on Twitter was the moment I discovered a brand new level to fantasy football. In 2017, I was invited to participate in my first ever fantasy football league. His Staubach’s Coffee brand inspired me to create an entire brand for my fantasy football team, the Stroll City Strivers.

The very first thing that struck me about the brand was the creative name of the franchise: Staubach’s Coffee. I’ve quickly learned the importance of a great fantasy football franchise name. Staubach’s Coffee is a delicious, ingenious combination of the Hall of Fame Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach and the American coffee company Starbucks Coffee. After you get done marveling at the magnificent name, you get to the logo. The star (hehe) of the show is the illustration of good ol’ Roger in the classic Cowboys helmet in the center. The name surrounds the illustration with a star on either side. The texture over the design enhances the classic feel of the overall brand.

Also, it wasn’t just the logo that inspired me. Take a peek at the #StaubachsCoffeeForged hashtag on Twitter to see how Brandon brought the franchise alive on social media. There were starting lineups, game results, top performer highlights, game ads, and even uniform concepts! This whole project is another example of when design and sports meet to provide me with such motivation and entertainment!

Brandon Moore is a Graphic Artist in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area that currently does work for the Miami Dolphins and New Miami Stadium. His brand identities are awesome and I often refer to them when I am trying to present my own. I, personally, wish the Oklahoma City Thunder would call Brandon and tell him to brand the team. He already has a great presentation on his Behance that would uplift the visuals of the franchise to new heights.

Salute and thank you, Brandon Moore, for your work!

~b.

Categories
Branding Content Creation Design

How To Create A Logo For Super Bowl 52 Like The Logos of Old

Last year, I talked about my dislike for the decision the NFL made to standardize the Super Bowl logo. I was a big fan of the personality shown in the old logos. So, I decided to start a design series in anticipation of the then-upcoming Super Bowl 50. I continued that with my Super Bowl 51 design. This year, after much struggle and many deleted concepts, I arrived at my version of the Super Bowl 52 logo.

Super Bowl 52 will be held at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. So, the very first thought I had was to try to incorporate the unique shape of the stadium architecture in the logo design. Deciding how to incorporate the shape proved more difficult than anticipated. I mistakenly tried to jump right into Adobe Illustrator and play. After failure and frustration were achieved in vector form, I took a step back and decided to go to pencil and paper. Sometimes you have to just stop and start over instead of trying to force a square peg into a round hole – especially, when you’ve created an obscene amount of layers with no solution in sight.

Wikipedia
So much failure in vector form.

Once I recalibrated and created a new concept on paper, I felt a lot better about the possibilities. In 2018, I’ve pledged to do more pencil and paper work – not just for rough ideas, but drawing full concepts before opening Illustrator. With the Super Bowl 52 concept, I finished my idea and then analyzed it. I drew guides on the drawing, which helped me see how I would want to construct this on the computer. It is important to determine as much as possible before opening Illustrator. The drawing, with guides for construction, proportions, and angles, helped give me clarity before assembling the vectors.

The hardest part of designing these Super Bowl logos – actually, logos in general – is achieving something I feel like could even stand in the same room as those that have come before. I’m not comparing myself to other designers, positively or negatively. It’s about the work. It’s about creating something that has a worthwhile polish that will appreciated and accomplish the goal. I was constantly looking at the Super Bowl logos that have come before, while reviewing what I had done for 52. I arrived at something I felt comfortable enough showing to the public.

~b.

Categories
Branding Design

My “Resurrection” of the Super Bowl Logo

I love logos. I love sports. The results from the intersection of these two passions usually makes me very happy. In particular, I loved the Super Bowl logos of the past that gave each year’s game a particular personality and mark. Starting with Super Bowl XLV (2011), the NFL decided to standardize the Super Bowl game logo so that only certain elements changed.