BTLNHL #26: Florida Panthers
The Panthers logo falls into the same category as the Avalanche: the onslaught of mediocre, overly-designed, hyper-active logos that belong more on a minor-league team than the best league in the world. I don’t know exactly what was happening in the world at this point to produce these sorts of logos, but they generally leave a lot to be desired.
Some of the hardest concepts to work on for a logo (not just in sports) are when it’s based on an animal. By nature, logos need to be distinct, evocative, original and relatively simplistic. And animal logo concepts almost always veer away from all those things. It’s difficult to not go overboard when designing a logo incorporating an animal, especially when it’s sports-related, as a demand for exciting dynamism to express the spirit of the sport is usually part of the design brief. The danger is that the logo becomes cartoonish and absurd (“Yeah, let’s make them snarl, and attacking something, and looking really mean, and snapping a hockey stick in half, and, and, and…”).
There’s 30 teams in the NHL. Of those 30, there’s 6 that have animals as their namesake (Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks and Pittsburgh Penguins) and 2 more that are marginally animal-based (Buffalo Sabres, whose animal was geographically chosen for them, and the Nashville Predators, as a Predator isn’t an animal, just a description of an animal). The Bruins and Ducks don’t even feature these animals on their logo (although a small case could be made for the webbed-foot “D” of the Ducks). There’s two teams that added animals to their logo design without it being explicit in their name, the Vancouver Canucks (an orca) and the Minnesota Wild (a
wolf bear). So, 6 out of 30 teams ( or 20%) have an animal in their logo.
The AHL? 30 teams, 12 of which have animal-based names, but 15 have animals in their logos, or 50%. The ECHL? 20 teams, 7 of which have animal-based names, but 11 have animals in their logo, or 55%. My point? Animals in logo are predominantly a minor-league phenomenon and not as popular as you might think. Part of that could be because the logo design and the names themselves don’t lend themselves to the level of professionalism demanded by being the best league in the world at your sport.
It’s not just hockey. The MLB has 30 teams, 4 of which have logos with animals (13%). The NBA: 30 teams, 9 have animal logos (30%). The NFL: 32 teams, 13 have animal logos (41%). The NBA and NFL’s percentages are getting high, but you can see in their approach to the design of the animals being designed, it’s usually fairly minimalistic, often having only one or two dominant colours. Compare these with the Panthers logo above, with lots of detail, and 4 different prominent colours (red, pukey-yellow, dark-blue and white). I have seen worse for sure, just not in the NHL. It’s just too minor-league for my liking.
Oddly, I also find the logo a little bit too cutesy. I know the panther looks about as ferocious as a panther on a logo possibly can (Claws! Fangs! Bloody eyes!), but the perspective used (where the body is much smaller than the head to give it some depth) just makes the panther looks smallish, like a little kitten attacking. But, that could just be me.
Contrast this with the Panthers’ alternate logo. This shows a little more restraint and pares things down a bit. It’s still not great, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Having an animal as your main logo may not automatically make a bad logo (as you’ll see later in future editions of BTLNHL), but it just needs a lot more restraint integrated, and that’s where the Panthers logo failed. There’s just too much happening and again, it’s that case of the ’90s, with almost all the logos being over-designed.
So, coming in with the 5th worst logo (or 26th best) in the league, it’s the Florida Panthers.
As an aside, just wanted to share the logo of the Detroit Tigers from the 1927-28 season I came across while writing this blog. This is a case of something being so absolutely horrible, it’s absolutely awesome.
The BTLNTL Countdown Posts
BTLNHL Finals: Boston Bruins v Detroit Red Wings
BTLNHL #3: Philadelphia Flyers
BTLNHL #4: St. Louis Blues
BTLNHL #5: Montreal Canadiens
BTLNHL #6: Pittsburgh Penguins
BTLNHL #7: Chicago Blackhawks
BTLNHL #8: Toronto Maple Leafs
BTLNHL #9: Phoenix Coyotes
BTLNHL #10: Vancouver Canucks
BTLNHL #11: Edmonton Oilers
BTLNHL #12: New York Rangers
BTLNHL #13: Calgary Flames
BTLNHL #14: Buffalo Sabres
BTLNHL #15: Winnipeg Jets
BTLNHL #16: Minnesota Wild
BTLNHL #17: New Jersey Devils
BTLNHL #18: Nashville Predators
BTLNHL #19: Carolina Hurricanes
BTLNHL #20: New York Islanders
BTLNHL #21: Ottawa Senators
BTLNHL #22: Tampa Bay Lightning
BTLNHL #23: Columbus Blue Jackets
BTLNHL #24: Washington Capitals
BTLNHL #25: San Jose Sharks
BTLNHL #26: Florida Panthers
BTLNHL #27: Dallas Stars
BTLNHL #28: Los Angeles Kings
BTLNHL #29: Colorado Avalanche
BTLNHL #30: Anaheim Ducks