BTLNHL #23: Columbus Blue Jackets

In BTLNHL Countdown
Nov 16th, 2011

In design, context is huge. And before making this list, I had no idea what a Blue Jacket even was. A type of bee? The Italian soccer team’s official outerwear?  Tobias Fünke’s outerwear? There’s quite a few different things a ‘blue jacket’ could reference and thanks to Wikipedia, I attempted to disambiguate myself.

So exactly which Blue Jacket is the hockey team referencing? As I’ve never been to the state of Ohio, or that area of the States in general, I had to look it up in order to get a sense of what the logo was representing. Little did I know that Ohio played a large part in the American Civil War, producing luminary generals such as then-future president Ulysses S. Grant. Suddenly, the logo makes a little more sense and I started to get a sense of how difficult it would be to transfer the huge historical significance of something like a civil war into a hockey logo. No easy task, which is probably why this logo suffers a little bit and falls in as the 23rd best logo in the 30 team league.

The logo was originally the alternate logo for a few years, and the decision to go with something simple like a star and the Ohio state flag is a probably a good place to start, but it’s also a bit cliché and not incredibly inspired or inspiring for the fans. There’s a few other issues as well.

There’s a huge attempt to create dynamism and movement in the logo, and it’s all a bit overkill. The angled star, the grey sections within the star, the swooping Ohio state flag, everything pointed at discombobulated angles, without anything to really tie it all together into one cohesive package. The elements are there to create a logo that could work but it feels like it’s trying to be too much and, as such, feels over-designed.

Usually when this happens, some of the elements that are shoved in start to become unclear. For instance, is the swooping flag meant to just be a swooping flag (more dynamism! more action!), or was it really intended to also from a ‘C’? Could be, but it’s not totally clear if it was an accidental element or not, so it adds a certain amount of confusion and ambiguity to the design. Confusion and ambiguity can work very well to draw people in sometimes, but in logos, it’s a killer.

Okay, bad stuff done. Good stuff.

The colour scheme is very patriotic and true to the Ohio state and theme of the team’s name, representing themselves as a team for the entire state. And like I said before, the elements are cliché, but they do make sense given the context in which they’re working. There is a certain strength and vitality to the logo, but as I said above, it’s just totally overdone.

They’ve done a better job with their alternate logos over the last couple years (But am I missing something with always having that pattern in the star? Is it that necessary?). They’re much more indicative of the Blue Jacket historical roots and have a distinctive style of their own. I know that retro/vintage stylings is the new black these days, and this could change in the years to come, but at least the Blue Jackets’ name has a legitimate attachment to something historical. They might need some more revisions if they were to replace the current logo permanently, but it’s a step in an interesting direction.

(Note: A commenter pointed out to me (see below) that the pattern in the star is actually a symbol for the US Navy, so considering that ‘Blue Jacket’ can also refer to a Naval officer, it makes perfect sense to use it. I figured I was missing something with that star, so thanks to Graeme for pointing it out.)

And their logo now is a helluva lot better than their previous logo, so they get bonus points for that.

The Blue Jackets may be #30 in the league right now (can somebody get this team a new GM and a centre for Nash please!), but in my heart, they’re #23.


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


20 Responses to “BTLNHL #23: Columbus Blue Jackets”

  1. Simon says:

    For fun, I decided to make the star on the main logo in one colour to see if it works better. With the shape it has, it looks more like a guy with a dunce cap than a star. When the star was white, they could’ve called themselves Columbus KKK. So if you would change that, you’d have to change the shape as well, or the entire logo.

    The only thing that makes sense for them to have the same star on the other logos is continuity, and I can buy that at least. (if that’s the reason)

    • Admin says:

      Yeah, that would be a problem. I’d say change the shape a bit, or the entire logo. I think either would be preferable to the current design. I noticed the pattern in the star is also a carryover from the previous logo as well, so I’m sure that came into play too.

  2. Jeff says:

    “Blue Jacket” was an Native American historical figure with Ohio connections but they didn’t want to go with an Indian-themed logo due to political correctness. So, they used the name “Blue Jackets” and then basically made up the Civil War-garb.

    It should have been the “Mad Cows” regardless.

    • Admin says:

      Yeah, I saw the reference to the Native figure when I was doing some research, but it seemed there were other “Blue Jackets”, specifically referencing Ohio and the Civil War, and that seemed to make the most sense, especially seeing as how Blue Jacket (the person) actually fought against Americans.

    • Chris says:

      While “blue jacket” doesn’t have the same strength as “grey coat” with regard to civil war connotations, I don’t think they *quite* made it up.

  3. Chris says:

    …..Never noticed the “C.” I’m an idiot.

    Good analysis, too. I think that I like the hat alternate more than the cannon.

    • Admin says:

      Don’t worry about it, I never saw it either until really studying the logo. But thanks for substantiating my paragraph about the C being ambiguous!

  4. Graeme says:

    That type of star is known as a nautical star (as seen here: ), and apparently has strong ties to the US military, particularly the Navy and Marines. I’d presume this is why it keeps popping up.

    • Admin says:

      Perfect, thanks! That definitely explains it. Considering the tie between ‘Blue Jackets’ and civil war, as well as the ‘Blue Jackets’ being a term for American navy officers, it makes perfect sense.

  5. […] a nostalgia standpoint, you have to look at the Red Wings. From a design standpoint, probably the Blue Jackets, while it’s not a strong sports logo, it’s an interesting design. The Predators logo is […]

  6. Matt says:

    I do like the alternate jersey with the cannon. Maybe the logo itself isn’t the best, but I think as a whole the jersey looks pretty great. Can’t wait to see which is the first Original 6 to fall.

  7. […] 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 […]

  8. […] It’s a relatively simple and – because of that – a boring design for a third jersey, feeling more like a cash grab for jersey sales rather than an actual good addition to the can(n)on (get it, double entendre?) of Blue Jacket’s jerseys. And this complete missed opportunity is the main reason it’s ranked last on the list. Design is not just about design, but also partly about the context around the design. Context is everything. At least they used the better (and current) logo design, which is still not that great. […]

  9. […] of their third jerseys, but their main logo isn’t prominently featured (which for Columbus might not be a bad thing), and I don’t find anything horribly offensive with their main jerseys, so I’m being […]

  10. […] 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 […]

  11. […] 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 […]

  12. LogoFan says:

    This Blue Jackets logo looks more like an All-Star Game event logo than an NHL team. Pardon my ignorance here (not being an American), but a quick google search of American Naval Bases returned exactly zero in all of Ohio (just recruiting offices). So, why the naval star connection to the Blue Jackets team? When this team started, the name “Blue Jackets” drew an immediate connection to either the insect, or the American civil war. From the team’s website, the name and team logo are described as follows:

    “The Blue Jackets name was selected because the name pays homage to Ohio’s contributions to American history and the great pride and patriotism exhibited by its citizens, especially during the Civil War as both the state of Ohio and the city of Columbus were significantly influential on the Union Army. Ohio contributed more of its population to the Union Army than any other state, while many of the Blue Coats worn by the Union soldiers were manufactured in Columbus.

    The primary Blue Jackets logo that was selected features a star-studded red ribbon unfurled in the shape of the team’s initials, CBJ, with an electric green hockey stick cutting through the center to represent the “J.” The 13 stars represent each of the original 13 U.S. Colonies and signify patriotism. The star on top of the stick signifies Columbus as the state capital.”

    In my opinion, the alternate cannon logo is the best they have come up with. Though it could use some work to become their primary logo. While the alternate hat logo has a clear reference to the civil war, they aren’t the Columbus Blue Hats. So, best to get rid of it permanently, or leave it as a shoulder patch.

  13. […] 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 […]

  14. […] More: BTLNHL #23: Columbus Blue Jackets• More: Worst to First Jerseys: Columbus Blue […]

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