BTLNHL #16: Minnesota Wild

In BTLNHL Countdown
Dec 29th, 2011

In the last BTLNHL post, I argued the New Jersey Devils were being clever with their logo, but ended up being a little bit cheesy. The Minnesota Wild also are also trying to be clever with their logo, but ended up being overly complicated. So what wins out? Cheesy or complicated? I guess complicated in this case, but just barely. If the Devils were just too clever by half, than the Wild are just too clever by nine-sixteenths (which is, coincidentally, the size of dice), coming in with the 16th best team logo in the NHL.

This is probably the highest ranking for any of the teams with logos borne from the ’90s logo designs that I’m not so fond of. And obviously, I do think it’s the best of the bunch, especially considering the team name they had to work with. Seriously, Wild? Sounds like a team name from the ill-conceived XFL league, back in the ’90s and early ’00s when extreme (sorry, Xtreme, which is actually an XFL team name) sports were all the rage (another XFL team name, and by the way, all their logos sucked).

But, when you’re stuck working with a team name like Wild, especially in a place like Minnesota, you think of wilderness and wild animals. The designer fused the two into what could have been a disastrous mess of a logo, but turned out to be halfway decent. From the distance, the logo is a bear’s head with strong, slightly jagged lines, denoting strength and motion. Pretty decent, although you might wonder why the bear’s ear is yellow (ear wax problem, anyone?). Look closer, and it’s actually a pictorial dusk scene from the wilderness, replete with trees, a meandering river and a single glistening star in the sky. If only van Gogh could have made something so lovely.

Okay, it’s a little bit cheesy too, but I have to give credit where credit is due, because it’s done quite well for what it is. Ferocious bear, wilderness scene, all in a logo that fits together into one cohesive package. Not always an easy thing to do.

I mentioned earlier that the logo is overly complicated, but maybe I’ll take that back. They say less is more. But less is not always more. ‘Just enough’ is always more. If you added anything else to this logo, it would be too much. Take anything out, and it would be awkward. There’s a fragile balance between the elements that works.

But, there are problems, and given the time of year it is, it’s a perfect time to bring a couple of them up.

1. The colours. I totally get the green. It’s the colour of wilderness, it’s the colour of trees, it makes sense. The red, well, not so much. It almost doesn’t matter what the context is, if you combine standard hues of red and green together, you’re going to make people think of Christmas. It’s not so bad when the Wild wear their predominantly white jerseys, as the red becomes more of an accent colour and separated by light beige striping, or their green jerseys, which has almost no red at all, but when they wear their red jerseys, it’s like a veritable gathering of elves on the ice. If you want to get into the spirit of things, they should wear these jerseys for all home games in December.

2. The trees. Those are not trees from the wilderness, they are cookie cutter trees, which makes me think of shortbread, which again, makes me think of Christmas. Kind of like what I’m eating right this second. Would it make more sense to make trees that look a little more, I don’t know, wild? That, or they make an alternate logo to put on their December jerseys. Perfect and delicious!

A couple other smaller things. The aforementioned yellow moon seems a little off when the logo is seen as a bear portrait. Maybe it’s meant as a homage to Minnesota’s former team’s colours? Also, I don’t think the light beige outline around the logo is all that necessary. It’s a minor thing, considering how subdued they made the beige. But then you have to ask, if it’s necessary to make it that subdued, is it even necessary at all? Probably not. How about fixing both these issues by swapping the beige around?

So, some good things are happening here, and some not-so-good things. It seems some of my complaints are minor and somewhat trivial, but I guess that means we’re climbing the BTLNHL list into the top half. More good things to come!

In the meantime, Happy Holidays from the 16th place Minnesota Wild!


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


35 Responses to “BTLNHL #16: Minnesota Wild”

  1. Matt says:

    since I live in the Twin Cities, this is the logo I see the most out of all those on this list. I’ve always liked it. The colors I feel are perfect (the beige moon was awful, just sayin’). As for the jerseys, I’ve wanted a redesign for years. the whites are ugly, the red is too much, the green are fantastic. I never, ever think of this as a 90s logo like the others which are so obvious, and I think thats a big reason why its so great. No other logo so accurately captures the region of the team. And besides, the Wild are good this season

  2. fog says:

    I’m not a big fan of the red jerseys at all, they look like one of those mish-mash jerseys you make in the EA NHL games. The whites are nice, basic and works. The green jerseys are one of my favourites in the NHL, I have loved them for a long time, and I’m not even a Wild fan, and rarely see them play.

    The logo is pretty simple to me, and nice. You are 100% correct about the trees, they need a little more life to them and no look like some kid drew it in 2nd grade. I like the moon, it adds a bit of light to the logo (pardon the pun), and I do think it looks better than the beige alternate you suggested.

    • Admin says:

      I really love the green jerseys too, but I didn’t want to comment too much on anything specifically not related to the logo. That’s a topic for another future post!

  3. Admin says:

    Commenters: 2, Beige Moon: 0

  4. Brendan says:

    I sorta like the outline, I feel like it draws a little more attention to the mouth than just having the negative space. The beige moon isn’t bad, but the yellow moon has a nice warm pop that would probably be accentuated more if the red was changed to a cooler nighttime color. A little editing could produce a really unique color combination, though it’s hard to match a cool dark color with that forest green without it looking like a hideous bruise. Hmm.

    The single star is a nice little nod to the previous North Stars.

  5. Chris says:

    I just noticed that the Winnipeg teams are the last hold outs in their divisions.

  6. Dan says:

    the beige outline is because of the old green jerseys. personally i think they’re top 5 logos around but they’re certainly better than the canucks, jets, etc.

  7. […] logo could use some work, the colours balance nicely). Teams that don’t use it as well: the Wild (too much red, and finding the balance for these ones without making it look like Christmas is […]

  8. Red says:

    Honestly, I understand the difficulty of branding an abstract concept like “the Wild”. I also appreciate the designer’s attempt at being clever. However, imho that still doesn’t make this a good logo. Aside from a truly hideous color palette (the elf comparison is appropriate), and the cartoony look, the biggest problem is that the concept feels very forced. A good design should always feel natural. This comes across as a clever illusion, not a professional logo. I feel like the primary reaction to this logo would be confusion. Wtf is that?! Oooh, it’s a bear..neat….

    The cheese factor is pretty high too. River for the mouth? Shooting star for the eye? I mean, come on. Lastly, the design is too abstract to invoke any real emotional response from the fans. Strong, elegant, graceful, iconic; none of these words apply to this logo. An idyllic landscape should not be the building block to the identity of any professional sports club.

    To give the designer some credit, as I saw this mentioned before, the shape of the trees is meant to provide some balance and symmetry to an otherwise very disjointed piece. If you notice, the negative space of the sky mimics the outline of the trees exactly. Both fit into each other like puzzle pieces.

    Awesome blog Admin. I really enjoy these articles. Keep em coming.

  9. MNFAN56 says:

    The colors can be further explained. They were designed that way to represent, once again, Minnesota’s nature side. Green is for the wilderness and nature. Beige is for wheat fields. Red is for the iron range, which if you aren’t familiar with runs across MN about 5 hours north of the twin cities, and yellow to symbolize the stars and the moon(Maybe yellow because white wouldn’t stand out as much?) and then the white star for the eye goes back to our pro hockey team roots, being the North Stars. It may seem pretty complicated, but it truly is symbolizing our state…I like it that way

    • Admin says:

      Thanks for the insight. Obviously, I’m not familiar with Minnesota as well as the resident, so all that is good to know. One of my favourite things about the logo is how much symbolism they managed to fit into a pretty cohesive design. There’s still issues with the design in my eyes, but it’s still pretty solid.

  10. JJ says:

    I ended up here because I felt the confusion. My husband was watching hockey and I saw the MN logo and was wondering, “what the hell IS that?”. I thought it was some sort of cat and thought the cheesy tree reflection was just someone stretching it too far. I see from your post that its actually a bear, obv I did not get that.

    MNFAN56, thanks for the explanation, it’s good to know that someone actually had a reason to throw this all together.

    It seems to me a matter of crazy committee design where the entire board had to have a say and the poor designer had to find a way to incorporate it all into one small space.
    Me, as a designer just looking up and seeing this, the green/red is very Christmasy. Why are the trees reflecting, is there a lake? Are the trees up above the animal head? Why are the trees so clip-art (aka cookie-cutter like), is that a moon, is it a sun? I’m just not clear, upon further looking, I think it may be a moon because there is a star. I maybe would’ve done blue/green/yellow or blue/red/yellow and avoided the Christmasy colors. Even with the knowledge that it is a bear, I’m still seeing a cat.

    I really think this is just a bad logo. I find it confusing and vague.

  11. Mike says:

    Actually I would personally say that the scene in the background is a sunset, and that would explain that the yellow circle is the sun and not the moon and also the red sky. I’d never given this logo a good look and I like it, I think it’s pretty clever.

  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 […]

  13. […] 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 […]

  14. RGuy says:

    The jagged tree/sky line forms Ms and Ws, for Minnesota Wild.

    • Admin says:

      Mmmm…that’s a bit of a stretch. I don’t really see it. If that was an intentional thing, they made it way too subtle for anyone to see it.

  15. […] desaturated slightly, making it more of a dark tan/Vegas gold colour. I mentioned that in their BTLNHL entry, so I’m glad that the Wild read my […]

  16. […] desaturated slightly, making it more of a dark tan/Vegas gold colour. I mentioned that in their BTLNHL entry, so I’m glad that the Wild read my […]

  17. […] page for download instructions All the vector mentioned are the property of their respective owners Download Views […]

  18. […] emerged during the ’90s, but that’s not setting the bar very high and only gets you ranked at #16. But, they have maintained a very consistent brand, with no logo changes and very minimal jersey […]

  19. mike beaulieu says:

    I’m from Boston and think this is THE BEST logo in any sport. some people may be over thinking this. I find the thought process in the design visionary. trees, a river incorporated into a bears head, genius.

  20. […] 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 […]

  21. […] emerged during the ’90s, but that’s not setting the bar very high and only gets you ranked at #16. But, they have maintained a very consistent brand, with no logo changes and very minimal jersey […]

  22. […] been said before that the Minnesota Wild brand as a concept is a tough one to work with. The poor designer who was told to create a visual […]

  23. Steve Herker says:

    It is a Timber Wolf not a bear. I know I don’t see it either. I thought it was a mountain lion.

  24. […] 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 […]


    It’s one of my favourites (next to Detroit AND Chicago’s). Strong unity of theme, and clever, but I agree that the moon (setting sun?) should be more beige. Don’t think this is overly complex. As indicated “there’s a fragile balance between the elements that works.” The double image of an animal head formed out of a landscape would have made Salvador Dali proud too.

  26. Maritza says:

    I spent a few minutes studying and checking the facts. Everything is
    clear and understandable. I enjoy posts that fill in your knowledge gaps.

    This one is of that sort. Moreover, I enjoy the way the author organized his thoughts in addition to the visual component.

  27. […] More: BTLNHL #16: Minnesota Wild• More: Worst to First Jerseys: Minnesota […]

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