BTLNHL #18: Nashville Predators

By JVDW
In BTLNHL Countdown
Dec 19th, 2011
12 Comments

Question. What is the ultimate predator?

According to Animal Planet, it’s the Great White Shark. Unfortunately, for naming an NHL team, that moniker is already taken. Next? Lion. Well, that’s not very hockey-esque (unless you’re from Finland), and has nothing to do with Nashville. Next? Grizzly bear. Hmm…well, the Memphis Grizzlies play in the same state, so they probably wouldn’t like that. Next? Orca. They live nowhere near Nashville, and besides, they’re already on the Canucks logo. Next? Crocodile. They’re pretty ugly and wouldn’t really wouldn’t create a following among the fanbase. Next? Komodo Dragon. Sorry, a who now?

Okay, forget it, let’s go historical. Sabre-toothed tiger it is! (Or, properly, the sabre-toothed cat.)

You’d think the logo design process went something like this over-simplified version above. But, the odd thing is that the reverse process happened with this logo. The logo was created, finalized and presented to the public before they even had a name for the team. So, they had a public contest to name the team, with the final contenders being the Ice Tigers, the Fury and the Attack. This is incredible evidence on why you should never crowd-source anything. I’m guessing owner Craig Leopold realized who awful all these names were, so he threw his own idea into the mix, the Predators. It won the contest. Funny how the owner’s selection won the contest (aka – the HiPPO effect).

But, that begs the question, why a sabre-toothed cat?

It seems the fang and partial skeleton of the ancient predator was discovered in a cave network underneath downtown Nashville when they were digging to build an office tower. The cat has a connection to Nashville that makes a lot of sense to build a new hockey team around, especially one in a non-traditional hockey market. It creates an immediate connection between the fans and the city.

But, that’s just an interesting story behind the logo. What of the logo? Why is it #18?

It would have been lower had it not changed it’s logo just this year from what was their original. The old logo is a classic case of overdone, ’90s-era logo design. There’s four distinct colours (gold, navy blue, grey, light greyish-blue) and every inch of the logo is covered in something. They even gave the cat some bags under his/her eyes. Every element has highlights, shadows and shimmers, to the point where it almost looks like the cat has three fangs instead of two.

And speaking of teeth, egad! I can just hear the designer getting yelled at: Make them bigger, sharper! I haven’t seen teeth this big since those novelty baby soothers. Are they accurate to an actual sabre-toothed cat’s teeth? Mmm…not really. To mirror reality, it would have to look something like this. Exaggeration of body parts like that screams cartoonish and minor league. So, that’s points against the logo.

But, as I alluded to, their newer logo is a big improvement over their past logo. It’s much more simplified, from the colours, to the highlights and to the added “features” that plagued the old logo. It’s still overdone and could use some further simplification (another 10-minute hack job, but it illustrates the point; and yes, I toned the teeth down a bit too), but there’s no question this was a step in the right direction.

The logo’s also got a ferociousness that (aside from the teeth) feels more authentic and less overdone than, say, the Panthers. Oh, and the Predator isn’t destroying a hockey stick either.  I’ve made lots of points in those previous posts about the difficulty of incorporating an animal into a high-level professional hockey logo, and for what it’s trying to do, this logo is leaning toward pulling it off. It’s got strength, it’s got great movement and dynamism in it (the inclusion of the yellow stripe across the logo works extremely well for that) and it’s formed well into a cohesive unit. For all the inaccuracies I showed about the placement of the teeth on a real sabre-toothed cat, reality would create a lesser logo. The angle of the teeth makes it work.

Some good things, some bad things, but we’re starting to get into the better team logos at this point, and the Predators comes in at #18.

Thoughts? Agreements? Disagreements? Feel free to comment!

 

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

 

12 Responses to “BTLNHL #18: Nashville Predators”

  1. Matt says:

    Nice writeup. I’ve always thought the teeth on this logo were quite ridiculous. Also, I’m not sure Leupold’s name won the naming contest because he was the owner. I’m pretty sure its because the alternatives were HORRIBLE.

    A request, I’d really like to see you tear apart the Thrashers logo while its fresh in everyones minds.

  2. Josh says:

    I’d love to see your thoughts as well on what would have been the original logo for the team that I have linked below. The NHL actually turned down this logo and told the team to make it more friendly.

    http://content.sportslogos.net/logos/1/17/full/134.gif

  3. Admin says:

    I’d rank their current logo above that one. Too much detail for a logo, and a skeleton is not something that inspires a fan base or players.

    Interesting though, that the league turned down the logo. That’s a more recent development, as when the Sharks came into the league, the NHL hated their logo but the team controlled it, so the league didn’t really have a say. If you haven’t read my interview with the designer (Terry Smith), you should. It’s a good read and he has some interesting info like that in there: http://hockeybydesign.com/2011/12/hbd-interviews-terry-smith-san-jose-sharks/

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