BTLNHL #3: Philadelphia Flyers
When I first started the BTLNHL countdown back in October, I didn’t think it would take the whole season and into the playoffs to get through every logo in the league, but real life and my regular work can get in the way sometimes. However, it all creates a nice bit of synergy with the NHL season. It started during the exhibition games, and will end during the last rounds of the playoffs.
And now we’re into the final three, and coming in at third is the Philadelphia Flyers. It’s also the highest ranked logo that’s not one of the Original Six, so it doesn’t have the same sense of nostalgia factor going for it and it still excels. Philadelphia was one of six teams in the 1967 expansion from the Original Six teams to 12 teams. The others were the California Seals, the Los Angeles Kings, the Minnesota North Stars, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the St. Louis Blues, and the Flyers are the only one that haven’t touched their logo, either through minor revisions (like the Blues) or through major conceptual changes (like the Stars). Very few teams have lasted more than 45 years without doing a single thing to their logo, and if they don’t, it’s because the original concept was so well executed.
Here’s a great story (click here) that was sent to me by a reader/commenter about the son of the person who designed the logo finding the original concept from the ’60s. I highly recommend you watch the video as it’s really interesting to watch. What the story doesn’t necessarily do is give you insight into the thinking of the designer (Ed Snider’s “well, there’s the P, there’s a wing and there’s a puck” doesn’t really count). I’m also assuming that, by the tone of the video, the designer has passed on and can’t be asked. So, like a seedy shoplifter, I’m going to take some Guesses.
The most obvious thing this logo has going for it is its strength and simplicity. The intense black, the thick lines, the aggressive design that doesn’t have any flourishes or unnecessary additions. It’s big, bold and, just like your eyeballs, it’s in your face. Match that with a bright, aggressive colour like orange that is unused by every other team in the league (aside from the NY Islanders, as an accent colour), and you have one mean, solid design. (Note: Of course, I forgot the Oilers and the Ducks, especially in their third jerseys. The Sharks a little more of a mustard yellow than orange.)
On the other hand, there’s also a certain amount of subtlety to it. It’s obvious that there’s a P in the logo, but it’s not obvious it’s a P. That sounds like a bunch of nonsensical double-talk (unlike the musings of Bob Loblaw), but the P is so stylized that it takes a form other than just a letter, and it’s incorporated so well into the wing that it’s easy to forget it’s even a P. Think of other sports logos with a predominant P, like the Indiana Pacers, or the old Philadelphia Phillies logo. The P is obvious and the focal point of the design. With the Flyers, the P completely blends into its surroundings, but still visible. Kind of like Zac Braff. It’s actually quite brilliantly done.
The angle of the P also implies a good amount of movement, as if it’s charging ahead, so the strong nature of the logo doesn’t automatically make it completely static, which is not always easy to do. And the angle thats used is exactly 30 degrees, which has special significance as being exactly one-twelth of a circle, and you’ve probably come across something like this in high school math. Knowing how and when it was created through the video I linked to above, I’m guessing that a simple protractor (remember those) was used. It’s as old-school as it gets.
And that old-school aesthetic is what I’ve always found makes this logo quirky. There’s a distinct ’60s/’70s design aesthetic happening in the logo, with the super-rounded P, the uniform lines in the wing, and the use of orange. It reminds me of those horrible old Houston Astros font and uniforms, but the Flyers’ logo has enough simplicity to it that despite these aesthetic quirks, it doesn’t look dated. Old-school and timeless at the same time. That’s an extremely difficult quality to achieve.
Other things to touch on about the logo: the outline. Simple, black, and without it, the logo becomes strangely dainty. The outline works.
Also, the orange puck. I know it was important to introduce orange into the design so that it wasn’t completely black, but it makes me question whether it’s actually a puck. Looking at the original version of the logo from the video I linked to, it’s obvious that the designer, starting from a completely black-and-white concept, probably would have made the decision that it was a puck, and the colour was added later. But, I haven’t seen an orange puck since Fox was broadcasting the hockey games. Or from my childhood days playing street hockey. So, it’s a bit confusing, but I guess the orange has to be introduced somewhere.
So, the third best logo in the league belongs to Philadelphia. It’s strong, quirky, full of motion, full of grace and feels slightly bad ass, like this hearse I saw the other day. In short, it’s a great hockey logo. Why is not as good as the only two left, Boston and Detroit? Maybe it’s the historical/nostalgia factor of the Original Six. Maybe the Flyers’ logo was too minimal. Maybe it doesn’t have something the other two have. When I find out, I’ll let you know.
Who takes #1? Any guesses?
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