By Phil Hecken
You fine readers are really in for a special treat today. You will remember back on December 9th, I posted the contents of an E-mail containing an incredibly hi-res Baltimore Colts logo, as crafted by colorizer-extraordinaire Gary Chanko. If you read that section, you’ll note we’d asked for reader feedback as to whether you guys would like Gary to pursue creating more of these beauts. The positive response was overwhelming.
So today, I’m pleased to turn the rest of this over to Gary, who’ll bring you the first of six gorgeous old-school logos, and how he goes about creating them. Here’s Gary with his guide to…
A Vintage NFL Logo Collection
By Gary Chanko
Several weeks ago Phil posted the vintage Baltimore Colts logo I recreated in a graphic format that allowed resizing without loss of quality. If you ever experienced the horrible “jaggies” when attempting to enlarge a low res jpg format picture, then you know the problem I wanted to fix.
There was sufficient reader interest for additional teams that we decided to complete the entire NFL team set using vector based graphics.
The initial set of logos are completed. Here’s the background story to explain their creation:
Sources for Vintage NFL Logos
A half century ago there were only fourteen NFL teams. The league was not the multi billion dollar enterprise we know today and the mass merchandizing of NFL licensed team products was still to be formulated. Still, all teams used logos to some degree as a branding mechanism. But the focus, I imagine, was primarily the local fan bases.
I was a kid during the Fifties and actively followed the NFL, but I hardly recall seeing team logos, except those that were sometimes incorporated in the design of football cards. A few, such as the Steelers 1960 logo (included in the set today) I don’t remember ever seeing.
Although these vintage NFL logos may be lost in some of our memories, they are preserved in several online collections, such as the extraordinarily comprehensive Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos, which I relied upon as a primary resource. Some others worth a look include:
• Bill’s Sports Maps – a creative and exhaustive compilation of sports enterprises around the globe.
• PsPrint Blog – a limited, but excellent set of high quality NFL logos.
• The Sports Design Blog – has some interesting charts covering the evolution of NFL team logos.
• For accurate team colors I used the information found at Colorwerx.
Creating the Logo Graphics
All the logo graphics from the various web resources (at least all the versions I found) are going to be in a bit mapped format, such as jpg. Converting the logos to a vector based graphic solves the scalability issue. Vector illustrations are resolution independent, so entire logo designs, can be resized to larger or smaller sizes without any loss of quality.
There are software applications that will convert a bit mapped to a vector graphic. These probably do a good job if the bit mapped graphic resolution is high and the design isn’t too complicated. Unfortunately many of the vintage logos I found didn’t meet either criterion.
The alternative is to recreate the artwork from scratch, which is the path I took. I’m not a graphic designer, had no application software or experience to create vector based graphics. Luckily there I discovered inexpensive software tools and the learning path wasn’t too steep.
The process is straightforward: find the best quality logo graphic, import into the vector graphics application software, trace to create the new graphic.
Sounds simple and it is, but even the most basic logo still required (for novice me) a few hours to complete. In contrast, the Cowboys logo was a whole different story. Here’s a few screen shots of the Cowboys logo creation so you’ll see what I mean.
I used this graphic as the template. The image resolution is perfect but look at all the detail.
Each of the individual line segments have to be created and then joined. The screen shot below illustrates a portion of the line segments being drawn for the player’s chin strap.
I first created the entire logo outline and then filled in all the details. After many hours the last step was simply adding the color fills.
So here’s the first set of completed logos. Along with the individual logo graphic, I also created a corresponding team badge.
The bucking colt evolved from the (Real) Colts first logo in the Fifties and was the only other design used before horseshoe became the primary logo.
Before the wishbone “C” this logo served as the Bears primary logo for almost twenty years.
This is one of the first logos used by the Cowboys and may have been an alternate to the familiar Lone Star logo. The horse and rider design was modified slightly over the years and sometimes is seen riding in the opposite direction.
Just before the Lombardi era the Packers featured this logo. The passer wears No. 41, worn previously by two Packer QB greats Arnie Herber and Clarke Hinkle.
My version of the logo shows only Green Bay on the Wisconsin silhouette. Although some reference sources indicate the logo also included Milwaukee, I wasn’t able to find a graphic to confirm that.
Creating this logo was a nightmare. All the graphic versions found on the Internet had very poor resolution that lost all detail when enlarged. I looked through several team media guides and game day programs searching for better quality graphics. I found none.
I solved this problem, somewhat, by scanning the logo image from one of my old Ebbets Field Flannels catalog #21. The catalog graphic was barely an inch square, but scanning at a high resolution produced a surprisingly workable image, but still lacking detail.
This is another logo that proved impossible to find with a decent resolution. I exhausted all the Internet sources and never located a graphic with visible detail. The graphic may not be a totally accurate representation of the original, but close enough. Someday I may find a copy of the original logo artwork to make judgement
The flying eagle served as the primary design for nearly fifty years. Hopefully the next Eagles logo will return to this classic.
This is one logo I didn’t recognize. I checked the football card issues during this period but the logo apparently wasn’t used.
Like most of the NFL logos from this era, this one is a bit cartoonish. However what’s not to like about a steelworker kicking a football from an I-beam?
The previous Steeler logo (1954-60) also incorporated a steelworker and football. I may have to produce this version in the future.
There’s still a few more team logos to complete this set. So back to the digital drawing board to work on the next set.
Tremendous job (as always) with that Gary! Looking forward to Volume II. You can view this batch as a set by clicking here.
50 Years Ago…This Weekend
Last year, Rick Pearson took us “back in time” to bring us his look at the featured television college football match-up from 50 years ago. (If you’re not familiar with it, this was the inaugural post of “50 Years Ago” from last year — after that, it became a recurring feature on UW for the remainder of the season). Last year, Rick looked at the 1961 season, and fortunately for us, he “uni tracked” the games from 1962 as well, documenting the game via his “kid cards”. Each week this fall, he’ll do the same, again.
It’s Bowl Season now, so Rick has the Bowls of the Week for us:
Wow! A TV bonanza! Three games. In ONE DAY. Jacksonville’s Gator Bowl provided a “mystery” (and this tells you how limited B&W coverage was, and how few close-ups we saw). The announcers told us the Florida helmets had a special “Victory” decal, and my best friend and I watched the whole freakin’ game trying to figure out what it was. I’m not an idiot, and he definitely was no dope (Top 10 in our class, captain of school’s High School Bowl team AND the football team; became a successful radiologist). Anyway, between the two of us we couldn’t figure out it was a Confederate flag. Best we could determine was that maybe it said “WIN”…The unis? Florida wore striped crews and Penn State was, by Penn State standards, flashy as hell….Still wearing royal blue, the Nittany Lions also had a stripe on their pants. Yikes! And for this game added Northwestern striped stirrups under their crew socks…Neither Russ Brown nor Junior Powell went on to pro football.
I don’t know why the card says “South”. Probably a screwup I couldn’t correct cuz wrote it in India Ink. A “mono” game: Mono blue vs. Mono gray in Montgomery, Ala…Players’ college helmets were spray-painted to match the unis. Tom Brown either also e-numbered his, or perhaps the number showed through from his Maryland helmet…Brown also was wearing those “Saucony/Adidas/Whatever The Heck They Were” cleats. Raymond Berry of the Colts had worn them for a few years, but dyed the stripes black so they didn’t show…Colorado’s Ken Blair didn’t play pro football…Brown did, as a long-time DB for the Packers.
The San Francisco Shrine game typically attracted the bigger-name players not involved in Bowl games. Ernie Davis played in this one this year…Paul Flatley of Northwestern went on to a long career as a split end for the Vikings before finishing up with the Falcons…Washington State’s Hugh Campbell played many seasons as a receiver for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, then coached the Edmonton Eskimos to a whole bunch of Grey Cups and later was head coach of the Houston Oilers.
Thanks Rick! Great job with that as always.
“Benchies” first appeared at U-W in 2008, and has been a Saturday & Sunday feature here for the past two years.
They’re rarely seen wearing a suit and tie, though…
Click to enlarge
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.
And so, lets begin:
First up is Adam Hill, with a Patriots rework:
I wanted to share this Patriots concept with you. I love their throwback design and wish they would go back to this look, but I also understand that they put a lot into the “Flying Elvis” logo. Why not combine the two? I think this is a pretty sharp look!
Love the blog!
Congrats on your new hockey team in 3 years!
Adam Hill – Graphic Designer
Next up is Mike Engle, who put away the crayolas and broke out the sharpies for these Jets concepts:
Here’s one for the concepts runway. Equal parts Namath and Gastineau, with dashes of other old-school and modern design flair, and paired with a brand-new helmet logo. I made two helmets — expected it to be a coin flip, but the green one is superior with both jerseys.
And we close today with Bryan Molloy, who has a new look for the soon-to-be relocated Islanders:
Just read your comments on the Islanders move to Brooklyn, and how you might revisit rooting for them if they changed their name…
As a Islander fan, I am glad they are keeping the name, and while I hope they do not change their colors or uniforms at all (not counting that awful black alternate. They need to kill that thing and fast), I also realize that there is a good chance they do in fact change their uniforms when they make the move to Brooklyn…
So I was messing around with ways to a)make the changes minimal, and b) also have it make note of the new home in Brooklyn.
The one thing in the Isles logo that always seemed extraneous to me was the text… so I dropped that, and then added a star to the Brooklyn area of LI (might not be 100% accurate on placement)… pretty simple, but I like it…. I also tried a variation of the logo using the shield-shape the Nets use (if they want to share some symmetry with their future co-tenant)… I think that could work as well, but it does remind me a little of the OKC Thunder logo. (what with the orange white and blue).
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
When last we left the Shipwreck/Skipper battle, Skipper had edged out to a slight lead over Shipwreck, but a weekful of games awaited. Lets get caught up to speed right quick:
Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl: The SMU Mustangs started fast and looked great, easily crushing the Fresno State Bulldogs, who somehow ended up wearing Arizona’s pants. Final score: SMU 43 – FSU 10. Shipwreck took the ‘dogs, while Skipper had the ‘stangs. Shipwreck 2-5; Skipper: 4-3
Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl: Faced with having Skipper run away with things, Shipwreck needed a run. And, boy, did he go on a run with this game, which pitted the CMU Chippewas vs. the WKU Hilltoppers — Shipwreck had the mono-maroon-clad Chips, who had new costumes featuring some godawful shoulder pattern, while the Hilltoppers offended the uni gods by ruining an otherwise beautiful uni by going gray. Ugh. Color vs. color is fine — maroon vs gray is not. The gods were not impressed. CMU (getting 5) didn’t even need the points winning outright, 24-21. Shipwreck 3-5; Skipper 4-4
Military Bowl: Back in the hunt, Shipwreck took the SJSU Spartans, decked out in blue and gold, while Skipper had picked the Bowling Green Falcons, who came out in mono orange, with a red/white/blue helmet logo, clearly offending the uni gods. Neither team looked good, but in the lesser of two evils, SJSU prevailed 29-20. With the Falcons getting seven, it wasn’t enough. Advantage Shipwreck. Shipwreck 4-5; Skipper 4-5
Belk Bowl: All knotted up, and with losing records both, this game would unbreak the tie — Shipwreck went with Cincy Bearcats, who’d get a brand new topper for the game, while Skipper chose the Duke Blue Devils, who surprised by actually wearing blue, and went with a blue hat and looked great. The uni gods were initially impressed, with Duke bolting out to a big lead. It wouldn’t last, although the game was tied in the fourth. A late TD & pick-six sealed it for the ‘cats, who ended up turning a push into a “W” (the spread was 7), breaking the hearts of bettors everywhere. Shipwreck 5-5; Skipper 4-6
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: Both Shipwreck and Skipper had picked classically-clad UCLA versus Baylor, who sported their matte green domes and went white/white — making for a very good-looking matchup, even if the Bruin’s classic uni trumped the Bears‘. Clearly, the uni gods must have had some bad corn, since they saw fit to favor the Bears, who crushed UCLA, 49-26 (and it wasn’t even that close). The spread was “even” so both Shipwreck and Skipper went down. Shipwreck 5-6; Skipper 4-7.
Advocare V100 Independence Bowl: Both Shipwreck and Skipper took the Ohio Bobcats in their matchup against the ULM Warhawks, and the game — like the uniforms — was no contest. Ohio (as a 7.5 point dog, no less) crushed the ‘hawks 45-14. Ohio went green matte/white/green while the Warhawks sported a white/maroon/white (with gold side piping) combo that was pretty wretched looking, but all things considered the game itself wasn’t too bad to look at. Especially since the ‘hawks mostly saw the backs of the Ohio players running away. Skipper needed to stop the bloodletting and got it. Shipwreck 6-6; Skipper 5-7
Russell Athletic Bowl: In a game that had all kinds of potential for uni-mischief, Va Tech stormed out wearing another special hat, which featured a turkey on the side and a special ribbon (closeup here and here) with the massacre total of 58 (for the Va Tech & SHES shootings). Skipper took a gamble that Rutgers wouldn’t look like garbage, and the gamble paid off, as they went silver/white/white, opposing the Hokies’ maroon/maroon/white. For 3 quarters, it was all Rutgers, but the Hokies staged a comeback to tie the game at 10, which was the score at the end of regulation. Va Tech would kick a FG in OT to win 13-10, while Rutgers went Norwood. With a 2.5 point spread, Shipwreck (VT) eked past Skipper, who fell to 2 games back against the ‘wreck. Shipwreck 7-6; Skipper 5-8
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas: Unlike the fairly boring Russell bowl, the Car Care Bowl featured the not-so-Golden Gophers and somewhat-Red Raiders in an offensive shoot-out from the get-go. Both teams looked aight, but the Red Raiders played dumb in the second half, and were held scoreless by the Gophers until almost the final minute, when they tied the game and won it (34-31) on a last second field goal following a pick. Both Skipper & Shipwreck had the Gophers (getting a whopping 12 points), so it was a cover for both. Shipwreck 8-6; Skipper 6-8
There you have it kids. FIVE (count ’em) bowls today (Bell Helicopter Armed Forces, New Era Pinstripe, Kraft Fight Hunger, Valero Alamo and Buffalo Wild Wings), but Shipwreck & Skipper have picked four games the same, so no matter what happens, he’ll keep his lead over Skipper going into the big bowls this week. Can Skipper catch Shipwreck? Can either Shipwreck or Skipper even go .500 this bowl season? Stay tuned.
That’s all for today, folks — big thanks again to Gary for those logos, and of course, Ricko for Benchies and “Fifty Years Ago.” Great stuff everyone. Back tomorrow with the bowl wraps, and the AFC by TJ. See you then.
“If you want to argue that using Native American Imagery is not right, then fine, if you want to call it racist (mind you its a laughing Native American) then I have a bone to pick with you.”