When talking about sports, one thing is clear; it is a multi-billion dollar industry, and the survival of the brand means everything. Thus, branding design and corporate marketing are a must when it comes to making or breaking the brand and even the reputation of a sports team. This is one of the reasons why logos have been created – to promote the name and the values of a company or a professional team. In fact, a majority of managers believe branding is vital for the success of any of your endeavors. So, if you were wondering what our picks for the top sports logos are, keep on reading. We also included three logos we believe should be redesigned or thrown in the trashcan.
Our Top Sports Logos Around the World
1. Real Madrid C.F.
One of the most recognizable logos in football belongs to a Spanish football club, Real Madrid. The first significant changes were made in 1941, two years following the end of the Civil War. According to the facts on sports logos and names, this is when the club restored the Royal Crown to its iconic logo while keeping Castile’s mulberry stripe. The current logo features the stripe in a blue shade, and it is definitely more contemporary.
2. New York Yankees
The New York Yankees’s iconic interlocking “NY” logo, which made its debut in 1909, is not only a symbol of the American pro baseball team but also a symbol of the city. The famous design was created by Tiffany & Co. in 1877, and it was featured on the medal of valor for an officer from NYC who was shot on duty, John McDowell. Although the Yankees utilized different variations of pro sports logos throughout history, the interlocking “NY” one became the most legendary.
3. FC Barcelona
The present-day logo of the famous Spanish football club dates back to 1910 when it won a club competition. On the top left, the logo features the Saint George Cross, referring to Catalonia’s patron saint. On the top right, we can see four vibrant red bars depicted on a gold background or La Senyera. Finally, the bottom portion of the sports logo features the blaugrana colors seen on the original team shirts.
4. New England Patriots
The New England Patriots’ logo went through some changes in 1971 when the team changed its name from “The Patriots.” However, the biggest changes were made in 1993, when the iconic minuteman logo was altered into the profile of a grey figure wearing a recognizable red, white, and blue cap. In 2020, we can still see the same iconic sports team logo, but the grey-faced patriot’s cap is more vibrant and contemporary.
5. Manchester United F.C.
Originally derived from the coat of arms of Manchester’s Council, Manchester United’s iconic logo is certainly one of our favorites. Nowadays, it is best known for the famous red devil sitting in the middle of it. In fact, the idea behind the logo was taken from a Salford-based rugby club that went by the name “The Red Devils.” In 2020, the sports logo pictures the popular crest of Manchester city, and a red devil holding a pitchfork within the crest.
6. Washington Redskins
Even though many think that the Washington Redskins logo is controversial due to the depiction of a Native American, for us, it is nothing less than iconic. The primary logo made its debut in 1971 in consultation with the leaders of Native American origin. According to Walter “Blackie” Wetzel’s son, Don, the famous Redskins sports logo was created by a Native American from the State of Montana. Above all, the logo of the American professional football team represents the Red Nation. The theme of the logo remained the same throughout the years, with the face of the Native American figure making its first appearance as the club’s symbol in 1933.
7. Los Angeles Lakers
The American professional basketball team’s logo was created in 1960, featuring streaking letters and a basketball. The logo has not gone through any major changes; it was only tweaked and modernized, resulting in the contemporary look it has today. Facts on best sports logos reveal that the latest changes were made in 2002 when the design of the wordmark “LOS ANGELES LAKERS” was changed to a strong purple. According to sources, the stretched lines emitting from the text symbolize the rapid speed of the team.
8. Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are a famous professional American football team in “The Lone Star State” of Texas; you can probably understand why the iconic logo features a single blue star. The simple design, which many believe is the best logo in sports, was created by Jack Eskridge in 1960, and it has remained almost untouched since then. The only slight changes that are obvious are the white outlines that have been added in 1964 for a more modern appearance. In some instances, it also features the name of the team written under, over, or above the star.
9. Philadelphia Eagles
The spectacular logo of the professional American football team from Philadelphia features a blue eagle, a symbol that was first used as the New Deal Stimulus Program’s logo during the Great Depression. The best sports logo design facts reveal that throughout the team’s history, the logo featured a green eagle with a football in its clutches. According to sources, the majestic bird is a symbol of the American football team’s ingenuity and spirit. The present-day logo has not seen any changes since 1996 when the beard became more cartoonish and modern-looking. Interestingly, the logo also features an “E,” cunningly hidden in the neck of the bird.
10. Chicago Bulls
The Chicago-based American professional basketball team’s logo features a fierce enraged red bull with bloody horns. Worthy of a spot on our list of best sports logos, the iconic logo was created by Dean P. Wessel, and it was adopted in 1966. Funny fact: did you know the logo is not safe for work when flipped upside down? Check for yourself. For some, it depicts a robot being intimate with a crab; for others, it’s a robot reading the Bible. Nonetheless, it’s hilarious.
The Worst World Sports Logos
1. AK Bars Kazan
One of the worst sports logos we have ever seen belongs to a Russian professional ice hockey team from Kazan, Hockey Club Ak Bars. It features a sketch of a wild cat with Russian letters on top. We understand that the image depicts a snow leopard, due to the English translation of the name of the team, but still. Certainly, the design looks like it has been created by a 10-year-old.
2. Kilmarnock FC
Killie’s, the Scottish professional football team’s logo featuring two red squirrels also makes it on our worst sports logos list. The current logo features a soccer ball in the middle with a single hand in a blessing position. “Confidemus” is written at the top of the badge, and this is the club’s motto in Latin. In 2018, the football team revealed a special logo for the team’s 150th anniversary. Hint, it was missing the squirrels.
3. Cincinnati Reds
We will give credit to the American professional baseball team’s logo designers, as they have luckily made significant changes to one of the most horrendous sports logo images from 1959. Back then, it featured a character nicknamed “Mr. Redlegs,” who was, in all honesty, truly frightening. “Mr. Redlegs” depicted a grinning cartoon version of a baseball player with a mustache and a baseball bat. Fortunately, the logo changed in 1968, and the “Mr. Redlegs” character disappeared by 1993.
Our Top Sports Clothing Logos
The original logo of Puma depicted their mascot, a puma, leaping through the capital letter “D,” in Rudolf Dassler, the brand founder. Certainly, Dassler did not run out of sports logo design ideas when he added the word “puma” underneath the leaping wildcat in 1956. Furthermore, in the same year, the iconic formstrip was added. The latest changes were made in 1979, and the current-day icon features a refined puma jumping across a bold “PUMA” text.
This French company is known for selling footwear, eyewear, perfume, and, most importantly, sportswear. It is also famous for its iconic green crocodile logo. According to facts on sports brands logos, the green crocodile logo was inspired by the nickname of a tennis team captain, René Lacoste, called “The Crocodile.” Most recently, Lacoste replaced its green crocodile logo with different animals to bring light on the rising issue of species becoming endangered, such as the black whale.
Certainly, the Nike Swoosh is one of the most recognizable sports-related logos in history. If you don’t already know, it was designed by Carolyn Davidson, a graphic designer, in 1971. Believe it or not, her invoice total for the design was only $35. Based on the facts on the all sports logo, in 1978, the brand featured its name at the top of the swoosh, whereas in 1995, the name disappeared. Presently, the swoosh logo symbolizes athleticism, quality in the design of apparel, and speed.
Ellesse, the Umbria based company, is another famous sports apparel brand that we love. The iconic Ellesse logo features a “half ball” which is a combination of the tips of a pair of skis and a cross-section of a tennis ball. This was done to symbolize Ellesse’s heritage in skiing and tennis. According to facts on some of the most recognizable sports logos, the present-day Ellesse logo features the name of the brand in lowercase letters with the “half ball” above it.
The next sports logo is pretty straightforward and simple, and this is why we love it. The most significant changes were made in the 1970s when the insignia was altered, and the company’s name was depicted in red and blue on the iconic white background. According to facts on the best sports logos ever, the biggest changes were made to the distinctive “C,” which remained affixed and embroidered on the left side of the hip of shorts and pants, as well as the left of the zipper of the sleeve on t-shirts and hoodies.
Throughout the history of the company, we can spot three distinctive changes made to the Adidas logo. Firstly, the company featured three simple black stripes on anything they created. This was later altered, and the new Adidas logo featured the famous trefoil. Finally, the latest version features the recognizable three bars with the company’s name depicted below. The main reason why we love this retro sports logo is because of its simplicity and timelessness.
You have certainly seen this iconic logo countless times. In fact, it is also very straightforward and simple, depicting only the name of the sportswear company in bold navy lettering. According to certain sources and according to color psychology, the navy blue color of the uppercase letters symbolizes Fila’s reliability and trustworthiness. When it comes to the shape, the symbol utilizes letters that are reminiscent of the shape of a snake. Thus, the logo for sports apparel is very futuristic and modern-day looking.
Our next favorite sportswear logo belongs to the Italian brand, Kappa. The iconic “Omini” logo depicts the silhouette of a woman and a man leaning against each other, which sources claim symbolizes the equality of genders and their shared support. However, did you know it was created by accident during a 1969 photoshoot?
The iconic American fashion brand founded in Massachusetts, producing sporting goods, shoes, and sportswear, is our next top pick for the most iconic logos out there. Their original logo was introduced in 1963, and it featured a simple black star and the brand’s name in bold letters. Throughout history, the theme of the logo remained the same, with the star becoming the center point. With the help of the brand’s endorser Charles “Chuck” Taylor, the Converse logo became one of the best logos in sports in the world.
10. Under Armour
Last but not least, we have a simple logo from a Baltimore-based company, Under Armour, known for producing quality sports and casual apparel, as well as footwear. Interestingly, the name of the brand was created by accident, when Bill Plank misheard his brother and believed he wanted to name the brand “Under Armour” instead of “Body Armour.” The logo features a crisscross image formed by the letters “U” and “A.” The last changes were made in 2005 when the words “Performance Apparel” were removed.
The design of sports logos should remain simple and straightforward instead of being too edgy or “all over the place.” Most importantly, a logo is vital for sports branding as it presents the team or the fashion brand to the public. If you liked this article, please make sure to leave a comment below and let us know which team or sports clothing logos are your favorites.