Last season’s ridiculous record of zero wins against sixteen losses for the NFL’s Detroit Lions makes its glory days of four NFL championships, the latest more than fifty years ago in 1957, a very distant past. Truth be told, the woes of its football team should be the least of the city of Detroit’s worries, but few things can bring the citizens together as an exciting sports franchise and the Lions are doing whatever they can to bring a little bit of hope to Detroit, and a new identity for the Lions may not be the salvation but at least it’s a diversion. Yesterday’s media announcement of the new logo would have been more climactic had the logo not been leaked by the NFL itself nearly a month ago when the store posted a toy 18-wheeler featuring the new logo.
Toy truck at NFL.com with leaked Lions logo; news broke here.
Certainly, we could have posted the story back then, but there was absolutely no supporting images and just a crappy low resolution rendering of the actual logo. Plus, a disappearing image of a toy truck wasn’t much of a certain lead to go on, so I decided to sit on the story and wait for the official announcement. If only to get a better look at the lion.
As part of the new comprehensive brand, the Lions also introduced a new logotype and a new proprietary font, “NFL Lions.” The new logotype is additional imagery that presents the Lions brand and will be featured in such prominent places as the endzone marking at Ford Field. […] The new identity retains many important aspects of our history in terms of our primary mark and our colors. However, the evolution allows us to present our Lions brand and visual identity in new, versatile and distinctive ways.
— Press Release
Click on image for bigger view.
A few sample words set in the “NFL Lions” typeface. Don’t pay attention to the resolution, it’s the best we could do from a PDF with the type as an embedded image.
So, there you have it, the new identity for the Detroit Lions. I have to admit that I deeply enjoyed how strict the new lion remains to the original and presents a simple evolution without resorting to the animal pyrotechnic drawings that plagues most professional sports team identities. You can’t help but appreciate how big a difference a few white lines can do for Bubbles, as the lion is nicknamed. You can argue whether it’s the right drawing for a lion, but whoever designed this new mark did a good job in working with the cards they were dealt.
The furry typeface is fine, I guess, they did need some extravagant display of design and the “NFL Lions” typeface is pretty restrained for what it wants to do. Plus if you compare it to some of the Tuscan-style typography the Lions have used in the past, this is no more or less silly or inappropriate, so might as well have something proprietary. To be honest, there isn’t anything very interesting about this whole identity, it’s pretty competent and is inoffensive, but the two dozen or so e-mails I have in my inbox prove that — not unlike a certain X-Men movie that also got leaked — a little media buzz on the subject of identity design goes a long way.
Below are some images from yesterday’s announcement.