Established in 1976 as an expansion team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Bucs) play in the South Division of the National Football Conference in the NFL with their home stadium — that features a 103-foot (31-meter) pirate ship — in Tampa, Florida. After a solid string of playoff appearances leading up to 2002, the Buccaneers won Super Bowl XXXVII that year but haven’t reached that high again. Last week, the Bucs introduced “enhanced” logos and helmet designed by a design team of the NFL.
The re-design of the Buccaneers’ logo and helmet was the result of a rigorous and thorough process in conjunction with a design team at the National Football League. The aim of the project was to take the existing Bucs logo and update it with a new, refreshed, modernized approach, taking the toughness that was inherent in the existing mark and making it much louder. That can be seen in many of the details of the skull and crossed swords, most notably around the eye socket, the teeth, the mouth and the jaw. Every detail of that skull was looked at and very specific decisions were made to determine how far it could be taken to make it tougher but still be true to the Buccaneers’ original approach.
The Buccaneer red of the flag is more vivid, the pewter of the helmet more distinctive, the skull-and-crossed-swords even more intimidating than before and — most strikingly, the logos on the helmet are much larger. […] The new logo still features the team’s iconic, windswept red battle flag, while sporting a more menacing skull positioned over crossed swords and an orange football.
The previous identity of the Bucs had been designed 17 years ago and it was starting to show its age; the skull and swords looking more like late 1990s clipart drawings and less like the streamlined, pointy sports identities of today. Not that looking like today’s other sports identities is a good thing by default but you have to keep with the times and the Bucs are doing just that. The typography is exactly what we expect: pointy and stroked. The iconography too: meaner and stroked. And the alternate logo (ship, seen below) also: merchandise-y and stroked. Despite the expectations being met yet not exceeded the logo is more effective with a crisper use of lines and dimension. Thanks to the color change and removing a lot of those extraneous black lines the new logo is less muddied and busy.
The enhanced pirate ship logo is a dynamic image with a more three-dimensional look, appearing to cut through the water as it heads to battle. The updated mark is also much more clearly defined from stern to bow, replacing the simple, stylized hull of the previous ship.
In addition, where here the previous mark was predominantly black, the updated ship features all red sails and flags, more in keeping with the team’s primary logo and with the buccaneer tradition of the joli rouge, or jolly roger.
Tampa Bay’s newly enhanced flag logo is emblazoned on the lead sail, and it stands out crisply against its red backdrop. The waves hitting the bow of the ship create the impression of a vessel at top speed, and it’s fitting that the Buccaneer flag is leading it into battle.
The previous ship logo was even more clipart-y and very hard to read. I mean, yeah, it was clear it was a ship but it wasn’t the greatest drawing in the world. The new one still isn’t the greatest drawing of a ship in the world — the sails look great but the waves, hull, and deck get a little confusing in their perspective and dimension — but it’s a clear improvement. And it’s going to look great on t-shirts.
Yup. No surprises here.
The helmet retains its trademark pewter color and includes a larger logo on each side along with the revolutionary new chrome facemask. Also unique to the Buccaneers’ look will be a hand-painted shading technique that uses a darker pewter color running vertically from the front of the helmet to the crown and along the ear-holes, providing a one-of-a-kind custom look.
The helmet’s color and shading looks cool enough although the logo is disproportionately big on the helmet. Scaling it 90% or 85% would have given it some necessary breathing room and still maintain the feel. Overall, yes, this is an “enhanced” logo and identity, no question about it, but it’s simply enhanced to today’s expected trends and standards.
Thanks to Alex Coyle for the tip.