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Snakes on a Logo

Reviewed May. 12, 2009 by Armin

Industry / Sports Tags /

Philadelphia Union Logo, New

In February of 2008, the Major League Soccer awarded the city of Philadelphia an expansion slot to become its 16th team and start play in the 2010 season. Operating since then under the snoozy name of MLS Philadelphia 2010, the team finally unveiled its new name and identity yesterday in front of Philadelphia’s historic City Hall: Philadelphia Union.

Philadelphia Union Logo, Narrative

Team owner Jay Sugarman, left, and mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter unveil the new logo at City Hall.

The new logo, designed by New Haven, Connecticut based Silverman Group, is soaked in American history:

Union references the original Thirteen Colonies, which established the foundation of the United States of America. The club’s colors are navy blue and gold, symbolizing the uniforms of the American Continental Army, accented by the lighter shade of blue found in the Philadelphia Flag. The primary symbol of a rattlesnake is derived from Ben Franklin’s political cartoons and was featured in multiple editions of the Pennsylvania Gazette during the 1750s. The rattlesnake was utilized to emphasize the necessity of colonial unity and serve as a reminder of the danger of disunity. Franklin’s rattlesnake gained enormous popularity and evolved into a primary symbol of the American Revolution.
Press Release (PDF)

Benjamin Franklin's Join, or Die Cartoon

Benjamin Franklin’s Join, or Die political cartoon, published in 1754 in the Pennsylvania Gazette.

Philadelphia Union Logo, Narrative

It’s almost as if they are daring Americans not to like it and expose how unpatriotic they are. Not really. But I just haven’t seen a logo that goes to the extent of this one to reach into its history. What’s nice is that the logo becomes a symbol of what Philadelphia is known for and avoids using landmarks or other specific cliches. And the execution of the logo is actually quite nice and effective as a soccer crest; the snake might reduce to a worm-like figure on small applications, even on the secondary logo, so maybe we will soon see a snake-focused graphic that helps avoid that. Overall, a nice and strong emblem.

Thanks to River Brandon for first tip.



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Brand New, is a division of UnderConsideration, displaying opinions, and focusing solely, on corporate and brand identity work. More…

UnderConsideration is a graphic design firm generating its own projects, initiatives, and content while taking on limited client work. Run by Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit in Austin, TX.

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