The Tampa Bay Lightning — nickname: Bolts — joined the National Hockey League in the 1992 – 93 season along with the Ottawa Senators as expansion teams. The Lightning won the Stanley Cup in the 2004 – 05 season and in the following season, trying to defend their championship, they were eliminated by the Senators in the first round of the playoffs. I bet there is some poetic justice there for Senators fans. The Lightning have had two very crappy seasons after those glory days and now seem determined to get some thunder going behind them. Yesterday, they announced new uniforms, which will be used starting next season, and a new identity designed by SME Branding.
The Lightning worked with SME, a strategic brand development firm servicing the sports and entertainment industries, to create the new logo. “Bold”, “classic”, “iconic” and “hockey-centric” were the words that inspired the new designs. The previous circular logo shape was evolved into a contemporary oval shape to better represent the speed and power of NHL hockey competition as well as the upward direction of the club. One color, Tampa Bay Blue, was retained to honor the past and represent leadership’s commitment to the area. In order to create a more uplifting overall presentation — bright, wide white stripes replace the silver and black, providing a brighter presentation of the Tampa Bay brand.
— Press Release
If you look at the history of Tampa Bay Lightning logos it’s easy to see that they do not have the best track record and they prove that you can screw up something as kick-ass as a lightning bolt. Relatively speaking, the new logo is an improvement over the old: It’s simpler, cleaner, and more efficient with a single color and without all the unnecessary strokes. But, not speaking relatively, the new logo is still dull. The typography is improved, although I have no idea on what kind of fattening steroids that “B” is on. The uniforms are what they are, I have never been a big analyzer of uniforms. The best part of the whole identity is the patch, but even that has some half-cooked typography.
It’s a passable evolution, but it certainly has no thunder worth stealing.