Established as an expansion team of the NHL in 1997 in Tennessee, the Nashville Predators first took to the ice in the 1998 – 99 season. They finished second last that year and the year after that. Since then they have made the playoff on and off. I don’t follow hockey but I’m generally aware of what cities have teams in which professional sports but I had no idea there was a hockey team in Nashville and once I knew that information I had no idea why it had a saber-toothed cat as a logo. Turns out in 1971, the skeleton of one of these was found during construction of the First American National Bank building in downtown Nashville. The Predators — or “Preds” as they are also known (really?!) — have been using the same logo since they joined the league and this week they unveiled an updated identity.
[Designed] to showcase a more contemporary and aggressive look by streamlining the original logo with tweaks like shading on the teeth and adding a distinctive gold color band through the logo.
— Press Release
According to Predators Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Chris Parker the previous logo used seven colors. Seven! The new one has a mere two so at least there is that improvement. The changes are obviously subtle while keeping the basic structure of the cat drawing and they make for a considerably better logo but the problem is, well, the original drawing. It’s just weird: the giant teeth, the extreme lunging pose, the stripes. It’s just not terribly enticing.
The new wordmark is almost comical in how how sporty-aggressive it is: it’s not just pointy and italic and bold and outlined, no, it has fangs. The whole “Predators” line is a dark blobby mess with the uneven and unresolved blue background in the back and the yellow chisels don’t quite add the full dimensional effect. I also don’t understand what happened to the “O”, that guy has its own idea of a good time and is going a different way. The “Nashville” lettering could fit one or more Zambonis, depending on how bad the kerning is, between each letter.
In addition to the team logo, the Preds also unveiled a new secondary logo designed to represent the Tennessee state flag and Nashville’s music city heritage. The guitar pick shape recognizes the Music City heritage and influence, while the three stars signify the East, Middle and Western parts of the state in similar shape and design as the state flag.
— Press Release
Much of the same comments on the wordmark above apply to the monogram, but being two letters it’s a little less offensive. And perhaps the one good idea with decent execution is this secondary mark shaped like a guitar pick and sporting the stars of the Nashville flag — although as Uni Watch points out, the stars in the flag have a different rotation. It’s not groundbreaking but it has all the perfect tie-ins with the city.
Overall, a technical improvement for reproduction but a slight disappointment in creativity and execution.
Plans are in development for coming back to Europe in Spring of 2018 with the current top contender host city of Barcelona.