This is a very old entry — images are small, formatting is off.
While the whole world has soccer in their brains I figured the timing might be right to feature a diminutive component that helps fuel this worldwide craze. From the deep, damp and cold confines of the United States’ northwest, the Portland Timbers have had a soccer team since 1975 when it competed in the North American Soccer League and most recently played in the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) Division 2 league, or, more bluntly, the minor league to the Major Soccer League (MSL) where the Timbers will be graduating to in the upcoming 2011 season, becoming the 18th team. In preparation for the move, the Timbers unveiled a new identity designed by Rare Design, a firm in Hattiesburg, Mississippi with plenty of athletic identity experience.
The new primary mark features four main elements which all pay homage to the team’s history while signifying the new area of Timbers soccer. The new mark’s central focus remains the T-shaped axe, which now breaks free of the confines of the original crest. The axe represents the team’s intense strength, precision, and exactness in all they do. The circle shape also remains, representing unity, wholeness, and the Timbers’ pursuit of perfection. Also retained in the logo are the chevrons, which are more than a graphic representation of trees. Now simplified to three chevrons, these elements represent the team’s membership in the NASL (where their roots began), the USL (where they started to flourish), and their current inclusion as the 18th MLS franchise—thereby paying tribute to their league history and growth. The Timbers’ colors get an enhancement as well, with the traditional “Ponderosa” green and the energetic accent of “Moss” getting their inspiration from the pines of the deep, lush Oregon forests.
— Rare Design Blog
The old logo, despite the irony-prone vintage patina that makes for great Urban Outfitter t-shirts, was pretty bad. Not bad-bad, just naive-bad. Amazingly, the new logo takes all the exact elements and creates something vibrantly contemporary. The axe is probably my least favorite part, as it feels a little too swooshy and overly extended. But the typography is quite commendable in that Rare kept all the quirky nuances of the old lettering — like odd diagonals in the “N” and “M” — based on newer letterforms. I could do without the angled edges of the “T” but I guess it was impossible to resist to make it look like an axe itself. There is something odd about the “chevrons,” perhaps the different weights but it gives the logo an interesting bellicose attitude.
More importantly though… it’s not an angry animal with pointy serifs.