Created in 1981 by Ken Cochran — a college basketball coach with an impressive 401-118 record during his 8-year stint at Marymount — Pop-A-Shot is an electronic basketball shooting game that challenges players to put tiny basketballs through a tiny hoop. Originally completely analog, Cochran evolved his contraption to include a mechanical counter and countdown clock but the main structure and idea has remained the same over 35 years. A staple of arcade parlors for many years — and precursor to a handful of imitators and competition — Pop-A-Shot now focuses on selling its products to consumers, be it for man-caves, office amusement, or kids’ rooms. Last year, Pop-A-Shot introduced a new logo and identity designed by Indianapolis, IN-based CODO Design.
Being (mostly) good ol’ Indiana boys, we delved deep into the wholesome, vibrant visual tradition of basketball to build a new identity for this storied heritage brand.
The old logo was perfectly fine for the product… Pop-A-Shot is not the place where you expect high design or even “good” design, so the use of the Kinko’s font — né Revue — blended in perfectly with the product and its settings. Part of what I enjoy about this project and why it’s a Review instead of being Noted (where it more properly belongs) is that it shines a light on a product that’s so easy to take for granted and not even consider its design or presentation. Up until writing this, I didn’t even know it was called Pop-A-Shot even though I have probably played it (or a version of it) many times over my lifetime, so it’s nice to see the product evolve and be less generic and faceless.
The new logo maintains the lowbrow vibe but with a much more purposeful, much more fun logo. Round like a basketball, it also follows the contours of the shapes between the ridges. It’s not elegant typography but it’s appropriate and fun. The textured edges add a touch of vintageness to the logo.
There are a handful of secondary logos that add some variety and all have similar traits — mainly, type on a sphere. Some characters get a little wonky but I think it adds up to some general charm. The one element that I do question more than others is the standalone “Pop-A-Shot” (above, bottom left) where the “A” is a little bolder than the rest of the letters — compare the width of the feet of the “A” with the width of the stem of the “P”s — and since it’s a big part of the identity in application, maybe it needed some extra TLC.
The board graphics are fine… I like that they resisted the urge to make them extra cool or fancy and instead they still look like cheap (in a good way) arcades you would find at a fair. The standalone wordmark looks fun on the balls but I wish (understanding that it would be a production hardship) that it filled up the ridge as much as the graphic icons do. Overall, what I like most about this is that this new identity could have easily been the identity created in the 1980s and now makes the product feel like something that has been around for a long time and that it’s looked like this forever.