'Corporate, Soulless': The Devolution of the Super Bowl Logo
Like the combatants who take part in the Super Bowl, not every logo that represents the Big Game can prove a winner. If you have lately found the Super Bowl logos to be rather nondescript and not befitting of the pageantry involved in the gridiron clash, you're in good company. Todd Radom, who had a part in developing the logos for the 38th and 39th versions of the championship duel, dubbed the most recent symbols, among other adjectives, “corporate and soulless.”
One can argue that the coaches and athletes who participate in the game should be the most scrutinized pieces of the event, but a logo also serves as a way to mark the occasion, no matter if the matchup yields a nail-biter or a blowout. The Sporting News played the role of decorative investigator for a look at the devolution of Super Bowl insignias, calling upon Radom and Sportslogos.net founder Chris Creamer to address the increasingly dull nature of the title tilt’s logo:
the super bowl logo used to be creative each year and now it's just predictable and boring pic.twitter.com/DM5FNrEmGG
— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) January 27, 2019
We here at Promo Marketing must admit that until last year’s appearance in Super Bowl LII by our city’s eventual world champion Philadelphia Eagles, we had not taken much notice of the composition of the game’s logos. We had been aware that a few years featured some pretty creative complements to the action on the field, but our focus had centered on seeing who would emerge victorious.
Perhaps it was the desire for the Eagles to repeat that made us curious about this year’s logo, and Sporting News scribe Jordan Heck wrote what we had been thinking. That is, essentially, that the NFL is dialing it back with respect to how vibrant, colorful and attractive it wants the logo for its ultimate game to be. We already devoted space this week to addressing artwork that lacks punch, but, and with no disrespect meant toward luxury fashion brands, the Super Bowl registers as a far bigger deal.
Minimalism definitely has its place in the world of logos, but it is tough to accept the bland quality of the promotional aid from this year’s clash and those of the two duels before that. It’s as if the league simply said, “OK, just add a Roman numeral, change the color under the Lombardi Trophy and call it a day.” The Super Bowl is supposed to be a spectacle, so it's just weird that the recent logos have been so tame.
“Something that can animate well on broadcast and on our devices, a logo that can peel apart into smaller logos for optimal versatile usage and, hopefully someday, something that gives us back the feeling of time and place that we have lost along the way,” Radom said of what makes a commendable Super Bowl logo.
We could not agree more, but the NFL, through its partnership with Landor, has elected to call on something “colorless and static” to hype up the action, with Radom getting in a burn at the league’s expense by saying those modifiers serve as metaphors, among many fans, for the sport’s governing body. Roger Goodell helms the NFL as its commissioner, with Creamer looking forward to the day when another leader “will realize it’s better to go back to a different design every year,” a move that had been a staple of the competition until Landor took over to mark Super Bowl XLV.
While we are eager to see what will become of the contest between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams, we have already abandoned any possibility that the logo will excite us. That said, we are looking forward to next year’s game already to see if Goodell, Landor and whoever else has a say will spruce up the look of the affiliated logo. As it stands, we can use the logo as a piece of proof to support many fans’ contention that the NFL truly stands for the No Fun League.