A tried and true approach to rebranding a professional sports franchise is to do it slowly. Very rarely will you ever see the launch of a massive rebrand, completely new logo unveiled, or drastically altered colors.
Pro sports teams and their fans are purveyors of heritage. Fans want to see brand evolution, not revolution. And throwbacks to past eras are not only welcome, but they are embraced. Try telling the board of a major corporation that they should sell merchandise bearing a decades-old company logo on it.
Ember is based in New Jersey, and our beloved local Devils hockey team has worn the same logo on their jerseys since the team was established in 1982. It’s a good symbol, but it is showing its years in some of the lesser-refined details of a typical pre-computer-design age logo. The pointed tail of the “J” shape doesn’t connect well with the rest of the logo, and arch of the “N” puts a pretty obvious date on the design, a nod to a time when overly curving just about any part of a letter shape made it undeniably 80s. Some of the line work is just clunky and jarring.
Can the Devils brand be brought up to date while still remaining true to the horned NJ image that fans have loved for almost 40 years? We decided to take a shot at it and see what this updated brand style might look like.
The proposed logo retains the recognizable “NJ” stylized shape with horns and tail, but with a modern update. It is not a redesign, but rather an update to the symbol that at a glance is still entirely Devils, but upon closer inspection looks like the image of a team that fits in with contemporary NHL brands like the Dallas Stars and Columbus Blue Jackets.
We re-drew the “NJ” shape, horns, and tail to all connect with the surrounding shapes and lines. The inner curve of the tail matches the circle enclosure of the logo, and the horns have been brought tighter together and closer to the rest of the symbol. The top of the “N” has been squared off and a slight point added to further embrace the devilish attributes of the brand, and also emphasize the forward motion of the shape.
Applying this new logo to other brand assets, this updated logo gives the entire Devils brand a fresh feel. Everything from jerseys and t-shirts to arena graphics and type treatments take on a new look alongside this revised symbol.
We also are suggesting a further updated jersey style to compliment the updated logo. Past iterations of the Devils jersey included the hockey standard triple stripe on the arms and waist. The current design removes the waist stripe but retains it on the sleeves. We are suggesting reducing the sleeve stripes to a thin white line and running black down the wrists.
Note: This project was not commissioned by the New Jersey Devils or any of their personnel. This is a concept project intended to illustrate what a revised team logo and brand could potentially look like.