Imagine you were going on a very long journey and you could only bring one item with you. Would it be big and bulky or would it be small enough to fit in your pocket? Would it look cool or would it serve some function? What type of shelf life would it have? What value would this item hold? It's not an easy question to answer. Well, that's the difficulty I find when designing a logo.
The hardest part of creating a logo is creating something that encompasses the complexities of the brand in one distinct mark. It needs to look good but also serve a function. It will also be used in many instances and therefore has to look good in every size. Each element of the mark has to serve a purpose so extra shapes and patterns get in the way. The entire process consists of multiple iterations because every small detail matters.
I often find that the best logos are simple, smart and a tad bit clever. To this day, I still think the Hartford Whalers had the best sports logo of all time. It might not scream hockey, but it's simplicity to communicate three things into one make it a true masterpiece.
Here's a breakdown of why it's so good.
a) It shows the whale tail in a natural and un-forced way like it it popping out of water. The shape is simple and recognizable.
b) The 'W' stands for Whalers but it's unique shape makes it kind of look like a trident spear. This communicates power like Poseidon, God of the Sea.
c) Here's the best part. The negative space of these two shapes create an 'H' which stands for Hartford. The weight of the H is similar to 'W' to show equal significance.
Together, these three items create a symmetrical and balanced crest that is perfect to represent a team.
Unfortunately, the team owner didn't realize the greatness in this logo and in 1997 announced that he was moving the team to North Carolina where they would become the Hurricanes. The following summer in 1997, the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers) relocated to the Hartford market to take the place of the Whalers. In honor of the defunct NHL Whalers, the Wolf Pack announced that they were changing their name to the Connecticut Whale in the middle of the 2010-11 season.
The new Connecticut Whale logo was never quite the same.