Branding a Fake Hockey Team

I’ve been into simulated fantasy hockey for a long time and am currently in a league run through the forums at SportsLogos.Net, the NHA.

Being attached to SportsLogos.Net, the NHA takes its team branding very seriously.  Though not technically required, each team is expected to have a unique and appropriate name and logo, as well as one for their farm team.

I joined the league for its first season (called Season Zero over there because we threw it out as a learning experience after it was done), with my Detroit-based team called the Michigan Sentinels.  After Season Four I called it quits, then returned for Season Seven, inheriting a different team.

As the Detroit market was once again available, I moved the Pocono Pirates and brought back the Michigan Sentinels.  The problem is that the old Sentinels were now the Sudbury Spartans and were still using the original Sentinels’ logo, so I needed to come up with a new graphic identity that represented the same team name but didn’t look like the Spartans.

The original Sentinels’ logo was simply a tweaked version of the logo for NFL Europe’s Cologne Centurions, recolored (red, white, gold and black) and slightly streamlined.  The primary jerseys were based on Team Canada 2002 while the two alternates were more retro, the home alternate featuring “Michigan” diagonally across the front and the road featuring the state name in a deliberately “collegiate” vertical arch.

michigan-sentinels-s4

To get away from the previous identity, I decided to draw more attention to “Michigan” than “Sentinels” in the new one.  The primary logo features a block-M (though not the same one as the University of Michigan uses) placed inside a shield that could evoke the idea of a Sentinel.  The color scheme is simplified, dropping gold entirely and changing to a more muted, “vintage” version of the remaining colors.  The jerseys borrowed elements from many places, coming out looking like a modified version of those worn by the Chicago Blackhawks.  An alternate featuring the state name diagonally across the front was carried on.

michigan-sentinels-s7

After one season, I made a simple tweak to the shape of the shield, changing it to match the updated shield logo of DetroitHockey.Net while thickening the borders to make it a little more visually stronger.  I also added a roundel-style alternate logo to the right shoulder featuring the words “Michigan Sentinels Hockey Club” and “Detroit, MI” around the outline of the state of Michigan.

michigan-sentinels-s8


As an aside, I feel like posts like this one should replace the “Portfolio” section of my site, much like my “Code Sample” blog category replaced a part of the site dedicated to that topic.  I keep debating it.  This might be the first in a new format.  We’ll see.

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