Given my recent history, it would seem that I’m contractually obligated to dislike any graphics package any team in the Detroit Red Wings’ organization puts out.
I didn’t like the Red Wings’ Winter Classic jerseys in 2014 or their Stadium Series jerseys for this year. I don’t like their Hockeytown logo. I didn’t like the Grand Rapids Griffins’ 20th Season logo or their updated primary logo and I disagree with their choices in the fan-designed jersey contests.
So when they unveiled the logo celebrating the team’s final season at Joe Louis Arena, it should come as no surprise that I was unhappy with it.
The primary problem I have with this is that the only way it says “Joe Louis Arena” is literally. Much like my complaint about the Hockeytown logo. Even then, they didn’t use the arena’s actual name but the nickname of “The Joe.”
The main elements of the logo are a big block of text, a Stanley Cup silhouette, and four stars representing Stanley Cup Championships. Visually, this feels more like a logo celebrating those championships than the arena that hosted the team when they were won.
The Joe isn’t all of that interesting of a building but at least try to represent it visually.
I threw together a rough drawing of the direction I’d like to have seen them go (and I emphasize “rough”).
The primary element of this design is a drawing of the exterior of Joe Louis Arena. It’s not a beautiful building by any means but it is recognizable and as such it makes sense to use it in the logo.
I kept the “Farewell Season” text across the top of the logo and the Winged Wheel at the bottom. The four stars are kept, two on each side of the Wings’ logo. A ribbon is added across the bottom of the arena rendering containing the remaining text from the original logo. The bounding shape is changed because I think it works better as a patch.
The only element removed is the Stanley Cup silhouette, which I don’t think is necessary.
I should again emphasize that this is a rough drawing. The rendering of the arena is pretty sloppy. I think a better job would be done if it were actually being used (in fact, the Red Wings already have a pretty good drawing of the arena on their “JLA Insider” page of their web site, though I think it’s a little “comic” for use in a logo like this). For anyone who thinks an arena can’t be rendered well on a patch, I give you the Maple Leafs’ patch for their final season at Maple Leaf Gardens, the Devils’ patch for their first year in Prudential Center, and the Hurricanes’ patch for when they moved to what was then Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena.
So change the shape, change the colors, change any of the other elements… Just include Joe Louis Arena. That’s what the logo is supposed to be for. Show it, don’t just say it.
EDIT 2/15: I got some feedback that the bounding shape is unnecessary because it reduces the impact of the arena’s distinctive shape and I agree. I mocked up a version that uses the drawing of the arena, the ribbon, and the Winged Wheel without losing any of the important elements. Even the four stars are kept.