Back in 2015, I wrote a bit about the history of the DetroitHockey.Net logo. Over the last several weeks, I was forced to add a new entry to that record.
As I detailed at DH.N itself, the Detroit Tigers forced me to change the site’s logo, claiming that DetroitHockey.Net’s Old English D conflicted with their trademarked Old English D. I don’t agree with this assessment but I also can’t fight it.
Thankfully, I had a little bit of a hint that the Tigers would do this, so I’d begun brainstorming ideas for a new logo, just in case. With the Old English D expected to be unavailable to me, I started thinking about other symbols of Detroit.
I ruled out the Spirit of Detroit statue because I think it’s somewhat awkward to work with, plus Detroit City FC uses it in their badge and trading conflict with one team for another seemed like a bad idea.
From there, I started thinking about Detroit’s flag. I’m a big fan of quartered flags – like those of Detroit, Maryland, Panama, and the Dominican Republic – and thought that I could follow the Baltimore Ravens’ example and use elements from the quartered flag in a shield.
With Detroit placing the city’s seal at the center of their flag, I thought that might be a good place to work in a set of crossed sticks, carrying that forward from my previous designs. I simplified the elements of the flag, reducing 13 stars, three lions, and five fleurs-de-lis down to one each.
The idea didn’t work as well as I had hoped. None of the elements looked quite at place there. The sticks didn’t fill the center circle well and said circle pushed the elements of each quarter into an awkward position.
I thought more about the quarters of Detroit’s flag and what they represented. France, England, and the United States (with the latter taking up two of the four quarters), the three countries that have laid claim to Detroit. The flag is basically about how they came together. DetroitHockey.Net takes those things and adds a fourth: hockey. So I decided to remove the center circle and break the shield up into five sections. I also changed the colors so that the red from Detroit’s flag became “DetroitHockey.Net Red,” the yellow became more of a gold, and the blue darkened to match the red.
This was closer to what I was trying to do, but still didn’t seem right to me, so I worked on tweaking how the shield was broken up. Along the way I changed the size of the shield and the angle and number of the stripes. I settled on seven stripes as it represented the seven Stanley Cup Championships won by the Red Wings at the time that the site that would become DetroitHockey.Net was founded in 1996.
The final changes were to switch to a slightly lighter shade of blue, then emphasize that blue.
For a site representing the Red Wings, the extra blue didn’t seem to be a fit, so I rolled back to my previous attempt and went with that.
Given the importance of the number nine in Red Wings history, I feel it’s highly appropriate that my final design was the ninth iteration.
With so much gold in the new logo, I felt it was appropriate to bring that color into an updated version of the roundel mark I use for the site.
Finally, I sketched out a version of the logo that combines the shield and the roundel by taking the elements from the shield and placing them inside the inner circle of the roundel.
I may never use that design but I’m keeping it around for now.
With the change, the new DetroitHockey.Net logo timeline is as follows:
The circumstances of the change have really clouded my own judgement on this one, but early reaction is positive.
As much as I loved the old logo and spent time building a brand around it, there was a lot of empty space and the black border tended to merge with the red a bit. When designing merchandise, I found myself defaulting to monochrome versions of the logo to resolve that issue.
The new logo is more complicated and requires a little more explanation than I’d like but I really like how the combination of red, gold, and blue turned out. I still have concerns about the red and gold evoking too much of a Detroit City FC feel but, to a certain extent, that’s like saying the old colors were too similar to the Chicago Blackhawks. I’m not too worried about it.