My buddy Justin recently asked me if I wanted to make some NFL logos for a Grantland piece called “If NFL Logos Were Honest“. We’d done a few before, and also did the entire MLB so I was game. I’m always down to Photochop logos and it’s a good exercise in manipulating fonts and matching styles. You honestly learn more doing stuff like this than almost anything else. So here’s how it works:
Justin, when he’s not busy writing books, creating TV shows (along with NotZombies friend Little Patty Schmacker), and blowing up Twitter thinks up snarky, teasing titles for the teams and sends them over. I go online, double check the team’s site to make sure we have the most recent official logo, then I Google image search to find the biggest version I can. Although the end jpeg ends up thin enough to fit on a standard blog page, I try to create the logos at a much higher resolution. At least 1500 pixels across. This means when you have to rasterize fonts to manipulate them, they still look clean when you shrink them.
After getting official artwork, I figure out if I want to keep the city name, if I want to use the city name for part of the joke title, or if I want to remove it completely. This all depends on the length of the new name and how the joke should read. Then I search the internet to see if some enterprising fan has turned the team’s one-off font into an actual font. I love it when they do—it makes everything much easier. If they haven’t, and the team didn’t use an off-the-shelf font, I have to find the closest font and then add serifs, and cut-outs, and all that other garbage.
Once the lettering looks right, I mess with the logo if I can. Usually just cocking an eye, turning a smile into a scowl, or making the mascot look nervous. It’s not exactly the most clever thing in the world, but it allows for more visual hilarity. What can I say? I was raised on Topp’s Wacky Packages trading cards and Mad Magazine.
Example, the logo for the Philadelphia Eagles:
Changing the name to “Burned Timeouts” I decided to use the city name for “Burned” and replace “Eagles” with “Timeouts”. It would be just too hard to fit “Burned Timeouts” where “Eagles” was, and the logo and colors are recognizable enough to not need the city name. The closest font I could find was a widened Haettenschweiler (I think), so I used that, arced it, and then added all the jagged serifs, cut-outs, and squared edges (like the S was almost totally redone to match). I spent so long on the font edits I didn’t realize that the official logo has a pinched perspective, and by the time I realized it, I was too tired to care. Hey, this isn’t a job.
Anyway, added some more font effects like drop shadow and outlines, and then added the Eagle. He looked way too fierce, so I completely replaced his eye, copying the line thickness and style of the original logo. He’s now looking up at the name in a state of disbelief at Andy Reid’s inability to properly plan his timeouts.
One of the other features I missed out on was the nice 3D block effect the original lettering has. That thick black fade. My letters ended up too far apart to pull that off while looking right so I skimped once again. I know, I know. Next year I’ll get it perfect.
So anyway, go check them all out at Grantland. As an HBO addict see if you can spot the one name I came up with.
Thanks for the massive love for the Logos post. We made ESPN.com front page and I’ve been getting tons of Twitter love all day. It’s been awesome. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank Justin for asking me to do the Photoshops and Dan and the Grantland team for letting us do this. Definitely looking forward to working with them more in the future.
And like this post or I’ll never Photoshop anything ever again. And like NotZombies on Facebook. And follow me on Twitter. And donate to cancer research. And don’t forget to vote.