Inside the Lightning's New Identity

Just when you thought there was nothing more we could say about the recent rebrand of the Tampa Bay Lightning, we get an embarrassment of riches from the New York Times.

Times writer Jeff Z. Klein got the inside scoop on the Bolts' new look straight from the source, Ed O'Hara, the chief creative officer of SME Branding. SME is the creative force behind the branding of many NHL teams. And while reading this article, I was surprised to discover that, for as much work as they do, they only employ 15 people.

The article delves into details, including why an oval was used instead of a circle and how TV tests factor into the decision-making process. Even if you don't care for the Lightning's new identity, it's still worth a read just for the insight into how it all works.

Along with the article, the Times produced a video littered with some of SME Branding's conceptual work that ultimately led to the final design. I recommend watching the video, but here's some of what's in it.

Conceptual work for Lightning identity by SME Branding / New York Times

The whole process took six months and yielded a lot of interesting work. So what do you guys think? Are any of the early designs better than the final product?