At Work on Columbus' NHL All-Star Logo


Since I'm in the process of reinvigorating the Concepts page here at Icethetics (with new concept posts daily!), it seems only fitting that this latest blog update features a number of professional concept logos that have been created for the NHL.

It all comes by way of a video posted on the Columbus Blue Jackets' website — the first in a series chronicling the development of the 2013 NHL All-Star Weekend.

In the video, the guys who will be designing the All-Star logo talk about the process. It's all very fascinating to people like us.

Bill Frederick of the Frederick & Froberg Design Group and NHL Senior Design Director Paul Conway arrived in Columbus Tuesday to meet with Blue Jackets marketing and creative team members and begin planning the art for the 2013 All-Star celebration. Conway and Frederick have been a part of several NHL sanctioned event logo designs, most recently working on the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa.

NHL All-Star 2012 logo developmentPerhaps the best part of the video is the B-roll in which we see the logo designers leafing through their incredible portfolio. Getting to see the logos that didn't make the final cut is very cool.

On the right are three screen grabs from the video that show the early development process of the 2012 NHL All-Star logo. Interestingly, it was the design labeled Concept A that appears closest to the final version.

Concept B is pretty nice, but it makes sense the overall shape of an All-Star logo is more of a — you know — star. And I guess the Peace Tower was kind of the obvious choice as far as a central design theme.

As the designers say in the video, the first thing they do is try to determine what makes the host city iconic — if anything. The goal isn't to rework the host team's primary logo with some stars in it — despite the fact that that's basically what happened with the 2011 game in Raleigh.

As Conway says:

“Some cities are more challenging than others, and Columbus certainly is one of those. There’s not that one key iconic aspect of the city that stands out, which makes this research phase and interview process even more critical.”

Columbus is a beautiful city, but I'm not sure the skyline is recognizable enough to cut it here. It'll be interesting to see what they go with since the Blue Jackets' primary mark is basically tailor-made for an All-Star logo — what with it being a giant star and all.

I hope the Blue Jackets continue to release videos throughout this process. It'll be fun to follow along with the development of an NHL logo. It's something we rarely get an inside look at — and something no Icethetics reader can get enough of.

Conway says the process can take about four to six weeks from start to finish. But that doesn't necessarily mean the official logo will be unveiled in April. It may not come until late summer. We'll obviously be keeping an eye on it.

One more thing. In the video we see someone thumbing through a Blue Jackets logo portfolio. It appears to share a glimpse of elements of an unused third jersey design.

I would guess the logo we see there was probably an intended shoulder patch. Beneath it we can see the numbers and letters that are actually used on the current third jersey — only in different colors. Bet it would've been a neat look. (UPDATE 2/26: After the initial post, Avi Stein put together a hi-res rendering of what we can see in that video frame.) And if you feel like putting together a uniform concept featuring this logo, maybe you can take some inspiration from some other Blue Jackets third jersey prototypes seen here last year.

For what it's worth, the NHL is currently promoting the 2013 All-Star Weekend with graphics like the one seen here. But it's merely the Blue Jackets' custom font. Nothing special — or permanent.

My thanks to Mike R. for letting me know about the video.


While we're on the subject of logo development, Denver Post beat writer Adrian Dater posted a podcast he did with Dan Price, the creative director for the Colorado Avalanche in 1995 when the team moved from Quebec. He was responsible for the logo, but credits Michael Beindorff with actually designing it.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the interview to me was learning that the franchise was originally going to be named the Rocky Mountain Extreme. The name was actually leaked early by Dater in the Post but Denver hockey fans revolted and the marketing guys went back to the drawing board. Price points out that before the organization settled on Avalanche, they also considered naming the team Cougars and Black Bears. Glad they went with Avs.

Price is currently the head of a local marketing firm called Adrenalin. They are responsible for rebranding the Phoenix Coyotes in 2003 when Wayne Gretzky got involved with the team. Anyway, the podcast is a good listen if you've got a half hour to kill. But a necessity if you're an Avs fan.

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