As ive been hearing about for months, the Panthers have introduced an updated version of their logo. (FYI, im also hearing black helmets and new uniform design but cant be sure of that). since the franchises inception they have had one of the worst identities in sports. They have gone from a poorly crafted logo and incredibly bad 90s word mark, to another poorly crafted logo and incredibly bad modern word mark.
oh the humanity!
Sports design is filled with logo cases of "great concept, poor execution" and the Carolina Panthers are a text book example. The concept having a Panther fill a rough silhouette of North Carolina is very clever. Its so disappointing to see a missed opportunity like this. And, frustrating because it screams of amateur design skill. There's too many great designers out there; the NFL has no excuse for its teams carrying terrible identities. Earlier today, Fraser Davidson (http://cargocollective.com/davidson) pointed out some of these flaws and offered some solutions.
i would also point out the amount of tangents (an unpleasant aesthetic, causing visual tension, where 2 shapes/lines meet or slightly touch) is stagering. I count 7 of them, including one right in the middle of the face where the nose meets the cheek. The lack of an out line causes the logo's shape to disappear on black, losing its North Carolina reference. The inconsistency of line weight through out might be the most amateurish aspect of it all.
The Panthers official release was filled with inaccuracies, if not flat out lies, about the logo. Im not sure if the Panthers want to believe what they've released, are trying to get their audience to believe it, or if its what they wanted and NFL Creative completely failed at delivering it. Either way, its still one of the worst logo systems in sports even though it is an improvement over the original.
"The updated identity reflects a modernized version of the previous logo and logotype and visually connects the two together. It has been designed to provide a more aggressive, contemporary look to the logo while making it more three-dimensional for ever-increasing digital use.
"We have one of the finest and most recognizable logos in the NFL and wanted to make it as modern as possible without losing the dramatic essence of the mark," said Carolina Panthers President Danny Morrison.
The Panthers will transition to the refined logo throughout 2012. The primary tweaks made by the National Football League's creative department are primarily in the features in the eye and mouth. The logo will also be accompanied by a change in the primary logotype.
"It is a cleaner style that is easier to read and should be more applicable to different uses," Morrison said.
Staying true to the roots of the panther with subtle updates reflecting a tougher, more defined panther, the evolved logo is evocative of the popular panther statues found on the grounds of Bank of America Stadium. The white outline around the logo has been removed to create a more dimensional feel and to keep the focus on the features of the panther.
The logotype has been refined to be a modern reflection of the Panthers brand. The new font subtly nods to the swipe of a panther, through a three stripe element incorporated into the "A" of "PANTHERS." The angle and graphic accents in the letters were custom created and inspired by the swift, sleek nature of a panther."
The new typeface isnt so bad. Im pretty sure its Trade Gothic Condensed Oblique, same as the Orlando Magic use in their marketing. Its been altered of course with the spurs on the letters. Its a really nice font family, but they managed to butcher it up real nice. The consistency from letter to letter is just so bad.
You have those spurs going left, right, top, bottom. but none on the T. Some letters have the slashes in them. They're at different heights and that 3 slash A is just giving the finger to the rest of his letter buddies. It makes your eye jump around. Its just very visually uncomfortable. Probably true that we'll just see "Panthers" most of the time but its really not much better and is certainly no excuse for poor unity and harmony through out.
A while ago i took on a personal project of updating the Panthers identity. Admittedly, its far from a great package, but i think NFL Creative could have used some ideas from it: My Panthers
At the same time, i got some advice from Fraser Davidson who also created an updated version of the logo and word mark, which can be found here: Davidsons Panthers In my opinion Fraser's marks here blow away anything the Panthers could have dreamed of.
UPDATE! - Fraser Davidson has updated his update of the update: