Dissecting the New Super Bowl Logo

The new branding is mean and bold, befitting of the nation’s manliest past time.

Super Bowl XLIV! The ads seem like they’re gonna be only meh. So let’s move on to another, crucial piece of the design: The branding itself.

Super bowl XLIV

This year, the logo was designed by Attik, which sent the following explanation to Brand New:

One mandatory from the NFL was that they wanted the logo to be more
representative of the power and boldness of football as opposed to
overtly representing the host city, like it had done in the past. Our
response was to allow the city’s personality to come through the
system’s color palette and support graphics.

The theme of the 2009 regular season was “Own the Moment,” and we used
that powerful mindset to develop the creative foundation for the
identity. This foundation was the idea of a strong competitive duality;
the Super Bowl is two teams, from two conferences fighting for that
ultimate victory. The design reflects this by having a bold sense of
symmetry and the upright / ball lockup provides a central, relevant
focal point.

As Brand New points out, this is actually the first time that the goal-posts have appeared in a Super Bowl logo, presumably because it’s so obvious. But hey, this is the Super Bowl, not a Dutch fashion brand. Sometimes obvious works:


I’m not entirely convinced by the goal post but I think it’s one of
those concepts that is so obvious most people simply avoid it and,
well, sometimes you shouldn’t avoid the obvious. Since the goal post is
secondary to the typography, it works well in this context.

But backing up a bit, let’s check out the schematic that Attik produced, explaining the overall design:

Super bowl XLIV

The whole oppositional thing could have come through clearer–the logo instead looks like the corner of a very big building. But still, doesn’t the thing look pretty tough, compared to past logos? I mean, just look at this poncey logo for XLIII:

Super bowl

That thing looks only too eager to prove its manliness with the outsize “XLIII,” to make up for the swoopy, starry touches and the adolescent, George of the Jungle type. By contrast, the new logo is RARRRRR! Only fitting for a Super Bowl so committed to conservative values and wary of any taint of homosexuality.


About the author

Cliff was director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.