Love your team but hate its logo? Thomas McLaughlin may have a fix. He spent three months merging the current and historic logos from NBA teams. A recent high school graduate and basketball superfan from South Bend, Indiana, McLaughlin says the project is all for fun. “I started this during spring break when no one was in town,” he says. “I was just trying to find something to do that wasn’t about school.”
Changing a team’s logo might be as polarizing as trading a star player. After all, it’s emblazoned on jerseys, merch, and pretty much everything else that stands in for a team. Say you miss the goofy Fort Wayne Pistons logo, but want to support the Detroit team. Or dig the Toronto Huskies font, but like the Raptors mascot. Or you just want to relive the past glory of a championship team that’s faltered in recent days. McLaughlin’s remixed logos may soothe the sting, as colors, typography, and mascots from the past are mixed with the present.
Modern logos aren’t without their own nostalgic notes. Take the Golden State Warriors 2010 rebrand. The design riffs on the silhouette of the recently built Bay Bridge (opened in 2013) cropped into a circle (from a 1966 design) with the “Golden State” text wrapping over the top (like the 1971 logo). Gone are all traces of the 1997 logo, which featured a graphic of a warrior holding a lightning bolt rendered in a brash gradient. Throwback jerseys sold so well that the franchise rightly capitalized on the popularity of the old logo with the new design, much to the chagrin of some. (For the record, we think the current Warriors logo is a perfect match for its winning record this past season.) McLaughlin has his own interpretation, too—keep the 2010 form, but substitute the 1997 warrior form for the bridge. While this was the first logo he created, McLaughlin loves what the team has going in the design department. “It’s the nicest logo in the NBA right now,” he says. “In the ’90s, everything was really cartoony. Now everything is becoming sharper and more styled.”