Sports Can Be Artistic Too: The Art Behind Sports Logos

Sports are an essential part of our day-to-day experience. Even if you don’t like sports, you can’t help but hear others talking about them. They play a huge role in the media we consume and are a source of enjoyment and pride for millions of people all over the world. Sporting events like the Super Bowl, the World Cup, and the Olympics are some of the most watched and followed affairs of the year. Yet there is one aspect of our lives that sports don’t really touch: art.

From an early age, a distinction is drawn between those who like art and those who play sports. One is considered a more personal and introspective activity, while the other is portrayed as more interdependent and extroverted. As we become older, this gap grows wider and wider until both parties are completely incompatible with one another.

However, one glance at the multitude of sports logos out there is enough to convince us that the distinctions made between sports and art are unfounded. To simply see logos as commercial brands concerned only with the sell of merchandise is to miss the true spirit of sports. A great logo not only brands a team, it encompasses its whole history. They are symbols for everything the team has lost and accomplished over its long history. Consider the intertwined “N” and “Y” made famous by the New York Yankees. This is by far one of the most recognizable images in all of sports, not because of the success of its team, but because its simple aesthetic captured the soul of an entire enterprise.

In a way, sports logos are the bridge between sports and the arts. After all, they share many similarities with the art you see in museums and private galleries. They not only have to conform to the goals of their franchises and benefactors, but they have to capture the interest and imagination of their highly critical fans. Both traditional pieces of arts and sports logos strive to achieve that special, universal quality that will immortalize them for future generations. As Todd Radom, a graphic designer responsible for many American sports logos, put it in an interview at “sports logos are utilized in a staggering variety of ways, and need to be constructed in such a way that they can translate seamlessly across every conceivable platform.”

So the next time you’re watching a football game or sending your kid off to Little League, take a moment to appreciate the incredible amount of work and artistry that goes into them. And if you want to learn more about sports logo art and test your knowledge on it, try this game on for size.

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