Super Bowl logo history and the design philosophy representing Phoenix’s fourth (2024)

Super Bowl logo history and the design philosophy representing Phoenix’s fourth (1)

The logo for the 2023 Super Bowl stands in Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix, representing Arizona’s fourth Super Bowl with a bright desert landscape. (Photo by Drake Presto/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX – On Jan. 12, 1969, Lamar Hunt won in two significant ways: when his American Football League’s New York Jets upset the National Football League’s Baltimore Colts in the game that officially would be referred to as the “Super Bowl” for the first time.

With the name came a need for a representation of it, something to put on media guides, advertisem*nts and beyond.

The first design principle of the naming of the games and their logos came from Hunt himself when he insisted that Roman numerals dignified the event. This change would also be applied to the previous games, which were renamed “Super Bowl I” and “Super Bowl II” retroactively.

The logos took on a simple look for the Super Bowls of the 1960s and ‘70s, with a simple pair of colors and fonts reminiscent of what one might find in the depths of a modern copy of Microsoft Word’s dropdown menu.

Super Bowl logo history and the design philosophy representing Phoenix’s fourth (2)
With the ’80s came an era of expanded creative liberty from the NFL, as the logos took on a new approach of putting Hunt’s Roman numerals front and center, with some additional design flair added that was previously missing (with the notable exceptions of the 1981 and 1982 Super Bowls).

Super Bowl logo history and the design philosophy representing Phoenix’s fourth (3)
The new branding for the NFL’s premier game was more prominently displayed at both 35-yard lines between the hash marks starting with the 1980 Super Bowl, the first to actually feature the widely accepted logo. The previous four Super Bowls featured designs in the same positions, however they were simple, containing only the event’s namesake and the appropriate Roman numerals over a silhouette of the NFL shield.

From 1983 to 1993, the Super Bowl logo took on only three constants: The Roman numerals, the “Super Bowl” name and a patriotic trio of red, white and blue. Each logo had its own outline and character, something that separated it from the year before and the year to come, with the notable exception of a fresh color palette.

Super Bowl logo history and the design philosophy representing Phoenix’s fourth (4)
During much of this period, it was not the NFL doing the actual work designing the logos, but firms and artists creating memorable logos that would immortalize their work in the history books of the biggest annual sporting event in the United States.

Todd Radom, designer of the 2004 Super Bowl logo, still views it as his favorite gig almost 20 years later. That sentiment is not insignificant coming from Radom, who has worked directly with several leagues, teams and organizations. His designs include the logos for several MLB all-star games, the Anaheim Angels, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the 2009 NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix.

Radom’s creation, made for the Houston-based Super Bowl, paid homage to the “Space City” through its Astros-adjacent colors, the ringed planet shape and “Super Bowl” being depicted in a font mimicking that of NASA’s.

Super Bowl logo history and the design philosophy representing Phoenix’s fourth (5)
Radom was also involved in the creation of the logo for the following Super Bowl in 2005, which depicts the Main Street Bridge of Jacksonville, Florida, one of the very final Super Bowl icons to display the host city through more than just a silhouette of the game’s stadium.

Super Bowl logo history and the design philosophy representing Phoenix’s fourth (6)
Two years later, the 2008 Super Bowl saw the undefeated New England Patriots fall to Eli Manning and the underdog New York Giants at State Farm Stadium (then University of Phoenix Stadium) in Arizona’s second Super Bowl, headlined by one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history. The game was represented by a logo that left no question regarding the location of the game, with desert red and orange acting as the most prominent part of the logo underneath a turquoise “XLII.”

The following two years produced logos that had themes and color schemes, but failed to allude to much beyond the concept of football itself, with 2009’s logo depicting “Super Bowl XLIII” atop a football field, and 2010’s utilizing a football going through goalposts as its centerpiece between the ‘L’ and ‘I’.

“Once we got into (Super Bowl 40), you can see they’re starting to play with the idea of a standardized look. Starting with 40, it’s the same font for the Super Bowl every year, there’s a red and a blue star every year,” Creamer said.

Then the Lombardi arrived. And with it, a modern, corporate and silver rendition of the “Midas touch.”

In 2011, the NFL elected for standardization over creativity, changing the Super Bowl logo into a predictable affair. The logos from 2011 to 2015 featured the Lombardi Trophy above all, shadowed by an all-silver depiction of the host stadium over the name “Super Bowl” and the appropriate Roman numerals. This includes Arizona’s most recent Super Bowl, the only one not depicted with some combination of red and turquoise.

Super Bowl logo history and the design philosophy representing Phoenix’s fourth (7)

Super Bowl logo history and the design philosophy representing Phoenix’s fourth (8)

“Comparing the last two Super Bowl logos to 45 through 55, it’s night and day better,” Creamer said. “What they’re doing now, it’s still not perfect, but I would call it an ideal compromise between what the NFL clearly wants, which is a standardized logo that is exactly the same from year to year … to what the fans really want: for each Super Bowl to have its own identity.”

The NFL is not alone in its design shift over the past several decades. It may be that digital media and the growth of the smartphone have heavily influenced a worldwide shift to a more simplified look.

“You get into the ‘80s and ‘90s when digital technology starts coming in and teams can start adding gradients and they can start sublimating things and the number one focus is, ‘We can actually sell merchandise with this stuff on it and make a lot of money,’” Creamer said of the shift. “You look at the 2010s and 2020s and where logos are presented the most now, and that is on a digital cell phone screen … A nice simplified logo that can fit into a profile photo, and you’ll notice that a lot of detail gets stripped away.”

Creamer has already begun coverage of next year’s logo, which will likely keep consistent with the 2022 and 2023 Super Bowls. For football fans around the world, especially those in the Valley, the logo will be front and center leading up to the big game, one that reflects their community.

Super Bowl logo history and the design philosophy representing Phoenix’s fourth (2024)


Who designed the Super Bowl logo? ›

The artist who created our new logo, Tahj Williams, is the queen of her Black Masking Indian tribe in New Orleans, the home of Super Bowl LIX. New Orleans was actually supposed to host Super Bowl LVIII this year, but the city had to give up hosting duties after the NFL added an extra week to the schedule in 2021.

Why did the Super Bowl logo change? ›

There is no specific reason as to why the NFL created its logo with purple and red this season. Since Super Bowl 56, the NFL decided to add additional colors to the logo of the game. Previously, it was just the Lombardi Trophy and the Super Bowl roman numerals in grey, with a different color on the bottom.

What do the colors of the Super Bowl logo mean? ›

(The Los Angeles team won 23-20 that year). The 2023 Super Bowl logo featured hues of green and red, both of which reflected the colors of the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs who played against each other in the Big Game. (The Kansas City team won 38-35 that year).

What color is the Super Bowl logo 2024? ›

For this season's Super Bowl – LVIII which will be played in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 11 – the logo is purple and red.

Why is Super Bowl logo purple and red? ›

This season, the Super Bowl 58 logo is purple and red. Those are the home colours of the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers. Both clubs will play in this weekend's Conference Championship round. If they win, they will play at Super Bowl 58.

Who owns the Super Bowl name? ›

That's because the National Football League (NFL) trademarked the phrase “Super Bowl” back in 1969. The NFL considers any commercial activity that uses the term “Super Bowl” to be in violation.

How did Super Bowl get its name? ›

Hunt had jokingly called the AFL-NFL Championship Game the Super Bowl, noting at the time that it was a name "which obviously can be improved upon." He later acknowledged that name likely popped in his head because his children had been playing with a "Super Ball" toy.

What was Super Bowl originally called? ›

It was originally called the AFL–NFL World Championship Game until the "Super Bowl" moniker was adopted in 1969's Super Bowl III. The first four Super Bowls from 1967 to 1970 were played prior to the merger, with the NFL and AFL each winning two.

Did the Super Bowl logo change? ›

While high viewership remains relatively constant, one part of the title game that's changed in recent years is the Super Bowl logo. Since Super Bowl LVI in 2022, the NFL's updated its graphics for the title game each season. It's even inspired a conspiracy theory about the matchup for the title game.

Who is in 2024 Super Bowl? ›

Here are highlights from the big game. The Kansas City Chiefs overcame a 10-point deficit to become the first back-to-back Super Bowl champion in two decades as they defeated the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 in overtime in Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas.

What did the Super Bowl logo look like last year? ›

As for last year's Super Bowl, the logo was green (Eagles) and red (Chiefs). With that in mind, many were paying particular attention year's Super Bowl logo which sports red and purple.

Who will win the Super Bowl in 2024? ›

San Fransisco 49ers

What color is Super Bowl 56? ›

Super Bowl 53 (2019): Blue. Super Bowl 54 (2020): Orange. Super Bowl 55 (2021): Blue. Super Bowl 56 (2022): Blue.

What color is the Super Bowl Gatorade? ›

2021 Super Bowl: Blue Gatorade

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians was doused in blue after the team's win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Tampa Bay, Florida.

Who designed the Super Bowl ring? ›

The most recent ring, awarded to the Chiefs in 2023 and also designed by Jostens, features 613 diamonds totaling 16.1 carats. It also has 35 genuine custom-cut rubies. What they're made of: The only NFL requirement for the rings is that the Super Bowl logo be incorporated into the design.

Who designed the Super Bowl set? ›

Bruce Rodgers is the veteran Super Bowl production designer who masterminded the design to be able to appear within eight minutes and disappear within six minutes, an immense challenge requiring military precision and crew choreography. The setup is, in fact, a show in its own right.

Who designed the Super Bowl trophy? ›

The coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy has been designed by Tiffany & Co. since the first Super Bowl in 1967. The Super Bowl trophies have been crafted in Tiffany's hollowware workshop in Cumberland, Rhode Island.

Who designed the original Patriots logo? ›

Phil Bissell, a former cartoonist who is now 88-years-old, designed Pat Patriot in 1960 for the Boston Globe. After a contest to name the new AFL football team resulted in the Boston Patriots, Bissell's creation appeared in the paper the next day, Patriots Day.

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