As an avid fans of anything football we can’t help but be completely enthralled with the creative side of all levels of programs from Pop-Warner/Midget league, all the way up through the professional levels of football. The look and feel of the uniforms, the logos, the overall branding of each team and the league, and conferences they compete under have always been points of interest. Not only has it lead to giving a fanbase an identity of both color and shape, but it has significantly impacted entire cityscapes all over the world as a result. Before the Packers were in Green Bay the colors green and mustard yellow may not have been on people’s minds. But today it is the palette by which and entire community revolves around. Purple Fridays are a community rally point in the Baltimore Ravens‘ organization and the entire city and its schools are awash in purple as a result.
So once we learned that there was a new feeder league coming out this spring for the NFL called the Alliance of American Football or AAF for short, our thoughts immediately went to “what is this going to look like from a branding standpoint?” With teams nicknamed the Fleet, Legends, and Apollos, there seemed to be some room for major mishaps in how they handled their branding. We have seen mishaps in the past with other pro leagues where the mark was missed by confusing branding, busy logos, and overall looks that just confused more than solidified their identity.
The new AAF truly knocked out of the park on their initial run. They chose identities for each program that would resonate to their local potential fans base. The used unique logos for each team that are both simple and yet complex in their meaning. They opted for colors that would depict both the mascot and the community perfectly, and they chose elements that have been held proudly by the cities they represent. Long forgotten are images of the “Memphis Maniax” and the “Orlando Rage” with nonsense names and neon colors. The AAF has chosen names like the Arizona Hotshots paying homage to the brave firefighters who risk their lives trying to tamp out wildfires, or the San Antonio Commanders giving a hat-tip to the historic battle of the Alamo. Their logos are clean lines, coupled with specific colors that enable them to be recognized and emit emotion in those who follow their teams.
The season just wrapped up its second week of play and it has be well-received by the fans. As designers we are so happy to see a fresh, directed approach to these logos and brands as opposed to the silly things that tend to pop up in minor league sports in order to sell tickets. Bravo AAF!