This being my first sports blog post, you may not know that my favorite mascot, team color, and logo set of all time was that of the old Charlotte Hornets. I remember being mailed Hornets gear (Including the heralded Starter Jacket) by my grandmother long before I knew anything about basketball besides the fact of the Bulls being the greatest. That purple and teal kit, the hive pattern, the insect; it was all unlike anything else in pro sports. I loved it then and I love it now. Thus, I could not be more excited about the Hornets name coming back to Charlotte.
Like most, I would have loved if the powers that be just brought back the pinstripes and scowling Hugo logo with his motion lines. Unfortunately and expectedly, this was never to be. The awfully-domained announcement site, backbuzzcity.com, claims something about NBA rules preventing that return. One can only assume it is a rule against style and merchandise sales. Regardless, the Hornets Redux will have a new logo set. And after two pointless paragraphs of introduction, I’m going to briefly review those new logos.
The best thing about this logo is that it retained the original Hornet colors. The purple, teal, and white are Charlotte: it defines this city. If you live here, you see these colors everywhere and on every city project. So, yeah, good work on that.
Beyond the colors, though, I’m not crazy about this. If you look at it for just a couple of seconds, close your eyes, and never look at it again, you’ll probably think, “Hey, that looked pretty cool.” Then you might think some more about it and wonder if it was maybe metallic. It sure was sharp, right? You might think on that for awhile until it becomes an amalgam of knives vaguely stabbing in all directions of the compass. At this point, you would have to look at it again. Then you’d realize that it is essentially just such an amalgam.
It’s not a bad or ugly logo. It is just amorphous and very predictable. There is nothing to be drawn on a kid’s notebook here. This is a corporate two-color logo for corporate seminars. There isn’t anything fun about this hornet. He is a wasp of the banking industry with serious things on his mind. Also, most concerning, this hornet has a basketball for an abdomen.
The typeface is good. It is exactly the typeface we all knew it was going to be before seeing it.
I’m not totally sure what these logos are for. The FAQ says it will be used for mascot branding. I’m no real expert on sports mascotry, but I’m fairly certain that they typically are the brand of the organization in many respects. Whatever these will be used for (Hugo wearing himself on his own shirt?), I like them the best of all of the new designs.
This is just an updated version of the old, treasured primary logo. It is a common ground between the old and new. The weird, new basketball abdomen is there, and is still disturbing. But the design is much more rounded and this hornet wears shoes and gloves. He is anthropomorphized like the old hornet. That is what makes this a more successful design than the primary. There is something to this design beyond pointy lines; it is a proper team logo and not just a modern-looking shape.
It’s strange that he is smiling. The FAQ states that this smile is kept from the old Hugo logo, but that’s just not true. Old Hugo scowled or grimaced like he was mocking Jerry Richardson. In this case, I do like the smile better than the scowl. It just seems to work. This logo makes me think of my city. I wish they had made it the primary, and would like to see it with the city and name incorporated into it.
You know those lamps that have three or four lights on them? The ones that you have to turn on individually and you had in or around your college dorm? These 5 logos are the lights from those lamps that never got switched on. You knew they were there and saw them, but you never used them or cared if they went out.
Buzz City and the alternate primary design are kind of frivolous and I can’t see a future for them. The Charlotte crown logo is cool and I’d buy a shirt with it. However, it is pretty municipal to be a highly used logo; maybe it will show up on the shorts, though.
Of this group, we’ll probably only see the sideways hornet and the one-color bug in regular play. It is probably just the angle, but the sideways hornet seems to remind everybody of the Sting WNBA logo. The two don’t have much in common empirically, but I have to say I see it too. I did not like the WNBA take on Hugo and I don’t like this. It is my least favorite of the set and I won’t spend any more of my time looking at it or writing about it. Be gone, sideways hornet. Go far away in whatever direction you are looking.
The one-color bug will be useful for third-party designers and will get some play. It is more appealing than the primary logo just because of its simplicity. I would almost rather have this with the “Charlotte Hornets” atop its thorax as a primary logo. It is recognizable as a hornet without all of the over-produced shading and added shapes. I imagine the graphic designer made this first and everything else was added by committee until the designer found himself or herself crying into a box of Food Lion fried chicken. Eventually that designer gave up, took the paycheck, and declared art dead. Or maybe they really liked it, I don’t know. I wasn’t there.
All in all, we could be represented worse. None of these are bad or particularly awful logos. They could be less bland and less predictable, but that’s not the NBA of this decade. It is a brand that has developed to the point that the consumer knows what to expect and pays accordingly. These logos reflect that perfectly. Can’t complain too much – we got our awesome name and colors back and New Orleans got a stupid name and terrifying mascot in return for their thievery. It all works out.