Cleveland Browns New Logo 2015 Branding: William Beachy of Go Media Weighs In

Cleveland Browns New Logo 2015 Branding

Our recent post, “New” Browns Logo Leaves Cleveland Graphic Designers Deflated” collects expert advice from local authorities on the matter including our own William Beachy, president of Cleveland Design Firm Go Media, designer, brand expert and sports enthusiast.

William’s full interview is included below. Enjoy and be sure to catch the full story, featuring fellow experts Wilson Revehl, Chris Comella, Todd Radom, Aaron Sechrist and Julia Briggs here.

Interview with William Beachy 

The new Cleveland Browns logo design has been harshly derided in some circles for being underwhelming or, as some have put it, “just oranger.” Do you think that kind of criticism is fair or unfair? If so, why?

I think the criticism is appropriate. The Browns need to learn a little showmanship. The way they presented the changes was quite underwhelming. The icon of the helmet is BORING. They aren’t even using a modern helmet design with slick angular ear and vent holes or a fancy face mask. If I was going to roll out the new Browns brand, I’d show athletes in full uniform in dramatic lighting. At Go Media we present our brand ideas in context. Show me that logo on a flag, in the stadium, under the Monday night lights with cheering crowds in the background!

The team has stated the goals were to “honor tradition and provide a modern edge,” partially by incorporating a move from the traditional block lettering to a “cleaner, simpler, elegant” font and making the helmet “brighter and richer to match the passions of our fans.” Do you think those goals were accomplished?

Well, they’re certainly honoring the past. And yes, I think the new font is a natural progression from a more collegiate serif font to a strong clean modern look.

The Browns are currently the only NFL team whose primary logo is a helmet. Do you think there is value in that, or do you think there could have been a benefit to pushing beyond that “traditional” image?

I like tradition. And I think, Cleveland being a no-nonsense, blue-collar working man’s town can strangely identify with a logoless team brand. We may not look fancy, but we’re going to humbly show up to work every day and do our job. (Translation: We’re going to kick your ass and skip the post touchdown celebration dances.) Unfortunately, when your team isn’t winning, a boring brand is just adding insult to injury – it’s not a badge of honor to be worn, it’s a mark of shame.

In what ways do you think the team would have benefited from a more daring design change?

How you dress can affect the way you feel about yourself. Back when I had hair, I always felt much better about myself after a fresh haircut. And when you’re feeling better, you’ll probably perform a little better. I’m not suggesting a fancy uniform can turn a loser into a winner, but sometimes it can help – even if just a little.

Had the team gone for a more adventurous approach, what kind of elements could/should the designers have incorporated?

I’m not sure that we’ve even seen the complete redesign yet. All we’ve seen is a logo, color and typeface. So much of a team’s brand is in the complete uniform – what does the striping look like? Brown pants or white? What types of materials are being used? Do they have subtle patterns on them? What about the helmet? If it made with a matte finish paint like some colleges are using? Even within the constraints of Cleveland’s traditional brand aesthetics, there is a lot of room to create a bad-ass design. Personally, I would have loved to see the stripe on the helmet get much thicker. In 2012, The Ohio State Buckeyes had a special uniform with an extra wide metallic helmet stripe, and it looked awesome. This is a good example of how you can take the boring traditional and spice it up with color, material, texture, and design etc.

Is there anything about the new logo that “works”? If so, explain.

Nothing in particular is amazing or different or better… It’s just kind of the same thing.

Do you think this logo design change was ultimately the best decision for the team in this case?

Football is entertainment. And if you’re going to be an effective entertainer over the long haul, you’ve got to embrace reinvention. The NFL changes their marketing, logos, rules, etc. constantly. As an NFL team the Browns also need to constantly reinvent themselves. Ya gotta make it fresh! In my opinion, this was an okay step in the right direction, but certainly I would have gone further with it and presented it with a little more glitz and glam!

Is there anything you would have done differently if you had tackled this project?
I would have hired Go Media. ;)

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