Cleveland Browns Branding: Julia Briggs of Blue Star Design Weighs In

Updated Cleveland Browns Branding

Our recent post, “New” Browns Logo Leaves Cleveland Graphic Designers Deflated” collected expert advice from local authorities on the matter including Julia Briggs, CEO and creative lead at Cleveland design firm, Blue Star. Julia is responsible for logo development for Ohio Lottery: Keno; Classic Lotto; Pick 3, 4 and 5, and more, Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland and the State of Ohio: Red Treehouse, Dwellworks, and more.

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

Cleveland Browns Branding Interview with Julia Briggs

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 unfair?

I do think it is fair criticism at this point because the Browns set themselves up for this issue. Regardless of whether the new look is good or bad, the execution of the project and reveal wasn’t done well at all…and that is too is part of the organization’s brand. Brand doesn’t just stop with the logo and color way.

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

The logo isn’t bad – because ultimately it’s the same logo we’ve had for — forever. So I can’t really say it doesn’t work.

I do credit the Browns organization for taking care to listen to the fans who asked them to push the look and feel forward while respecting the tradition — with a lot of emphasis on NOT changing the helmet.

But then there comes that moment where you stop listening and call on experts to help make the right decision. There’s that quote by Henry Ford — “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

I wonder how Henry Ford would have handled the logo change for the Cleveland Browns.

Is there anything you would have done differently if you had tackled this project?

I wouldn’t have announced this reveal as a new logo. I would have had my PR team announce it as a refresh or an update. Using the term NEW LOGO sets up the expectation that you will be releasing a NEW LOGO.

You will always have a group of people who won’t like the change regardless, because change is hard. However, now the Browns have a group of people who don’t like the change AND another group of people who are dumbfounded by the lack of change. That’s a lot of disappointed people.

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

Personally, I believe change and trying to grow and stay relevant is always good.

But my in this case, my concern is that Cleveland will have to live with this new change for five years. NFL rules state: Once a team does change their logo they are under the NFL’s five-year rule which prohibits any other uniform changes for the first five years after an initial change.

Someone in this town had the opportunity in their hands to make a bigger impact and couldn’t make it happen – again. I think that’s what this Logo Change represents to Clevelanders today.

Anything to add?

It’s moments like these that make me cringe. The design agency tapped to do this work is at the mercy of the people who cut their check. But they get to go down with the sinking ship — when and if the ship sinks. The public may see it as a lot of time and money spent on little return. And then the rest of the design community gets tethered to that ship, too, by association.

Let’s hope the Cavs win the NBA championship this year and we can just forget about this whole fiasco. For more Browns branding info, be sure to check out other interviews by our Cleveland graphic design team!

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