Saturday, 15 November 2008

Logo Meaning: Trail Blazers Logo

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Harry Glickman’s cousin, Frank Glickman, of Boston, Massachusetts, designed the original logo, consisting of a straight up and down pinwheel with black on the top and red on the bottom.


It’s meaning is simple: a modern graphic interpretation of the game of basketball, five players from one side playing against five players from another.

In 1992, the Blazers changed from the lowercase typography to a bold, uppercase typeface, adding a dimension to the word mark and tilting the pinwheel, an affectionate name that evolved with fans and media, forty-five degrees to signify motion of the game.

This most recent change adds silver and a black background, tapers the ends of the logo, and moves the red back to the bottom of the pinwheel, as it initially appeared in 1970. This gives the logo a three-dimensional appearance, better matching the typeface. The typeface is also changing, adding a trailing serif to the letters, signifying motion.


In addition to updating the logo, the Blazers are adding a secondary mark to the team’s identity. This secondary mark makes the Blazers the twenty-second team in the NBA to add a secondary logo as a part of its graphic identity. The Blazers are asking fans to submit names on Blazers.com to give fans the opportunity to don the secondary mark with its official name in late June 2002.

Both the updated logo and secondary mark were designed by Portland native Steve Sandstrom of Sandstrom Design.

On February 24, 1970, just two weeks after Portland was granted an expansion franchise by the NBA Board of Governors, Harry Glickman announced a public name the team contest. A panel of judges was selected and the public was invited to mail entries to the team’s offices. Fans submitted more than 10,000 entries; the most popular was not Trail Blazers, but Pioneers. One of the rules of the contest ruled that name out because team nicknames of any Northwest colleges would not be considered, and Pioneers is the nickname for Portland’s Lewis and Clark College.


One hundred seventy-two people submitted the name Trail Blazers, and the panel of judges ultimately selected that name. The name was announced at the half time of the March 13 Seattle vs. New York game in front of 11,035, and it was met with mixed reaction.

Glickman made it clear at the time that the team’s official name, Portland Trail Blazers, was three words, and that the team’s nickname should be Blazers. Within a few years, the team’s name became a household word, as the team won the NBA World Championship in 1977.

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