Brand Evolution in our Backyard

Grady Britton opened in Portland in 1974. The Portland Trail Blazers won their first (let’s not talk about how it’s the only) NBA championship in 1977. Both have been running and gunning ever since.

We can even see each other’s offices during the work day.

So it’s natural that when the Blazers changed up their branding – something fully in our wheelhouse – we sat up and took notice.

Changing branding, logos and all that comes with it can seem like a daunting task – trust us, we’ve heard it from a nervous client or two. But the Trail Blazers gave us a great example of how brands can evolve their visual language without losing their core values, or alienating their most loyal fans.

Earlier this week, the team released their new logos for the ‘17-18 season. Along with the release of merch and updating the website, they made an easy to understand website that walked fans through the evolution of the brand. It’s slick yet simple, engaging yet lets you nerd out on the details (even down to PMS color swatches). It’s a great example of how to tell a deeper story about your brand and organization through what appears to be just a simple logo rollout.

So, what can brands looking to evolve learn from this rollout?

  1. By all means, honor your heritage, but don’t be afraid to Marie Kondo-ify the elements that are no longer working for you (see ya, early 2000’s gradient)
  2. Embrace the process – don’t just think about what the logo looks like, but what each element stands for. Can you connect each part of the logo back to a core value? You should.
  3. Share the process (but with control) – this wasn’t a crowdsourced, public submission, vote-by-hashtag process. It was handled carefully by people who think about these tiny details and meanings, and have deep knowledge of the brand (see points 1 and 2). But once it was done, the Blazers walked the public through each decision, where it came from, and how it honored the legacy and aspirations of the organization.
  4. Have a roll out plan – by the time this (mesmerizing) gif of the logo evolution was made public, the team had the website updated, synchronized their social accounts, and even had merch ready. And, the way that they set up the gif and the microsite made it easy for the media to pick up the story and run with it.

There’s a whole slew of basketball puns we could make to close this out, but let’s just leave it at this: we think this new logo is a slam dunk.


Post Date
May 12, 2017
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