Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What's in a Logo?

If you are reading this, then you have probably already heard that the new logo has leaked out. Given how good the Dolphins are about keeping things quiet (Interest in Mike Wallace, Manning, Harbaugh... there is no point in even going on. Suffice to say they leak everything) it was not surprising to find out the new logo leaked a month early and the Dolphins officials have now confirmed it.

Before I go into how I feel about the logo, let's take a stroll down memory lane.

I've always lumped the first three logos together, because they are all pretty much the same. This was the logo I grew up with since I moved to South Florida in 1992 (3rd Grade).This logo with a dolphin wearing a logo is kind of silly, but having a dolphin as a mascot in general is also kind of silly. The whole logo and color scheme was all a little silly, but to me it always represented the weirdness of South Florida. South Florida is an incredibly weird place and if you grew up there like I did, you don't really fully appreciate how weird until you leave. If you haven't noticed from reading this blog, I am also very weird and I love South Florida in all it's weirdness. To me, that logo was a perfect representation of the city it represented.

Sadly, all of this goodness came to an end in 1997. I'm not going to lie and say I know anything about the history of what led to the decision to change the logo, but I do remember what 1997 was like. 1997 was a year when everything was getting obnoxiously more "extreme". Surge soda was on the shelves, X-Games was on the TV, The Prodigy was on the radio and every company in America was asking "How can we make our oatmeal seem more extreme?". 

In 1997, someone in Davie got the bright idea to change the logo from what it had been since 1966 to the strangely pissed off cartoon dolphin it's been ever since. This was a dolphin and he still had a sunburst around him, but now he had an an extreme attitude. He was still wearing a helmet, but probably just because they required it at the skatepark when he stopped by to lay down some 900s. 

When you choose a dolphin as your mascot and you choose team colors of aqua and orange, you are accepting that any intimidation your team has will have to be established on the field through their play. Much like Jaws ruined the reputations of all non-dangerous sharks, so too did Flipper ruin the street cred of all the tough badass dolphins. Dolphins can be scary animals. I even have a joke about how they can commit the act of rape (It's the last joke in the video), but try as you might, people will never accept dolphins as scary animals. That was always my biggest problem with that logo was that by changing the logo to this "scarier" dolphin, it seemed like the Dolphins were trying to be something they weren't. Whether it's your fat friend buying skinny jeans or your dad deciding to become a biker and get his first tattoo in his late 40's, there is something painfully unappealing about someone trying to be something they're not.

This terrible logo is one of the reasons I have given hundreds of dollars to Mitchell & Ness so I can wear Dolphins apparel with the old logo instead of the 1997 one. Obviously I have a ton of stuff including jerseys with the newer logo (I just got a Tannehill jersey a couple months ago. Damn you Dolphins for changing the logo now!), but I never really liked it as much as I preferred the original. In fact, the whole reason I made my logo for this site the way I did was to parody that logo.

So given that backdrop, obviously I'm not all torn up that the Dolphins have decided to change the logo. There are a few things I like about the new logo. I like that the design is cleaner and that they did away with the dumb angry facial expression which is good. But where is the helmet? Is a dolphin without a helmet really that much less silly that one with a helmet? That is what bugs me the most about the new logo is that it is completely devoid of any character. While the last logo had character in a very bad way, the new logo has none at all. Even the pose of the dolphin seems to be meaningless. He's just swimming around, as if he didn't know they were going to take his photo or something. The last two logos were a dolphin swimming through a hoop, which dolphins do, except for this bland boring dolphin, he's just hanging out.

To me, this new logo also represents the Dolphins again trying to be something they're not. It seems like they are trying to divorce themselves from this silliness inherent to having a football team with a dolphin mascot by sterilizing out all of the character. Having these colors and this mascot with a helmet is a little quirky and to some people it will always be a punchline. To me that quirkiness is something I've always loved about this team. When you walk around New York or any city for that matter, when you see people wearing Dolphins gear, it's because they actually love the team (Except for the rare hipster who may be wearing it to be ironic. God I hate those people...). It's not like the Yankees or Cowboys where you wear the hat because it happens to go with your outfit. The only thing aqua and orange matches with is more aqua and orange!!! And white... And grey. And maybe navy.. but not much else!!!! Obviously, those colors are staying the same, but I'm not crazy about them making the logo so sterile. I like my Dolphins logo the way I like my South Florida; a little bit weird.

P.S. I also made this with the new logo. I'm not going to get into politics, but if you like this, awesome.


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