Skip to content

Building a Better Bowl Logo

Screen shot 2012-12-19 at 6.28.50 PM.png

[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry from Bob Li, who’s taken it upon himself to tackle a logo redesign. ”” PL]

By Bob Li

With college bowl season soon now upon us, Shipwreck and Skipper’s recent coverage of all the upcoming bowl games reminded me of how bad some of the bowl logos are. As a graphic designer with a decent amount of spare time on my hands, I decided to take a shot at redesigning some of what I considered to be the more egregious logos. My first project was the Hawai’i Bowl, whose current logo (shown above) is wholly underrealized, considering the incredible venue and locale.

In my revision, I decided to keep the pineapple-football (pineball? footapple?) as the focal point of the design, since it is the trophy and the endgame of the Hawai’i Bowl. I also followed the rustic art style, but took it further. You can compare the old and new designs here (click to enlarge):


Every element of the new redesigned logo, other than the football and the Sheraton logo, is made up of only straight lines, to reinforce the rustic and natural feel. I deliberately designed every element so that nothing is symmetrical or perfect. The pineball was turned to a three-quarter view instead of straight-on, to give it a more dynamic visual presence (it has the correct eight laces, but the last one is covered up), and the pineapples were added both to fill up the empty space and to make the logo feel more lush and bountiful, to better reflect the Hawaiian locale where the game is played.

The color scheme in the old logo was a bit too harsh, and not exactly what most people associate with Hawaii, color-wise. I mellowed out the color palette with more soothing and subdued shades that are still very tropical and vibrant, but not as jarring as the original.

Here’s an isolated look at the wordmark, which was completely hand-drawn (click to enlarge):


The wordmark can function independently of the full logo (on a polo shirt, say, or when a horizontal orientation is needed).

For those who don’t care for corporate sponsorship, the Sheraton logo is easily removed from the logo without impacting the overall look and feel (click to enlarge):


The next bowl logo I have my eyes on is the Gildan New Mexico Bowl — full of design possibilities, considering the culture-rich locale, but woefully executed. Stay tuned.

+ + + + +

Raffle reminder: Today’s the last day to enter my annual reader-appreciation raffle. Details here.

+ + + + +

Uni Watch News Ticker: Brilliantly detail-fetishistic observation by Greg Netherwood regarding this Madden 13 shot of Calvin Johnson: “Johnson usually wears a visor, but they removed it for this staged photo, which is fine — but they left the visor’s mounting brackets on. It really bugs me. Couldn’t they have taken the time to undo a few screws and get those unsightly things off of there?” … Interesting article about whether compression garments actually help performance (from Tom Mulgrew). … A well-regarded NASCAR engineer is turning his attention to football helmet design (from Glenn Heck). … And speaking of football helmets, here’s a big article that just ran in Popular Science (from Michael Princip). … You might think that the ubiquitous recycling logo, with the three folding arrows, was the product of a corporate design firm. But it was actually done by a student name Gary Anderson — you can see a quick backgrounder here. I’ve known this for about 15 years (I wrote about the recycling logo in 1997), but I’ve never seen an interview with Anderson or an article about him or by him — until now (big thanks to Kurt Esposito). … Ross Clites coaches baseball at Washington University in St. Louis, and he recently oversaw a redesign of the team’s logos and uniforms. “It’s based on our head coach’s desire to emulate the look of the ‘new’ Blue Jays,” he says. “The completed work is a testament to the fine people at Wilson. We chose them because they allowed us to fully customize the look. Our design would have been boxed in with stock components if we’d gone through Nike, Rawlings, et al. Wilson’s flexibility took whatever I put on paper or in my computer straight to their printers. Our line is one of their most elaborate sublimated products to date. Even as close as five feet away, you would never tell that this jersey does not have depth and texture to its elements. The ‘Bears’ and ‘WASH.U.’ across the chest were both hand-drawn by me, with my new innovation for sublimated uniforms — faux-twill. I drew that appearance of a stitch on each letter.” … “Thursday’s Ticker item on Tom Rafferty reminded me of another Dallas lineman wearing an outdated jersey,” says Lou DeGeorge. “When Mark Stepnoski came back to the team for the 1999-2001 seasons, at some point he started wearing an old, beat-up looking #53 jersey that appeared to be from his previous stint on the team (1989-94). In 1995 the TV numbers on the Cowboys’ white jerseys became considerably thinner than they had been before, but Stepnoski was still wearing the old, thicker TV numbers.” ”¦ Always fun to see any kind of identity style guide. Here’s one for the University of La Verne (from Eric Borer). ”¦ The Minnesota Rangers — that’s a NY Rangers farm team from the 1960s — had a jersey design that probably wouldn’t fly today (from Aaron Scholder). ”¦ Speaking of which, remember last winter’s controversy about whether to include the handgun in the Astros’ Colt .45s throwbacks? Personally, I was 100% in favor of keeping the gun on the jersey, which is how it was eventually resolved. But I wonder how that issue would have played out if it took place this winter, rather than last winter. ”¦ Latest Newtown memorial: The Bridgeport Sound Tigers will wear the victims’ names as their NOBs for their next seven home games (from Jeff Czuba). … Hmmm, very subtle (from Tom Farley). … Interesting jaw-protective mask worn by this AHL player (from Kelby Goodman). … “Team Sweden petitioned the IIHF so they could wear designate their gold/yellow home uniforms as their uniforms for the World Junior Championships tournament,” says John Muir. “No one else wears yellow, so there wouldn’t be any conflict. Tournament officials declined the request.” … Here’s another interview with Sean Kane of Painted Glove Collectibles. … Here’s a weird pairing: Walter Payton — wearing biker shorts — and Phil Collins (from Mark Meeks). ”¦ Jarde Rosen spotted a synagogue in Queens that’s protected by an alarm system that used the old Atlanta Falcons logo. ”¦ Here’s a bunch of fan-created proposed designs for the New Orleans Pelicans (Kurt Esposito again). ”¦ Interesting article on the moral implications of Jesuit colleges wearing camouflage and playing games on aircraft carriers (from Mike Singhurse). ”¦ Real Sociedad is putting fans’ names on their jerseys instead of a corporate sponsor (from Mike Edgerley). ”¦ Here’s a really good soccer site with all sorts of interesting stuff — redesign concepts, stunning infographics, and more. Highly, highly recommended, even if you’re not a soccer fan (from Matt Busch). ”¦ Here’s a new addition to the long list of MLB All-Star Game batting helmet anomalies: In the 1989 ASG, Hal Baines used a helmet with no logo. He probably forgot his own helmet and ended up using an Angels helmet with the logo removed, since the Angels and White Sox had more or less identical helmet shells that year (from Al Cummings). ”¦ The Brits find our college bowl game names very amusing, and who can blame them (from George Chilvers).

Comments (91)

    I love everything Bob did with the Hawai’i Bowl logo. “Underrealized” is exactly the right bottom line for the actual logo, and Bob’s revision nails the goal of realizing the basic vision that the actual logo reaches for.

    But one picayune critique: The diacritical mark between the I’s is called an okina, and should be represented with a single open-quote mark. In Bob’s revised logo, the okina should “lean” the other way. Properly typeset okinas tend to make Hawaiian look like a train wreck of apostrophe catastrophes, but the okina is effectively a letter in the Hawaiian alphabet and should face the correct way even if it looks wrong to an English speaker.

    Good luck pitching the revised logo to Sheraton, whose name goes from being approx. 80% the size of the “Hawaii Bowl” to less than 10%.

    Many jobs are easier if you can ignore the client.

    i thought the exact thing. corporate sponsorship is bowl season.

    i looked at a list of all the bowls, every bowl is now a corporate sponsor bowl. except the rose bowl presented by vizio

    anyway, the revised Sheraton Hawaii Bowl logo looks really good.

    Care also needs to be taken in the realm of the spoken. That apostrophe — by which I mean that diacritical mark more properly known as an okina — signifies a glottal stop, i.e.,”…a speech sound produced by a momentary complete closure of the glottis, followed by an explosive release.” So after you and the Better Half get lei’d in the Visitors Lounge at the Honolulu airport, do try, when referring to the 50th State, to avoid saying huh-WHY-ee. Better to butcher hah-VWHAY-[glottal stop]-ee. You’re welcome.

    BUT SERIOUSLY… I too like Bob’s improved version, and thereby am reminded how many talented graphic designers visit Lukasland. I am in the midst of overseeing the development of a new website and new print products for the DC think-tank at which I work. We want CARTOONS. Any reader of this site who can A) draw pretty well; B) turn things around quickly; C) put up with me and my hyper-bossy tendency to tell you exactly what to depict; and D) charge low rates is welcome to contact me through the magic of electronic mail:

    Fresh, if not ‘delicious’ update of the Hawai’i Bowl logo. Nice use of color. Sadly, Sheraton would likely s#it their pants when seeing this and say “our name needs to be bigger.” Which, of course, would throw off the balance you’ve created.

    But, hey, there is no client in this instance, so A for effort.

    Hi Arr,

    The designer here, thank you for the bit of information regarding the okina. I am not too familiar with the nuances of the Hawaiian language, so your feedback is greatly appreciated.

    I was actually hoping for feedback from UniWatch readers on how I could modify or improve the logo in any way, and changing the okina so that it faces correctly is definitely on the top of my list now.

    On the Washington U baseball unis, I just checked and wash.u.stl is not a functioning Internet URL. Which alone renders the entire design product a failure in my book. The message it sends is, Do not attend Washington U if you intend to seek employment in the 21st Century.

    I just don’t understand why the cap letters and the jersey “StL” aren’t changed to the faux Blue Jays font. It’s kind of a mishmash as is. In addition, if there’s cream in the logo why not go with a cream home uni?

    like all of those Pelicans logos, the sad thing is the team will probably end up using something crappy.

    You’re probably right. I too like about 75% of those logos. They look very professional. Who wants to take a bet that it ends up being some kind of hybrid new school weird looking thing.

    Those are some fantastic logos, or at any rate about 13 of them, and the worst few would still be better than the worst actual NBA logos. But potential problem in our internet age: Won’t the NO Pelicans actively seek to find all such fan creations and avoid close resemblance to any of them? Yes, being the answer, assuming that either the team or the league employs even a single attorney of any competence. So the more good fan logo concepts that appear online, the worse the actual team logo is likely to be.

    100% agreed. They all look hi-gloss, extra fancy & professional and despite this – completely generic and unmemorable.

    If I had to pick one, I’d go with #10, but lose the font & excess graphics, all the beveling & would pick only two colors & keep it flat. Also I would change the head angle so you could see the face/eyes/hat better & have the pelican sitting on the basketball like sitting on a piling.

    Ugh, most of those look like they came out of the same graphic design school. Way too many zig-zags, sharp points, colors, thick outlines, beveling, all computer-assisted that’s too modern without a single hint of hand drawn charm. They look like they were designed for a minor league team.

    Baines has been my favorite player since the day he was called up. I been to tons of games and watched even more on TV, and, I could be wrong, but I dont think I have ever heard him go by “Hal”.

    Agreed. I watched Harold Baines play about 7 seasons for the Orioles and I never heard anyone call him Hal.

    I’m a huge White Sox fan, and began following them as a kid in the early 1980’s. I’ve never once heard “hal baines”

    Just sayin’

    Not saying I know everything about him, I could be wrong.

    “… … The Brits find our college bowl game names very amusing, and who can blame them (from George Chilvers)…”

    The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl — amidst a host of caloric competitors — is a particularly appealing brand.

    “The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl — amidst a host of caloric competitors — is a particularly appealing appalling brand.”



    I call the Hawai’i Bowl logo the Pennsylvania logo. Between the jagged right side of the box, and the pineball covering where Erie would be, that’s all I see when I look at the logo. Is there a Hawai’i, Pennsylvania? No, just Indiana.

    I really like what Bob did with the new logo. I’d probably make the laces half of the pineball look a little less cartoon-ish, but that’s just me. Too bad they’re using the Pennsylvania logo…the red is too much.

    Hi hmich,

    That is already done on my second revision of the logo. The laces weren’t sitting right with me either, so I completely redid them and made them beefier and more realistic. Thanks for the feedback!

    Payton and Collins….. When that photo was taken they were probably both THE biggest names in their fields.

    The jaw protection pic in the ticker is actually from an old ihl game, looks Iike between the Milwaukee admirals and the Atlanta knights.

    That jaw protection was actually quite common in the early 1990s in hockey when players broke their jaws. Pat LaFontaine was probably one of the higher profile players who wore one after his jaw was broken.

    If there’s a bowl season five-and-one, last night’s Poinsettia Bowl is a strong contender for “and-one”. BYU featured several chaps wearing black socks over white socks and the only decent part of SDSU’s kit was the numeral typeface. Too many bumperstickers plus unitard. Yikes.

    They’ve had pants stripes that break it up a bit and they’ve not always worn black socks with black pants. Heck a red stripe on the socks would have been a big upgrade.

    I may have missed this from the discussions earlier this week, but I caught how RGIII was fined $10k for wearing unauthorized apparel (Adidas) to a press conference. Not that he’s completely without blame, he’s practicing the same type of corporate promotion by accepting endorsement money, so it’s not like he’s just a guy fined for wearing something he liked.

    That Minnesota Rangers’ jersey was one snappy sweater. But it begs an interesting question: Is one of the things we appreciate about vintage apparel the guileless way it represents subjects we now find inappropriate? I find myself wishing I’d bought one of those Urban Outfitters’ t-shirts with the tacky Chinese takeout characters. Maybe not to wear, but to cherish and love at home.

    Not gonna lie – I wear my NY Islanders Satan jersey into work on casual days. People sometimes scrunch their faces up about my “questionable” shirt choice, but most of the bosses accept it now because I proved that Miroslav Satan is an actual hockey player and wore his name on the back of the jersey.

    For me, I know I’m not wearing something inappropriate despite me wearing it at work to evoke those feelings from the uneducated.

    Is one of the things we appreciate about vintage apparel the guileless way it represents subjects we now find inappropriate?

    I think that’s a more narrow aspect of a larger phenomenon, namely that nostalgia often appeals to us because of its seeming innocence or lack of sophistication. Like, “Aw, isn’t that cute, look how stupid they were back then.” And in the process, we get to enjoy the cheap, secret thrill of enjoying something we wouldn’t ordinarily get to enjoy.

    I’m sure there’s some of this, though personally I think my “secret thrill” relationship with vintage stuff has mainly to do with alcohol. Most tiki drinks aren’t actually all that awesome, but where else can you dress like that, behave like a total louche, and drink booze with either that quantity or color without someone getting all judgy on you? So there’s that. But with vintage unis and ties and hats and the like (music!), for me it’s more about different aesthetics. Let’s not kid ourselves: We are not, in the main, any more sophisticated or smart than our grandparents. They knew what they were doing; they just had different tastes. Tastes often closer to my own than anything that’s popular today.

    Which is why the Rangers uni does nothing for me. I’ve got no problem with a firearm on a uni, and it doesn’t really have any “shock value” fun for me. But it’s also not a good bit of design. It’s apparently random juxtaposition, nothing more. If the revolver were in any way integrated into the design – as the Houston Colts did so well – then I’d be all over this one, because it would be good design. But it’s not.

    Thanks to Lou DeGeorge for the Stepnoski picture. I remember that too. I used to point it out to friends who thought I was nuts! As I said yesterday, it took Aikman a while to switch over to the new numbers. Not sure if Charles Haley ever did. In fact if you watch video of the first game of 1994 vs Pittsburgh, some players are wearing the old style (Aikman, emmitt smith, Haley), some are wearing the new style (irvin, Larry Brown). More switched as the season progressed until almost everyone was wearing the new style. Which is a shame because the old style looked much better!

    As a graphic designer myself I must say I hate these mock projects that designers undergo on the basis of “this design sucks and I can do better.” Whether that is true or not, I call this design masturbation. Designers more than anyone should understand how some clients take over a project and vicariously design through the ones they hired. For the record, I had nothing to do with this Hawaii Bowl logo although I can imagine the painful feedback from the client now… “That red doesn’t pop enough… Can you jazz up the edges?… Sheraton wants their logo bigger… the pineapple looks more like a football than it does a pineapple… now it looks more like a football… Can you make the black blacker?” As far as I can see from both these Hawaii Bowl logos is one is less horrendous than the other one. Then again, that’s just my opinion and just my point – design is subjective.

    Ouch :(

    I see it as more of an opportunity for me to tackle different design styles, and to keep my skills sharp. I treat the same way as I did the redesign projects done in college, simply as a thinking exercise.

    Bob – I do believe you are a good designer so please don’t take this hard. Don’t waste your talent on perishable college bowl games where good design is not suppose to exist to begin with. The fact that your pineapple has better form or color has nothing to do with the concerns these tasteless bowl committees have like making the logo overpower uniforms and fields with advertising. Don’t be surprised if next year the bowl is renamed the Sheraton Bowl and a giant QR code promoting a free night stay is place on the 50 yard line. If you ever want to talk more about this, feel free to email me at (and have a Merry Christmas).

    Re: Mark Stepnoski

    I went to college at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, TX during the time the Cowboys were holding training camp there (1998-2002), and worked for a locally owned Tex-Mex restaurant. One night, Stepnoski, Jason Garrett, Daryl Johnston and another player I didn’t recognize came in for dinner with their wives/girlfriends, and I was chosen to serve them. Jason Garrett and the unknown player were extremely nice; Moose was a prissy little jerk, though his wife was very gracious; Stepnoski was an asshole through and through. The most memorable part of the evening, Stepnoski ordered a full pound of beef fajitas as his meal. When I brought out his heaping platter of meat, onions and peppers, his face flashed from complete shock to angry scowl. “What the fuck is this?” he growled. “You ordered a pound of fajitas, sir.” You know what? He ate the entire platter by himself. There were some moments when I thought he wouldn’t make it, but the son of a bitch finished them off. Either he really loves meat (nothing wrong with that), or he had a serious case of the munchies.

    I like the Hawaii Bowl logo redesign. As others have said, the sponsor’s name is probably too small (for them, not me).

    My only suggestion would be to make the two coconuts brown. This would really accent the sunrise (sunset?) behind the logo. He could shade them two-tone like the football or just use the light brown or dark brown taken from the football.

    Just my $.02.

    Ok… now what we need to do is spread the upgraded logo all over the internet, in hopes of tricking whatever network that’s televising the game into thinking that it’s legitimate, and using it instead of the real one.

    Inside that article about Real Sociedad is a link to another interesting article about why half of the top Spanish soccer teams had no sponsor on their shirts last season.

    Im absolutely shocked the whole Calvin Johnson Madden 13 cover goof wasnt brought up until just now. that was something I noticed before the game was even released. similar, RG3 is without a visor on the NCAA 13 cover as well.

    Any one know of any color photos of the Chicago Cardinals in their blue jerseys?

    i clicked on the link for the pelicans park ups and noticed that on #7 “my basketball has trumpet buttons” logo there are 4 trumpet buttons….well, trumpets only have 3 buttons

    At one time, perhaps going back to the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve, Wash U’s colors were myrtle (dark green) and maroon. Have the colors now been changed to a (lighter) green and red? Inquiring minds wish to know ….

    Tropicana Field’s MLB astroturf logo is apparent through the “Ball State” name painted in the end zone at Tropiana Field’s Beef O’ Brady’s Bowl. But the ‘astroturf’ is orientated toward the 3rd base dugout, while ‘Ball State’ of course is orientated toward the football field, so they are facing opposite directions. Looks terrible.

    with the possible exception of the potato bowl (played on the smurf turf) this is probably the most brutal of the bowls (and the UCF/BS unis suck too) — played in the mausoleum, with that shitty turf — i mean, is there any reason this game has to look like it was played on a ’70s concrete multipurpose donut carpet?

    I don’t even see the purpose of having this bowl. When I lived there nobody cared about it, and that was when USF was playing in it & the Bucs weren’t even in the playoff hunt at the time.

    It’s not even the biggest bowl sponsored by a steak restaurant in the bay area. It’s seems the whole reason they have it is because Outback sponsors a bowl between two teams from conferences that people care about in Tampa. People debate all the time about whose better: The SEC or the Big Ten. Are there any bragging rights associated by who is better between the C-USA and the MAC?

    And the thing about Beef O’Bradys, I went there one time, they advertise as a “family-friendly’ Hooters (comparable food but without the skimpy attired servers) Well Hooters food sucks, the only reason to go there is because of the skimpy attired servers, if you’re into that sort of thing. And Hooters and Beef O’Bradys aren’t even in the same ballpark as Outback, of course.

    It’s a second-tier bowl sponsored by a second-tier restaurant in a second-tier football venue, featuring second-tier teams from second-tier conferences. It’s just all-second tier.

    Yet, I’m watching it because the only other thing on is basketball.

    Here’s what appear to be the Fiesta Bowl jersey selections for KSU and UNike. I’d be surprised if the Ducks don’t debut a new uni for a marquee game such as this, though.

    Fiesta Bowl

    the ducks have been designated the road team, so, all things being equal, they’d be attired in a white top…

    however, rumors are circulating the ducks will go all yellow…which might have some “penalty” implications (not sure if it’s yardage, but i think it’s definitely a time out loss per half, provided KSU doesn’t play along)

    im not sure about a *new* bowl uni, but i’d LOVE to see them go all lightning

    Those links to the soccer website are reposted from the same site as last week’s American League East teams reimagined as soccer clubs.

Comments are closed.