The Miami Heat have created a great brand through 21 years of mostly successful on-court performance, a rotating cast of memorable players and — perhaps most of all — a logo, color scheme and overall style that have nearly made me forget just how dumb their name is. Fortunately, there are plenty of horrible tattoos out there walking around that help remind me to “Never Forget.”
Still, from Rony Seikaly and Glen Rice toiling away in obscurity to Timmy and Zo making waves in the East to Flash and Shaq bringing home the Larry O’Brien trophy, the franchise has enjoyed a nice linear arc of success. And the team’s entire style, along with its logo, has transformed from expansion fly to champion iconic. For a team that once retired Michael Jordan’s “23” in its rafters, today, the only jersey you’re going to see on South Beach is a Dwyane Wade — or maybe a Rudy Gay.
Looking past any of that, juxtaposed against other NBA teams that use basketballs in their logos (looking squarely at you, Clipps and Nets), the Heat have laid out blueprint plans for how any expansion franchise in sports should create and manage its logo:
Step 1: Create a logo that relates to your name. (Disclaimer: If you’re name is “The Thunder,” change name before beginning logo process.)
Step 2: Make your logo simple, sticking to the script of what has worked historically while also — and this is where most teams go astray — adding a singular, unique element that sets you apart.
Step 3: Don’t use more than three colors — or four if completely necessary and you can give a legitimate, well-articulated reason for it.
Step 4: Don’t use ephemeral color combinations, lettering or design principles that will be dated in a decade. The last thing you want is to wind up like the Spurs, who abandoned their timeless silver-and-black logo in favor of colors representative of an interior design fad during the South West population boom, only to later realize that, yeah, don’t do that. Not so coincidentally, the Spurs have reverted back to their original look. See also: 76ers, Philadelphia; Pistons, Detroit. (And, yes, I realize that the Heat’s lettering might start to look dated within the next decade — although not necessarily. Regardless, they should be able to launch a preemptive, minor redesign that will avert looking like an early-90s relic if necessary.)
Step 5: If after a few years you determine that the logo is not perfect, tweak it a little provided you first determine that the logo is worth preserving. This is always the ideal way of changing things. Never change just for change’s sake. Worse still is changing for marketing sake or to create a new revenue stream. Fans have and want to maintain a connection to the past and even if it’s only five or six years, a change will be jarring and ultimately unfortunate. Still, be honest with yourselves. If the logo needs aborting, don’t hesitate — kick that bitch down the stairs.
Step 6: Once you have a good look, remember the best part of Jay-Z’s Blueprint and apply it to your franchise: Never Change.
What up to my Miami and St. Thomas connects.
If Hov don’t sign LeBron, him and Flash gonna get paper longer than Pippen’s arms.