Hide & Seek: The Hidden Messages of Sports Logos

As sports logos have evolved, so too have the messages they communicate. Through the clever use of negative space and cryptic design, there may be more to a logo than meets the eye. This trend is most visible in American sports, where the commercial aspect of the game — including branding and visual identity — often trumps traditionalism.

By far the greatest collection of sports logos on the Internet is Chris Creamer’s sportslogos.net. This is heaven for a sports geek who loves logo and uniform design, and it stands as a self-proclaimed “virtual museum dedicated to the past, present, and future of graphic design in the world of sports.”

Having scoured the site for a while, here are 10 sports logos that communicate hidden messages through the use of negative space or clever design, with a few clues to help you along the way.

Can you find them all? The last ones get quite tricky…


1. Hartford Whalers

The blue whale tail is combined with a green W for Whalers, but can you find the H for Hartford?


Hartford Whalers, 1979-1992 (sportslogos.net)


2. Milwaukee Bucks

Two to find here: a basketball and the letter M, for Milwaukee.

Milwaukee Bucks, 2015-present (sportslogos.net)


3. Minnesota Twins

An emphasis on Victory!

Minnesota Twins, 2010-present (sportslogos.net)


4. Big Ten Conference

This was the logo when there were eleven teams.

Big Ten Conference, 1990-2011 (sportslogos.net)


5. Atlanta Falcons

The letter F, as in Falcon…

Atlanta Falcons, 2003-present (sportslogos.net)


6. Dallas Mavericks

This time it’s another M, maybe for Mavericks, probably for Mark – as in the team’s modest owner, Mark Cuban.

Dallas Mavericks, 2001-present (sportslogos.net)


7. Houston Rockets

There’s a space shuttle launching with an H for Houston.

Houston Rockets, 2003-present (sportslogos.net)


8. Washington Capitols

The Capitol Building is hiding there.

Washington Capitals, 2007-present (sportslogos.net)


9. George Washington University Colonials

Continuing the Washington landmark theme, can you find another of D.C.’s famous buildings? This may require a bit of staring…

George Washington, 2009-present (sportslogos.net)


1o. Yoga Australia

And the last one is a bonus, and not from sportslogos.net, but is textbook use of negative space with an outline of Australia.

The former logo of Yoga Australia (yogaaustralia.org.au)


Now you’ve seen some of the best sports logos, here’s The Top 5 Ads of Super Bowl 50.

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