Cleveland Guardians logo

Meant to post this when it was announced a few months ago, but can we take a look at all of the oddities of the Cleveland MLB team’s new name and visual identity? Let’s leave out the political discussions. There is plenty to talk about just on the branding side of things, anyway.

First, the name - “Guardians.” I get that the statues are iconic, historic pieces of the fabric of the city of Cleveland. In fact, they’re one of if not the first images in the opening montage of “Major League.” But I’m extremely curious to know, do Clevelanders (Clevelandites? Clevelandians?) actually like these things? I mean, their official name is the “Guradians of Traffic.” Traffic might be the lamest thing to dedicate a statue to outside of…I don’t know…sewer systems. Are they looked at with any sort of nostalgia or reverence? If so, more power to the name choice. But the initial backlash I’ve seen from longtime residents and fans gives me the feeling that the statues are looked at as more of an oddity than a point of pride.

It’s also tough to ignore the fact that the wordmark’s typeface is extremely similar visually to one of the existing variations of “Indians” and that they both share the letters “dians” at the end. It kinda makes you wonder if part of the decision-making process around choosing a new name involved looking for one with as many of the same letters as the old. Brand continuity is great and all, but wasn’t the whole point of this exercise to distance themselves from the previous name? Recycling the last five letters and the last two syllables of your old name might not be the best way to go about that. Again, just odd.

Finally, the icon. I dig the clean, retro vibe of it. Sports logos often fall victim to looking too modern and trendy and consequently feel dated very quickly. Baseball is a sport in love with its heritage, so I a retro strategy really makes sense. But…the actual execution is just plain weird. It’s drawn in three-dimensional space. Cool. The wings and the top half of the Gs are isometric. Also cool. But the bottom of the front G is either in perspective or slightly askew for…reasons. Also, regardless of whether they’re in isometric or two-point perspective, the two Gs are not aligned. The back G is positioned slightly lower than the front.

The real kicker for me, though, is the baseball. There are some M.C. Escher-level shenanigans going on here, because that thing isn’t a sphere. Based on the sizes and positions of the Gs, and the amount of space between them, that ball is considerably taller than it is wide. If you were to look at the three-dimensional icon from the front, it would look approximately like the crooked, squeezed image on the left rather than the properly-aligned, spacially-accurate image on the right:

That said. I kind of get it. The perspective (or lack thereof) and the squished baseball both seem like the kinds of things that might look weird if you drew them out “perfect” or “correct.” I can absolutely see a nudge here and a tweak there getting things to where they’ve ultimately landed. At the end of the day, though, it’s all just a tiny bit too off for me to not be distracted by the oddities.

In summary - cool retro visual language, weird name choice, weird visual execution. Thoughts?

Excited to see what they do here:

There’s a lot of cool dimensional things they could do, that I’m guessing they won’t. (I mean, just look at that black expanse of EMC scoreboard…)

for context, these are the statues… they appear to be right near the ball field?


I’ve lived in Cleveland since 2006 and I really like the statues. My impression before the name change was that most everyone liked them too. I even knew the name (almost, thought it was “Guardians of Transportation”), so immediately knew what they were referring to. I was happy they chose something with a local reference instead of just some fierce sounding animal. And yes, they are right near the stadium (the bridge they are on ends basically right at the stadium). I think the negative reaction is mostly a combination of

A) People who didn’t want the Indians name to change at all (they’re numbers have been diminishing, but still make up a sizeable number of people)
B) All sports team’s names are weird and lame to some degree. I honestly don’t think there is a name on earth that would have made everyone happy.

That said, I’m not wild about the visuals. The 3D logo looks like it was made in Minecraft with a round disc in the middle. I like Jeff’s Escher explanation. And I don’t know why they chose a typeface similar to the old Indians typeface, instead of keeping the Block C logo, which was a popular alternative to using the Indian caricature on merch, and working with that.

The block C would have been a nice choice. I think the G with wings is pretty nice and doesn’t need the baseball in it. I guess they wanted to connect it to the sport, but probably the most iconic baseball logo is this:

(fight me in the comments :smiley: )


though they have their cheesy baseball versions too. Hot take, sports stuff can get pretty corny. :rofl:


I wish they played up the statues a little more in the branding. The wings are … sort of? The heavily faceted letterforms are almost anime/mecha, like it could say ‘Gundam’ and fit the type style better. It bothers me that the winged G isn’t the same as the wordmark G.

@yo they are all cheesy and seem to get worse. The Mariners had a really sick yellow trident when they started, now its Apple Safari. Probably the worst was the revision that the SF Giants did with the creamsicle foggy G. G for ‘gross’.

Hoping they don’t apply the celebrity endorsement model for this refresh.

Originality is dead. I’m so tired of derivative design. What is going on at the Cleveland Institute of Art?

Looks as though there is some hockey fans from across the lake on the design team.

Things with wings…

How about Houston? With a name like The Astros it could have been so cool! … but nope.

Let’s not forget their grounds crew unis at the Astrodome.

As well as the incredible tequila sunrise unis…

Slight OT diversion but someone said Nolan Ryan.

I really like how Washington FT just dropped the name entirely. Especially in light of modern sports where everyone is trying to move all the time, to tie the team directly to the their home is actually a bold move. The Cleveland “C” logo has as much history as the team. Just drop the “Indians” part and be Cleveland.

Here is the 1920 team:

Michael is right about the Yankees. Why fight what works?

As for the Astros, I loved them in the 80s, although it sure looks dated now. I think the best logo was their first one and it’s just keeps getting worse. It’s like none of the designers/marketers actually like the name, so they just try to ignore it rather than step into it.

The Edmonton Elks have a new logo too. I think it’s a big step up from their old look, but kept all the same colors. They even kept the “EE” logo in some places as the new name works too. The only thing is, as a Wisconsinite, I associates elks and bucks with the midwest and not the Rocky Mountains.

Old logo:

Thank you. The absolute best.

Ray that Elks logo is pretty sweet.

Atlanta stripped some of it’s native imagery from the Braves branding, though the giant drum, chanting, and tomahawk chop are likely here to stay…
The Tomahawk definitely lives on.

Chief Noc A Homa is still around on unofficial merch

That Atlanta A is obviously much cooler than any yankee logo down here and has been arguably as big as the NY in hip hop over the last twenty years.

But as long as you’re in the south, you’ll get it mixed up with the other prevalent A-- which stands for Bama.

The Braves had the A in lower case a while back too and it’s still cute.

I’m glad to hear this. Baseball is particularly good at teams adopting inanimate or non-threatening nicknames. Case in point there are literally three teams named after the color of their socks and three more named after eastern songbirds. Nothing strikes fear into the heart of an opponent quite like a group of men with colorful calves or a flock of birds with great singing voices :wink:

Ironically I’m heading to Cleveland tomorrow for work as of this morning… did this thread bring it into existence? Can we talk about Hawaii for awhile and see if that works? :slight_smile:

“Being called the Rainbows, especially for men’s teams, left them open to ridicule,” Mosley said. “Warriors has a much stronger connotation.”

I’m confused. How is that not homophobic? And what kind of “strong” team is so prone to chirping?