Atlanta Silverbacks Reveal Logo Finalists

Written By:  •  Wednesday, December 12, 2012

After openly considering a name change to the Atlanta Chiefs of the original North American Soccer League, the Atlanta Silverbacks instead chose to keep the Silverbacks moniker, in use since 1998, when the team changed from the Atlanta Ruckus.

When the team announced the name retention, they did so in conjunction with a Logo Design contest. Fans were encouraged to submit their logos, and the winner would be the one with the most likes on the team’s Facebook page.

The team posted entries as they received them, which left some designers feeling like the designs that came in first had an insurmountable advantage. I reached out to Public Relations Manager Neal Malone, and this was an unfortunate side effect of deadlines.

I can tell you that time was a big consideration. We understand that the way the rules were laid out possibly could have given an advantage to the early submissions. That being said, there isn’t as much time in professional socccer offseasons as a lot of people think. We have a deadline that we have to hit to have everything containing our logo ready for the season. By doing a two or three week submission period prior to another fan voting period, we felt that we would be cutting it too close in terms of the deadlines we have with merchandise and other things involving the logo – not to mention allowing people time to adjust to and identify with the new logo prior to the season.

While early submissions obviously have more days to receive votes, some of the late submissions still came close to winning. In fact, the one that received the second most votes was submitted far later than the one that ended up winning…and it was a close race that went up until the last moment.

Atlanta designer Michael Jasiczek finished with the winning design.

This design was included in the final vote, along with three new designs, some of which took inspiration from unpicked designs. The team, during the process, had reached out to some of the designers to make sure their ideas were heard.

As for some of the finalists appearing similar to certain fan submissions, there is a reason for that. One of the fans had submitted a cool “AS” concept that Silverbacks ownership and brass really liked. In fact, they liked it so much so that the club reached out to the designer and asked if he would be willing to help mold that concept into a few different looks. Excited and completely willing to help, the designer worked with the club, providing different looks for that logo concept. He is set to receive rewards for his efforts, and at no time during the design process did he express any hesitation to work with us on developing his look. The ownership liked the circular concept and the rest of the design elements, so they decided to put one of our patented “ATL” logos in the middle as well. Many people have expressed a fondness for that “ATL” look, so we wanted to give fans the opportunity to vote on it. You’ll notice that the finalists are each different in their own way, meaning the fan voting will tell us a lot about what people are gravitating towards.

Almost immediately, similarities were noted between a previously unseen design and a Silverback Gorilla logo designed by Greg Grigoriou. The logo was in fact purchased by the Silverbacks after seeing Mr. Grigoriou’s logo and being a big fan of it.

One of the designers we were working with came across the Silverback logo design by Greg Grigoriou. We as an organization liked the look of it and thought it could possibly fit in well with our vision for the logo, so we legally purchased it from Greg at his asking price. The transaction was pretty plain and simple, and the club now owns that design. We then worked with our designers to implement that icon into one of our logo designs.

Although many lower level teams often borrow logo elements, and it’s often easy to assume the worst, Atlanta did the right thing here. I want to thank Neal for answering any questions and doing so completely straight forward.

So which design do you like? Make sure you vote at the official Atlanta Silverbacks website.

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Michael Waldrop

Michael Waldrop is a co-host/producer of the world's only sports design podcast, The Logocast, in addition to writing for sportslogos.net. You can reach him at @Michael_Waldrop on twitter.

  • Bryan Smalley

    First and foremost, I’m not a fan of the Atlanta Silverbacks. With that said, boy did they completely botch this “logo redesign contest”! I feel sorry for the designers who put forth a valiant effort to create a new identity for the Atlanta-based club and some of their superior work failed to make it to the final round of selections. However, there are two things that I can’t comprehend here: 1) selecting the design with the “most likes” on Facebook; 2) purchasing a stock image of a gorilla because someone from the club liked that logo AND having this element being the centerpiece of one of the four final logos for the club.

  • Thrashers Fan!

    Wish they’d go back to the ATL Chiefs.

    Maybe when we get our MLS team they can be the Chiefs.

  • John Burlie

    I think the one with the Gorilla (Silverback) makes the most sense. As well. they should incorporate more silver on the logo, outlining the circle. The rest are boring

  • Snaggletooth

    Either the shield with the ATL logo cleaned up (think the designer was trying to approximate it with an available font), or the circle w/ the ATL logo. It’s the only interesting graphic in contention.

    Gorillas are slow, lumbering animals and have no significant connection to Atlanta. Yes, we have them in our zoo. So do many other cities. Big deal. Since the Chiefs rebrand was rejected by the voters, the best option now is to play down the monkey graphics as much as possible.

    I too hope the Chiefs are the name for the MLS team, but with a rebrand featuring other meanings of the word to avoid all the controversy.

  • Bill A

    The one they chose is definitely an improvement, but not the best of the lot. In the picture that contains 4 finalists’ submissions, I prefer the 2nd from the left. Simple and classic.

  • jeeyo

    If you think Robin`s story is great…, two weaks-ago my sister in-law basically recieved a check for $6861 just sitting there a 10 hour week at home and their best friend’s ex-wife`s neighbour has done this for 6 months and actually earnt over $6861 parttime at their computer. use the instructions on this site…http://www.g00.me/272633

  • ingmar66

    From left to right: poor AC Milan ripoff, poor Arizona State ripoff, the best one so far in terms of originality, but remove the FC est. 1998 part from the logo, very ugly jumble of letters that reminds me of an ’80′s logo for an Austrian ski resort.

  • recchi

    @ingmar: I totally second that. 80′s ski resort.. lol, so right… xD

    They should have put that one raging gorilla logo from the contest into the finals. What was chosen instead is not really bad, but just too freaking generic.

  • http://gameplancreative.com Tom O’Grady

    Rarely does anything good come out of logo design contests (ever) and sports logo designers should avoid them at ALL costs. In professional graphic design circles “spec work” is considered very bad business with potential litigation always circling in the distance. AVOID it like the plague.

    The American Institute of Graphic Arts position is as follows:

    AIGA maintains that speculative work can compromise the benefits of effective design for both clients and designers. A designer fully engaged in a client’s challenges is as necessary to an effective solution as it is fair in terms of compensating creative and professional efforts. With the current trends and practices of open source creative development and online bidding for work, the designer and client will engage as they see fit, although they should assume responsibility for risks involved in spec work should they choose that course.

    Don’t engage in ANY sports logo design bake-offs unless you know you will be fairly compensated.