Standing the Test of Time – The Wimbledon Logo

Written By:  •  Monday, July 3, 2017

 

There aren’t many sporting logos that have remained virtually unchanged over four decades, but one such example is the Wimbledon Championships logo. In use since the late 70s, they (there are two used in tandem) are perfect examples of branding done so well that it has stood the test of time. In fact, both are so well recognized by anyone with even just a passing interest in the sport that they have become synonymous with lawn tennis.

However, in terms of tournament history, the logos aren’t really all that old. The tournament was actually a century old when organizers finally relented and created their first logo. From 1877, until the logos’ inception, every program and poster simply stated the time and date of the tournament with perhaps an illustration or photograph, and of course the location, as if it was ever really needed.

While we may joke about the fact that it took so long for the tournament to come up with a logo, the reasoning behind such reluctance to ‘get with the times’ is pretty admirable. If you’ve ever watched the tournament, you’ll likely have noticed that the players and courts are bereft of advertising and branding with the Rolex clock and Slazenger balls being the only noticeable exceptions. Interestingly, Slazenger and Wimbledon’s partnership since 1902 is the longest commercial partnership in sport. The reason for this lack of advertising is that the organizers want spectators and players alike to remain undistracted throughout each match.

The Wimbledon Championships’ determination to remain a tournament solely focused on the players and the sport itself likely explains why the logos haven’t changed at all. Of course, there’s also the fact that they are pretty awesome pieces of branding design. And you know what they say; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The main logo, which consists of two crossed tennis rackets on a field of green (representing the grass) with a tennis ball beneath them and surrounded by an outer circle of purple, is the epitome of simplicity. While these days many designers look to add subtle messages to their logos, the original Wimbledon logo is as pure and straightforward as you can get.

The second logo, which organizers first added to the 1983 program, is a little more creative. It retains the outer purple band, but the inner circle features two purple stripes/dashes that, of course, symbolize the W from Wimbledon. This logo is generally accepted as playing second fiddle to the original and was never intended to replace it.

Both are used in tandem on much of the Tournament’s official documentation and its advertising, of which there are actually very little. You see the Tournament is one of those sporting events, much like golf’s British Open, that needs no introduction nor marketing to generate revenue. The exclusivity of the Tournament and its reluctance to adhere to modern revenue channels such as in-game advertising means that these logos will likely never change. If there’s one thing the organizers of Wimbledon seem quite averse to, it’s changing in any shape or form.

And while there’ll be no change in the logo, there could be a changing of the guard in the women’s tennis, in particular. With Serena Williams out due to her pregnancy and Jeļena Ostapenko, who BetStars is offering odds of 14/1 to win, coming out of nowhere in the French Open, who knows who’ll take the ladies’ title. Whoever does win though, there’s no doubt that when they lift the Venus Rosewater Dish, the only branding in sight will be these two iconic logos.

 



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