Studio Stories: Creating the 2019 NBA All-Star Game Logo

While the NBA logo sits to the left, plenty of teal and purple fill the remainder of the NBA’s All-Star 2019 logo. Plenty of teal, really.

The stacked design of the logo with the wordmark “All-Star” in purple and “2019” in teal on the top line sitting atop the “Charlotte” wordmark and three Charlotte-specific icons, all in teal, mind you, make up the design of the 2019 version, not altogether that different in styling from the 2018 version made for Los Angeles.

Janine Dugre, NBA senior vice president of creative services, tells SportsLogos.Net that even with the relatively new templating plan for special-event logos, the design team is still looking to incorporate or take inspiration from the host city’s primary identity. And that meant that teal and purple were always going to be part of the equation.

“With this logo, we wanted to bring the unique character and identity of the host team and city of Charlotte to life,” she says.

The central element that gives the Charlotte All-Star identity — with the event festivities scheduled in the Queen City for Feb. 15 through 17 — its own personality comes in the lower portion of the design, where the Charlotte wordmark weaves together with three small icons.

“We evaluated several ideas and concepts prior to choosing our final three icons,” Dugre says. “Again, our main goal was to bring the unique character and identity of the host team and city to life. In this case, the crown icon (signifying the Queen City), and also incorporating visuals that honour our marquee event, the basketball and the star.”

The crown placed atop the basketball and star wasn’t always the design. Dugre says the team evaluates new themes and ideas every year and this year’s All-Star concept included several logo designs, some using icons and some without. “Ultimately we felt that incorporating a crown, basketball and star icon was a great way to pay tribute to the Hornets, Charlotte and NBA All-Star Game in a creative way.”

And along with the logo design, Dugre says the All-Star identity translates well across many platforms, including the court designs, which she calls “especially unique, vibrant and dimensional.”

While the Hornets’ famed honeycombed cell motif doesn’t play strongly in the logo, it does have a place in the rest of the identity, which did prove a challenge for the team. “To capture the dimension in the cell creative and bring the logo and icons to life across a variety of mediums, particularly print and digital” was one of the more challenging aspects of the identity, Dugre says.

When it came time to layout the logo, the NBA followed its templated design theme. While they do have a horizontal application, the vertical stacking fits with the look they offered fans in 2018 in Los Angles. “A template identity system delivers global consistency for our brand’s visual identity across a multitude of NBA properties,” Dugre says. “As we grow globally, we want to ensure that any time a fan comes in contact with an NBA property, no matter where they are, it’s instantly recognizable and familiar. While the identity system is template-based, we consistently use design elements that embrace the local market, such as team colours and iconography.”

Think of the NBA template program as a more middle-ground approach than, say, other national leagues that have taken all personality out of their designs.

“There’s also creative flexibility applied to each event’s creative look,” she says, “which provides a unique visual experience for fans.” For instance, the Charlotte design and creative aspects of the logo do have a differing motif than the 2018 Los Angeles creative program. And when it comes to the design beyond the logo, Dugre says to expect many elements, such as court design, event décor, merchandise, advertising and ticketing to all play into the local theme and offer a more full range of design elements than seen just on the logo. So, while the logo may come with a template in the background, the city-specific creative elements still seen in those logos play heavily throughout the rest of the event’s motif.

“Every element is completely customized,” she says, “within the identity system.”

For 2019, that means plenty of teal and purple in the logo, three icons that touch on aspects of Charlotte, the Hornets and the NBA and an expanding design beyond the logo.

NBA’s All-Star Game Logo History

Studio Stories is a monthly column from Tim Newcomb that explores the stories behind some of the designs dominating the sports landscape. Follow Tim on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.