What do I mean? Well, without question we accept a smug leprechaun to front the Boston Celtics, and for the past couple of years we have tolerated a buffalo-slug hybrid to represent a team called the “Sabres.” Realism isn’t a thing of necessity when it comes to sports logos. When executed rightly, you don’t need to be realistic, either – see also “Iron Pigs” and “Cardinals, Arizona.”
The suspension of belief should come naturally, though, as if the logo itself compels you to just [cue whisper] believe. I shouldn’t have to get myself into the zone to buy into a logo.
Inside that zone today is the logo for the Topeka RoadRunners. The team from Topeka is originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the RoadRunners moniker certainly passes better muster. This NAHL team is moving to Kansas’ capital this season after a grassroots movement among the city’s hockey fans to woo the team away from the land of enchantment.
Instead of a complete redesign, which a junior A hockey team probably couldn’t swing budget-wise, the RoadRunners are simply recoloring their logo and changing up the font in the word mark for the move. New this season are the golden-brown beak, changed from a much less natural blue, the silver color in the feathering, and a semi-serif-style font in place of the non-styled block-serif for the word mark.
Looking at the bulk of the logo, the roadrunner’s head, I’m first distracted by the whole “prehistoric” styling – the jagged black lines outlining the areas of color, the silver head-feathers sweeping up behind the beak to conjure imagery of mean, nasty horns or spikes (which you could easily mistake them for altogether at first glance).
Bothering me the most are the teeth – roadrunners don’t have teeth, so why make that such a prominent feature on your logo? Yes, it’s obviously a treatment to make the logo look meaner, but we’re back to the whole “forced suspension of belief” deal.
Plus, it’s an unnecessary liberty taken with the real bird’s morphology. Really unnecessary considering how successfully birds can be styled to look “mean” without adding teeth – see the Seahawks, the Ravens, and the aforementioned Arizona Cardinals.
Roadrunner head aside, the new font fits well and isn’t really all that bad. While I personally would stay away from a font like that, the style fits here pretty well.
While Topeka’s new, used hockey team comes with a refreshed logo that could be worse, it’s nowhere near the front of the pack, or flock if you want so badly that easy, easy pun. For that, I’m willing to give this guy a C+.
Team: Topeka RoadRunners
League: North American Hockey League
Location: Topeka, Kansas
Arena: Landon Arena
Mascot: Yes, it’s a roadrunner (surprise), but I can’t find his/her name anywhere!
Merchandise: Not online yet