The old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies to the black and orange logo used by the Philadelphia Flyers since they joined the NHL in 1967 as part of the first group of expansion teams. When seven THN staffers gathered to rank the 30 NHL logos, the Flyers were almost universally considered one of the better looks in the league. But it didn’t get enough love to launch it into the top five, so here it will settle at No. 10 in our rankings. Can you design a better look for the Flyers? Using whichever color scheme you wish (but, really, why use anything other than black and orange?) design a new look for Ed Snider’s Flyers and submit your work to firstname.lastname@example.org. In two weeks, when our logo rankings finish, we’ll share our favorite reader redesigns. Think you have what it takes?
HISTORY OF THE FLYERS LOGO The Flyers have been around for 47 years, but there isn’t a history of change behind the logo. When the team was accepted entry into the NHL, ownership opened up a contest to come up with a name for the team. Names related to past Philadelphia teams – Quakers, Ramblers - were popular, but Snider wanted a brand new “big league” identity. The Quakers were attached to the NHL’s record for fewest wins in a season (1930-31) and the Ramblers was the name of a minor league team.
And though nine-year-old Alec Stockard won the contest for submitting the name “Fliers,” that nickname didn’t get the most votes.
From the Flyers’ website and Jay Greenberg’s book
But (Bill) Putnam and Snider don’t remember anything grabbing them until one night on the New jersey Turnpike when Snider, his wife, his sister Phyllis and her husband Earl Foreman, and the Putnam’s stopped at a Howard Johnson’s, ordered from the list of 28 flavors, and kicked around some similar number of names.
On their way home after seeing a Broadway show, they were looking for a stopper name for their hockey team. “I was thinking of people skating and sliding around the ice,” Phyllis recalls, “and the ‘Flyers’ just popped into my head. Everybody thought it was great.” According to that story, other names that were submitted included Greenbacks, Liberty Bell, Philly-Billies, Blizzards, Bashers, Sabres and Bruisers. The logo was designed by Sam Ciccone, a designer with an ad firm located in Philadelphia, but the colors have their own roots. Putnam, who owned a share of the team and helped land Philadelphia its NHL franchise, was a University of Texas graduate and took the colors from his alma mater. The Flyers logo is iconic, simple, representative and brought orange to the NHL. This logo has stood the test of time and, when the team introduced a
silver alternate logo in 2002, it was shunned and eventually put into the wastebasket where it belongs. Never again should the Flyers mess with the classic orange and black winged-P that connotes hard-nosed hockey and harkens back to the Broad Street Bullies days.
Dissenting opinion: "There weren't many negative opinions about this logo, because there's nothing wrong with it. If I had to nitpick, I'd say this one should have been in the top five. Orange has to count for something!
- Rory Boylen