Angry or nice? The evolution of New England sports logos

There are obvious differences between the logos of sports teams and those that businesses use to attract customers, but in some ways, the two types are similar. Both need to grab customer attention and benefit by becoming iconic images associated with certain values.

New England is known for close association to some of its sports teams, particularly the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. Although fans are likely familiar with the blue and grey on the uniforms of Patriots players, a local NBC affiliate recently profiled the history behind the team's retired mascot and logo, Pat Patriot.

This character, a man dressed in colonial garb with his right hand around a football, was designed in 1960 but hasn't been officially used for more than 20 years. The source interviewed cartoonist and creator of Pat, Phil Bissell, who described his intention behind the original character.

Currently, the Patriots use a logo that shows the profile of a man's face with patriotic colors streaming out of it, supposedly inspired by the image of Elvis Presley. But Bissell said his original vision of Pat Patriot was far grittier.

"He's gotta be tough," he said. "He's gotta get in the trenches and dig. That's why, if you notice, his hands are all grimy – because he's dug. He doesn't have nice little white gloves on like Elvis."

Another local team, the Pawtucket Red Sox, recently changed its logo as well, and the two new designs it is using interestingly represent different sides of their mascot, a polar bear in a branded cap. One option shows the bear smiling with fists in the air, the other depicts it angrily breaking a baseball bat while growling.

In both cases, the different logos bring up the question of how "nice" a sport's team's image should be. Similarly, businesses can look at the logos they've used and decide for themselves whether they need new vinyl signs and other displays to communicate a new brand image to their customer base.