Los Angeles Kings bring back the Gretzky-era logo

NHL’s Los Angeles Kings have updated their visual identity by restoring the logo the club had in 1988-98, a glorious time when the team led by legendary Wayne Gretzky as the captain won its first Stanley Cup. Although revived, the emblem still showcases fresh elements enhancing the general design.

The idea to bring back the Gretzky-era identity, according to Kings Chief Operating Officer Kelly Cheeseman, came five years ago when the hockey team wore the 90’s throwback uniform in the 2019/20 season. This nostalgic move was widely welcomed by fans, so the club decided to go further. Inspired by supporters, the organization considered that the “returning to the roots” in terms of visual identity would be a good thing to breathe a fresh air into LA Kings life. Although the rebranding plans were postponed for a while due to COVID-19, the team has brought the rebranding to the end.

The fresh version of the 90’s logo was designed by the Yorklyn, Delaware-based House Industries studio that is a long-standing partner of the LA Kings. Involving the club’s management, current and former players, the rebranding process went through a number of concepts, drawing, and sketches until the redesign team finally settled on the “chevron” logo.

The new features added by House make the Kings logo even more expressive. “KINGS” as the central element, still in black, has received a white shadowing which reinforces the feeling of movement created by the tilt of the letters and the speed lines, whose number was reduced. Moreover, each speed line has a unique length now, while the kerning of the serif wordmark was adjusted to offer a more refined appearance.

In the upper part, “Los Angeles” was redesigned as well. Keeping the city’s name, as the studio’s co-founder Andy Cruz said, was crucial for honoring the LA Kings legacy. While the inscription has received a clearly serif aesthetic, the typeface is evidently different from that of the “KINGS”, and this was made purposely, according to the designers.

Besides, it visually takes more place in the upper end of the cross-like emblem, which is partly achieved through alterations to the borders and the removal of the gray gap between the black and white lines.

Another obvious difference is the crown in the lower part. The design team opted not to take the 1988 version in favor of the initial design of 1967, the club’s founding year, which is a nod to the origins of the franchise. And this solution seems to meet the numerous requests from fans to restore the original crown the Kings have received for years, as the club admits.

Cruz says this form was easy to incorporate into the refreshed logo. Nevertheless, the overall design of the crown were noticeably simplified. In a black-gray-white gamma, it looks quite stylish, made up of short hatches and dots. Appearing in all the iterations of the Kings logo, this “most important detail” was developed most thoroughly, with an eye to how it would look on the players’ jerseys.

While the logo has been finalized and unveiled, fans eagerly anticipate the release of the Kings’ new jerseys to fully appreciate the designers’ meticulous work. Cheeseman says the black-and-white uniforms will surely impress everyone when the team will get on the ice next season, as “the jerseys make the logo real”.

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