Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Hockey Team Identity Project: Grand Rapids Griffins

With this installment of the HTIP, I've decided to go to a team who has kept the same identity though a merger/takeover, but only accented their look a bit when they got an affiliate who's colors were somewhat different to the team's original identity. This time, we're looking at the Grand Rapids Griffins and how they were able to blend in the theme of a parent club without compromising the original identity.

The Griffins' owners were awarded an expansion franchise by the IHL in fall of 1995. The team then went with a "Name-the-Team" contest, which drew thousands of entries. The name Griffins were on multiple entries and thus the name was born. The griffin is a mythological creature with the body of a lion, but head and wings of an eagle. When I asked Senior Director of Public Relations Randy Cleves about it, he said that the ownership thought the griffin's traits of being fierce, tough, aggressive, smart, and a bit of a smart-alec transferred very well to the identity of a hockey team.

The Griffins then had to turn to a logo, which was made by Sean Michael Edwards Design, which is based out New York. Edwards' design depicted the spirit of the team name properly with logo' giving it a fierce look while giving the elements of the mythological creature a modern feel to it. The original colors of the Griffins were navy, green, gold, silver, with red accents to the logo. That was the scheme that was used when the team entered the league in 1996, up until the end of the 2001-02 season, as seen below.

For the 2002-03 season, the Griffins dropped the green accents are added more red to them, as they had an affiliate with the Detroit Red Wings. The Griffins even started to incorporate the parent's team identity with an alternate jersey what was like the Red Wings, but with a whited-out alternate and primary Griffins' logo and jersey to match that of the Red Wings. Even so, the Griffins kept their identity from day-to-day, even though the red in the pants stand out from the rest of the navy motif they have for themselves; seen below.

While they may have changed a bit, it wasn't as drastic as many others that have come over from the IHL, though the Chicago Wolves have pretty much stayed the same, as have the Manitoba Moose. Either way, the unique name that ties into a solid mentality; plus a color scheme that gives the team their own identity while blending in the parent affiliation makes for a solid identity and one that people won't confuse for another.

Thanks again to Randy Cleves, Senior Director of Public Relations for the Griffins for the information. Check out GriffinsHockey.com for more info about the Griffins.

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