When looking at the Carlton logo for the purposes of this review, the first thing that popped into my head was the NY logo so revered around the world. Obviously I’m not the first to notice the similarity, as noted in this Carlton fan club forum a couple of years back.
A history of Carlton monograms
The latest iteration was introduced in 2005, which removed the little pointy bits (referred to as notches in the above link). Some Carlton fans prefer the middle version as a symbol of an older, more successful Carlton Football Club.
Australia’s Greatest Sporting Monogram
My personal preference is for the iteration used from 1997 to 2004. The newest version’s letter strokes are inconsistent – the F has a thin stroke, but the gap between the Big C and Little C is larger. The previous version was much more balanced, and the ‘notches’ added a little bit of character and old world charm to the monogram. Some may long for the return of the middle logo (out of the 5 above), but that design is too overbearing, too bold, and illegible.
One of the things I love about the Carlton brand is that it is fairly simple. No stripes, sashes, swirls or chevrons. It’s just navy blue, with a white monogram. If there’s any lesson here, it’s that the greatest logos are simple, and that the greatest sports logos deserve to be front and centre of a team uniform.
Recently I asked a question of our Facebook likers – what is the most important visual part of a team brand? The responses lead to three elements: the team’s colours, their uniform and their name (the mascot part, as opposed to the location).
Why did they come to the conclusion of the colours being so important? Team colours are those referenced in most team songs, and infiltrate every part of the visual side of the branding. By simplifying their brand to 1 colour and 1 monogram, Carlton have made their logo the prominent focus of all who come into contact with the brand. It goes against the trend of having a ferocious mascot, but it really works – where the Yankees ‘NY’ logo is probably the world’s greatest sporting monogram, Carlton is Australia’s greatest. Even if this version isn’t as good as the old, it is still better than the rest.
While Carlton’s logo isn’t exciting, fear-inducing or cutting-edge, over time it has become one of the most memorable Australian sporting icons. In this case, it’s a traditional logo that like wine has become better with age. I don’t think I’m going too far by naming it as the best logo in the AFL.
I’m not a Carlton supporter, but if I was, I’d be incredibly proud of my team’s logo and consistent brand over the years.