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Logo Review: Brisbane Lions

May 11, 2013
Brisbane Lions Football Club Logo

Tonight’s focus is on the Brisbane Lions, the team born out of a merger between the Brisbane Bears and the old Fitzroy Lions.

Brisbane Lions Football Club Old Logo
The old logo. Gradients, shadows, strokes, lions, AFL logo, two fonts (look at that connection between the ‘n’ and the ‘e’ in Brisbane). What a mess!

One thing springs to mind when looking at the newest logo: I’d bet that old Fitzroy fans aren’t too happy at having their history erased. It was inevitable that 14 years after the team would need to forge their own identity, which never seemed to carry their old team history in quite the same way that Sydney does with their connection to South Melbourne.

From the press release in 2010:

“Clearly we need more adult and junior members, more TV viewers and more
match-day patrons. So to a restless and hungry Board and Administration
the need for change is compelling. And a more modern and menacing Lion
symbol is just one of various changes that must be made to really
connect with a much wider, younger and more image savvy audience.”


A logo timeframe from the incredibly fascinating press release.
A logo timeframe from the incredibly fascinating press release.

The icon:

At first glance, the icon of the lion seems fine enough, but when you’ve looked at it for a while, there are a few unusual renderings, mainly in the yellow outline around the edge which sometimes follow the contours of the lion face, and sometimes do their own thing.

The decision to have a two toned face, with one side having spiky/windswept hair and the other a more regal look doesn’t sit terribly well with me.

It is a more menacing lion from that of the past, but I wonder if an opportunity was missed to make it even more menacing.

The wordmark:

How the choice of font makes the Lions appear as the “most respected, successful and innovative sporting club in Australia” is a little bit lost on me. It’s quite a serious choice of typeface, handy for the corporate side of things, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s the first thing to be updated and changed in future.


“…And a more modern and menacing Lion
symbol is just one of various changes that must be made to really
connect with a much wider, younger and more image savvy audience.”

Brisbane Lions
Press Release

I absolutely agree that the Brisbane Lions logo needed a change from their dated logo, and more and more of their supporters in future will have never have even heard of the Fitzroy name, and will therefore have no more connection with the lion silhouette of old. From a functional point of view, the new logo is easier to read at smaller sizes, simplifies the visual part of the brand by removing all the unnecessary bits that weighed down the previous iteration, and moves towards syncing up with the stated goals of the organisation. While I feel that the lion could have been more exciting, I’ve been learning that AFL logos usually focus more on tradition, history and maturity rather than commercialisation, bells and whistles – which may be one reason why the Crows logo was so disliked.

I’d really recommend reading the press release, which includes a breakdown of complaints and their sources, and also touches upon something that makes the AFL quite unique – most complaints were concerns that the new logo would be imposed on the uniform, thereby erasing the very last remnant of Fitzroy connection the club would have. In that we can find a truth – that the uniform and colours will always be more important and enduring branding elements than any sporting logo.

Next time: the timeless Carlton!