As the youngest of the Victorian-based teams in the AFL, the Hawks began in the VFA before joining the VFL in 1925. Although Hawthorn is now the most successful of all the non-foundation clubs, their first 3 decades were spent at the bottom of the ladder, and their first finals appearance came in 1957!
In 1961 they won their first premiership, and after another hard decade the club really hit its stride. The glory days came for the Hawks in the late VFL era when they collected 7 premierships premierships across 2 decades (3 in the 70s, 4 in the 80s).
It was during this time that their first endorsed logo was used in 1977, and was replaced 5 years later by the hawk head logo. The 1982 logo lasted for 15 years and was linked by supporters to the five premierships won during that time.
The 1997 logo drew a lot of similarities with the 1977 version, and while it lead a marketing push resulting in financial success during that stage, there was no on-field success. That brings us to the latest version of the logo.
“The new shield portrays a sense of determination, pride, and focus. The Hawthorn Football Club is a club on the move. In the design we have hoped to capture the steely resolve it takes to win a premiership. That is the clear ambition of the Hawks.”
Cato Purnell Partners (now Cato Partners)
Launched at the end of 2007 and designed by Cato Purnell Partners (now Cato Partners), the rationale behind the design was this:
“The new shield portrays a sense of determination, pride, and focus. The Hawthorn Football Club is a club on the move. In the design we have hoped to capture the steely resolve it takes to win a premiership. That is the clear ambition of the Hawks,”
Ken Cato – Cato Purnell Partners (now Cato Partners).
A quick scanning of Big Footy forums show a 50-50 divide over whether the direction was a positive one, however I imagine that after the success of 2008 the feedback would have become a lot more positive.
Lets be clear – the 1997 logo was getting dated (mainly due to the container element on it), so to really show that you’re a team, club or organisation who is ambitious, you have to do something about it. The new shield does represent all of the character traits that Cato mentioned about the Hawthorn Football Club.
One extra thing that the logo achieves is connecting to the glory days of the 70s and 80s which was a really smart move. I’m a fan of this logo – it’s smart, bold and different, and though others have hinted that it is an american style of logo, I would say it doesn’t fit within that family. If I could fault anything, I’d point at the type choice (is that Dax Bold or Black, but squashed vertically?) for being a bad match, and at the odd brown shield outline which I don’t think conveys anything in particular.
I really enjoyed reading this little anecdote from Wikipedia because I love clubs thinking creatively about the club/fan relationship:
On 6 March 2011, at its annual Family Day, club representatives announced that as of the 2011 season the No. 1 guernsey would be officially retired as a player number and instead presented as a tribute to the fans. Max Bailey, who was the last player to wear #1, made the announcement by saying, “..the fans are number 1.”
He then presented the cheersquad with a giant Hawthorn guernsey displaying “1” on its back. The oversized guernsey will be on display at selected home games.