I have some time on my hands while I wait for the season to start and seeing the Timbers new kit made me want to review MLS logos (or crests). This is a subject I like even if I am the only one so here it goes (roughly in order of what I like but in the middle are just I bunch I don’t have much of an opinion of):
Good to OK:
Portland – As much as I try to be objective I can’t help but to love this logo the most. Dark green and gold/yellow is a great color combination, the ax is a great symbol that is easy to see and recognize even if it is on a pin, hat, letterhead etc. The diagonal lines for a tree in the background is a great accent. Removing the text was a definite improvement in my opinion; the logo says it all; no text required.
Minnesota – I have read other reviews praising this logo and I have to admit I like it. Bonus points for the originality of not using a circle or a shield and for using the entire extent of the logo to make the loon as big as possible so it is easily seen. And the loon looks cool.
NYCFC – I have always felt that using letters/initials in your logo is a little bit of a design copout unless you can present them an interesting way. I like the interlocking letters and the old-timey feel of this logo. On most logos I don’t like the text in the band around the outside but on this one it works to enhance the overall feel.
Miami – I love it! I hate it! I think the flamingos with interlocking legs forming an "M" and the pink/black/white colors are great. It says "Miami" without having to take up space to say "Miami." But then they had to shrink it down and put it inside of a shield; and then they had to shrink it down some more and put it inside of a circle so you can barely even see the flamingos anymore let alone the "M." I like it but I also kind of hate it. Maybe they thought the text adds to the gravitas of the club but I don’t think so (you are still just an expansion team in the MLS). Just go with the flamingos as big as you can make them.
LAFC – I think their logo is nice and sleek. The black and gold are good color combination. Again, I don’t love letters but "LA" is pretty distinct and the wing for the city of angels is a great fit; not overly done but just right.
Austin – I like the symbol of the tree and the roots – although it isn’t the best looking tree and the roots kind of remind me of the bottom half of the Hydra symbol in the Marvel shows. They choose a distinct shade of green that I think looks good and it goes well with the black, although a little dark when together. I have read people saying they don’t like this one but I like it.
Vancouver – While I will always think of waves when I hear "Whitecaps" (and back in the NASL days they were my second favorite team after the Timbers because I really liked Canada) the mountains and reflection are simple and easy to see, the color combination is nice if a little common and the words in the middle don’t get in the way of the overall presentation.
Philadelphia – In the same camp as Miami – I kind of like it but I really hate it. If a coiled snake is your symbol why shrink it down inside a shield and then shrink it some more to put it into a circle with unneeded text around that? When I see their jerseys I can’t even tell what it is and the snake could pass for a poop emoji (my nickname for the team - poop emojis). If a coiled snake is your logo (and I think it is a good logo for the city) make it at least visible. I like the light blue and gold in the background but that too is barely visible. This one, along with Miami, need some adjusting but could be good.
D.C. United – The black eagle seems really European to me but it is a bald eagle and there are stars and stripes so fitting for the capital I guess? But they made it nice and big and easy to see so bonus for that. If they were my team I could like it.
Orlando – The lion reminds of the Premier League logo so it doesn’t feel original but they made it nice and big and their colors are distinct (no other purple in the league and the yellow goes well with it).
Dallas – The red, white and blue matching the state flag and the bull definitely says "Texas" and the bull is easy to see so bonus points for that. Although the bull is not nearly as iconic as the silhouette on the UT football helmet or Chicago’s bull or (sadly) the NYRB bulls.
Columbus – This is just a little too busy for me. They have stripes and checker-board and ’96 surround it all with text. I think it would be better if they stuck with just the stripes or just the checker-board – pick one.
New England – The flag and the red, white and blue are patriotic and are a good match with the local football team. Bonus for not using a shield or a circle but it feels more like it should be a logo for a USMNT.
NY Red Bulls – I know it is just the corporate logo which is used by other teams so minus points for originality but that corporate logo is great so, not bad.
Atlanta – Minus points for just using a letter (and with Austin in the league they are no longer the only "A") but the black and red stripes behind the gold looks good.
Colorado – I like the color combination and the mountains are nice (although neither feel original) but the shield shape they chose scrunches it all up so narrow that it is hard to really see it unless up close.
LA Galaxy – For a long time the Galaxy were synonymous with the MLS in my mind so this has become iconic. I don’t love it but definitely recognizable.
Salt Lake City – RSL intertwined and a crown. Not much to hate but not much to like either.
Seattle – Every time I see it I think of Tom Hanks’ line from the movie Big: "I don’t get it… it’s a building… who wants to play with a building?" Can’t really be objective about it so that is all I will say (write).
Cincinnati – The lion is too small to really see and seems generic as does the "FC." The orange and the blue color combination might seem distinct but they are separated by white so that feels generic too.
San Jose – The black and dark blue stripes are too dark to really see so it is just "Quakes" and a soccer ball in a shield that you can really see.
Charlotte – A big crown in the middle of what is supposed to be a coin. The white and the light blue are easy to see at least and you won’t get it mixed up with the crown from SLC.
Montreal – The new logo with background color: "none more black"; foreground color: "icy grey" (are snowflakes grey in Montreal?) with a lil’ bit o’ blue; exciting custom font (I think it is called San Serif Generic), M’s and arrows forming a snowflake. Bonus for having the guts to design a new logo. I read the arrows represent the Metro and this would be a great logo for a city transportation system but not something that creates excitement for a sports team.
Chicago – They announced they are going to create a new logo so no comment although I will say I liked the fire fighter symbol (who doesn’t like a fire fighter – aren’t they always the good guys?). I don’t love the new one but apparently neither did enough of their fans.
Houston – I like the burnt orange and black and points for the guts to ditch the old logo and try something new. Funny how much I like NYFC and don’t like this one at all when they are both just interlocking letters. Maybe this will grow on me.
Nashville – Letters don’t have to be bad and simplicity doesn’t have to be bad but this design doesn’t make an impression at all to me and the yellow and black are too similar to Columbus to feel fresh.
Kansas City – The colors aren’t bad and the bars on the left aren’t bad (if both a little unoriginal) but if you are going to choose letters for your logo choose letters that are distinct to your club. SC? No! You are KC! If you are Kansas City and you are going to put two letters on your logo it must be KC. Overall this is so generic it could be a league logo.
St. Louis – Did they hire the same design firm as Kansas City? "Ok first pick a cool color, then pick a shield shape, then put some lines on the left side and lastly put the most generic thing you can think of on the right side." "How about ‘city’?" "Yes, congratulations! You just out-sucked your cross state rival!" If you are St. Louis and you put text on your logo that text is STL. Ugh.