When the Marlins unveiled their new Miami logos on November 11, 2011, I was struck by how it looked simple and “off-the-shelf”.
Most sports logos look and feel like they were designed with custom art and fonts and the designer put a significant effort to create something new. While the Marlins logo was a result of many iterations and careful review by the Marlins, MLB Properties and SME Design, the final result looks like a Photoshop job (yes, the Fish is more custom art but it’s a small weird protrusion from the basic large word mark). In fact, many reviews of the logo by design experts suggested the logo had an “initial concept” quality to it, meaning something that was put together using widely available fonts and techniques as inspiration for creating something custom and great. You would expect this from a corporate logo, not a sports logo.
As part of my redesign of this website to match the new Marlins look and feel, I wanted to test the theory above by using my amateur Photoshop skills to reverse engineer that basic elements and design language in the new Miami Marlins style. It took a few attempts but the ultimate process turned out to be so simple that I easily created the entire alphabet in Marlins font with all its variations in a matter of a few hours.
My thoughts below represent my research, opinion and trial-and-error. Don’t take these as facts but rather a process I used to “reverse engineer” the style. Maybe one day someone will tell the detailed story of how the logo was designed.