What a week it has been – both here at 99designs and in Washington, D.C.! When we launched our Redskins rebranding community contest October 2nd in the midst of growing controversy about the team’s name, we had no idea that in the days ahead:
- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would soften his once rock-solid stance against change: “I don’t know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things.”
- President Barack Obama would weigh in: “If I were the owner of the team and I knew that there was a name of my team — even if it had a storied history — that was offending a sizeable group of people, I’d think about changing it.”
- The NFL would agree to a meeting with the Oneida Indian Nation, among the most vocal protestors of the name.
- Team owner Dan Snyder would pen an impassioned letter to fans defending the name but, some say, opening the door for potential change.
In the meantime, our remarkable graphic design community managed to surpass even our highest expectations by submitting a total of 1,887 entries over our week-long contest. We provided designers with three alternative names suggested by journalists who have followed the controversy closely: Robert McCartney of The Washington Post (“Warriors”), Kevin Ewoldt and Ken Meringolo of SB Nation’s Hogs Haven blog (“Renegades”), and Slate editor David Plotz (“Griffins”). McCartney, Ewoldt and Meringolo also helped us judge the contest.
If we’ve learned anything from the tremendous reaction to our contest across social and mainstream media, and from following the flood of press coverage of the name issue, it’s that the power of branding simply cannot be underestimated. Will Washington’s NFL team be called the Redskins a few months from now? Years? Forever? Or will a new name and brand be introduced? Only time will tell.
Now, let’s get to the winner and highlight some of ours (and our judges’) other favorite designs from the contest!
Congratulations, Mixaurus, winner of $500!
We love the simplicity of Mixaurus’ Washington Warriors icon, which is clever on numerous levels. His design concept incorporates two D.C. icons, the Washington Monument and the Pentagon, the letter “W,” and also brings to mind a warrior’s shield. The concept is clean and modern, and would work well across the board for branding and merchandising.
Well done, mbingcrosby, winner of a second $500 prize!
This Washington Redtails design, which references the African-American fighter pilots who fought in World War II, impressed us for many reasons. So we decided to give it special recognition! While designer mbingcrosby clearly didn’t adhere to the team names we provided in our design brief, submitting his logo anyway was a smart move. We imagine he knew it might blow everyone away, and liked that he had the confidence to go against the grain. This is a good lesson for designers – if you have a fantastic idea your client hasn’t thought of, don’t hesitate to surprise them! In this case, we were delightfully surprised indeed.