A few years ago, an old friend and a big sports fan decided that he didn’t like the way his favorite teams were being coached or even managed and had a crazy idea. Why can’t a group of fans buy, manage and coach a professional team? Through crowdfunding, he put together enough money and enough fan members to make a go of this idea and they purchased an Indoor Football League franchise based in Salt Lake City.
The whole concept behind this venture is democracy. The fan members voted on a name — the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles — and the team colors — red, white and blue. They are even in the process of developing an app that will allow fan members to call plays. The play with the most votes gets sent to the coach. Live! On the field! Nuts, right?
This democracy, of course, extends to the team logo. I got an email from my friend, Grant, asking me if I knew any crowdsourcing design platforms. I wrote him back saying that I didn’t and even if I did, based on principle I wouldn’t send it. He responded that he suspected as much and understood but he was worried because the first wave of entries were rolling in and they were pretty scary. I let him know that I understood the whole democracy thing, but I would be happy to take the winner and make it usable for the team.
Then one weekend, stretching on the beach, I had an idea. And I got kinda excited about it. So the next day I spent 2 or 3 hours making it real — the symbol, the typography. I even applied it to a helmet, t-shirt and a baseball cap. I didn’t invest much time or effort, but had a lot of fun and decided to enter it into the logo contest. And then it hit me…
The whole competition of it. I saw the entries coming in. They weren’t that good in my opinion. And then I started watching the vote numbers climb on some of those entries. I found myself checking the voting every few hours for a week. Then I was combing through my address book and emailing pleas to friends, family and practically strangers to get online and vote. Then I found out that this was only the first round. After this, the top ten would then be in a week-long runoff.
Now the runoff round starts today. I have continued to improve my entry and am quite pleased with it. I’m trying to break the mold of the typical graphic so common among sports logos. Mine, I think, is clever and thoughtful, combining the screaming eagle with a stylized American flag. Not to mention that it will be easier to reproduce across the spectrum of items… helmets, tickets, social media and the like.
Now the overwhelming urge to win has consumed me.
As much as I detest these bake-offs, I have come away with some realizations. The obvious is that in this crowdsourcing age, it’s rarely the best idea that wins, but the one whose creator has the biggest address book. And I’m not just saying that as a hedge to losing. I have been in the lead for half of the first round, due in large part to my address book. But then I was overtaken by a couple of newbies with a lot of social media connections. Ugh.
The other realization, confirmation really, is that after 35-plus years of doing this — creating logos and identities — I still love it. It is a labor of complete love. No, forget the word labor. For me there is no labor in it. Just pure enjoyment.
But that doesn’t mean enjoyment is enough! I still want to win!! Click the image below and vote for my design! Please!