Logo Logic?

If you liked the logo for this year’s Indianapolis 500, you’re in luck. You’ll get to see nearly the same design for several more years. For 2020, a checkered flag pattern replaces the bricks (above photo). I assume this background element will change some each year. I though this year’s logo was the best one since the 100th running logo in 2016.  The idea is to create a consistent branding.

I didn’t have a problem with a different logo every year. I thought a new logo said, “This is a brand new race in a new year.” Repeating the same basic logo with a slight variation is similar to what the NFL and NCAA do with the Super Bowl and the NCAA basketball tournament. At least next year won’t be the CIV Running of the Indianapolis 500. Their event logos have become stale and generic. The NCAA has even mandated the same basketball  floor for every site. You have to really look carefully to find the location of a game if you don’t know where it is being played. I hope IMS isn’t head that way.

The bricks are unique to the Speedway. Why that was the part that changed is puzzling.  Every race has a checkered flag.  I think part of the background should retain the bricks in some fashion.

Some logos have been great and some have been clunkers. The 2017 and 2018 were rather bland following the great one in 2016. The Centennial logos from 2009-2011 I like a lot, but they too were followed by just okay badges in 2012 and 2013.

I do like the badge-like center of the design, which we saw in 2007 and 2009.  I think of all the 21st century logos from the chart below, my favorites are from 2019, 2016 2011, and 2014.    The chart is from an article from 2018 on sportslogos.net.

The different logos also help me select the program I need when I’m researching something. Now I’ll need to actually find the year on the program. I wonder if there will be a different logo in 2026 for the 110th running of the 500. That will be another milestone race deserving of special recognition.

In the end, I don’t go to the track or the race because of the logo, but it is nice to distinguish each race by its unique logo. I’ve been to 53 races now, and I really can’t pick  any two that were exactly alike.



4 thoughts on “Logo Logic?

  1. I have a marketing background and my wife has a graphic design background, so I assure you our household sees the importance of different logos each year. I think IMS started with the new logos, not too many years after they started changing the cover of the program. When I see the artwork of the 1991 program across the room, I know exactly which race it goes with without having to read the year. The same with apparel for each race with the corresponding logo. I will buy a shirt or cap just for the logo. But if it was a generic design and only changed the year, I would have no interest in that.
    Like you, I really liked the 2019 logo, although I don’t. Are for the recent trend to use “Indy” versus “Indianapolis”. And for my money, the worst logo of this century has to be 2012. It looked like a third-grader designed it, although that might be insulting to third-graders.


  2. This, thankfully, is not quite as bad as what was done to the Super Bowl logo, which is incredibly indistinct with its consistent shades of silver. I might even say I like the 2020 race logo fairly well, but I would say that opinion is quite heavily influenced by the fact that, when it was announced that the race would be using “consistent branding” in logos going forward, I imagined it would be the 2019 logo with a different date on it (as the recent Brickyard 400 logos have been). I can live with this.

    Like George, I do not care for the use of Indy instead of Indianapolis. “Indy 500” is wonderfully catchy shorthand for the race and very useful in marketing, but using the formal “Indianapolis 500” (add “Mile Race” to that if you like) in the race logo gives it a gravitas that matches the importance of the race itself.


    1. The logos have gone back and forth using Indy and Indianapolis in them. I too prefer Indianapolis in labeling. As you said it gives the event the importance it deserves.


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