Standing Out in a Sea of Mascots: Creating Unique Sports Logos

Thinking about unique sports logos. I was at the store the other day with my sister and she was wearing a navy sweater from her college that said “Cavaliers” across the chest. This was the logo from her small liberal arts college in Portland, but a stranger stopped her to talk about her time at the University of Virginia. She was confused until she realized that UVA’s mascot was also the Cavaliers and their colors were navy and orange. She explained to the man his mistake and went on her way, but I was thinking about how this happens all the time.

Standing Out in a Sea of Mascots: Creating Unique Sports Logos

Mascots and unique sports logos are crucial for building brand recognition and establishing a sense of identity in the world of sports. Team identity is what fans hold on to, especially in rebuilding years. Loyal fans everywhere wear team logos, from little league to the NFL, they proudly show their support by wearing their team’s logo or name. But, with so many teams sharing the same mascot, it can be challenging to create a team logo that stands out from the crowd. In this blog post, we will explore how sports teams can design logos that differentiate themselves from others, even with the same mascot.

Teenagers standing in crowded bleachers at a sporting event cheering for their team

Sport Logo Design Elements

There are several key design elements to consider when it comes to designing unique sports logos, like any other logo. Below is a brief overview of how these elements can help differentiate your team logo.

Color Scheme:

  • The colors used in a logo can impact its overall look and feel. Choosing a unique color scheme can help distinguish a team’s logo from others with the same mascot. For example, the Clemson Tigers use a distinctive orange and purple color scheme. This sets them apart from other college sports logos featuring a tiger mascot. You can read more about color theory in logos 


  • The font used in a logo can also be a distinguishing factor. A unique font can help make a logo stand out and become more memorable. For example, the Chicago Bulls use a bold, sans-serif font that sets their logo apart from other sports logos featuring a bull mascot.


  • Incorporating unique symbolism into logos for mascots can help create a deeper connection between the team and its fans. The Florida Gators incorporate an alligator with an open mouth in their logo, creating a sense of energy and intensity. This is consistent with their brand, as an alligator that looks ready to snap at it’s prey is exactly the look a competitive sports team wants to put forward.

Differentiating Sports Team Logos

These 3 elements are applied everywhere, including professional sports and college sports logos. These two, in particular, have the greatest nationwide coverage, and hence, the most eyes on them. This also means that they have the most to gain from standing out. The obvious solution to this problem would be to just use an animal that is unique, like TCU’s horned frog.


This is not as simple as it sounds, though. These animals are chosen for their ferocity and rank in the animal kingdom. They are all predators, rather than prey, or have some other quality that is valuable in an athlete. To carry on the horned frog example, they are able to defend themselves from predators. Owls are also a common mascot, commended for their wisdom. It boils down to the choice between using a weaker animal or using one that is already taken, and many choose the latter. 

This does not mean that every school that uses the same mascot has to use it in the same way, as stated above, there are many ways to differentiate from other schools with the same mascot. For some inspo, let’s look at 3 popular logos for mascots and how sports teams have created distinctive logos, despite having the same mascot.

  1. Eagles Logos

The eagle mascot is a popular choice for sports teams, with many colleges, 64 to be exact, using it as their mascot. This does not even consider variations like golden eagle, war eagle, and bald eagle. Add in high school and professional sports and the numbers are off the charts. With such a popular mascot, teams desperately need to find ways to stand out.

The Boston College Eagles use a maroon and gold color scheme, setting them apart from other colleges featuring an eagle mascot. Although maroon and gold is not in and of itself unique, the pairing of these colors with a eagle is. This goes to show that we don’t need to reinvent the wheel when designing a logo. We can, however, use existing parts to design something new. The Boston College logo also incorporates a distinctive font and a stylized eagle, creating an iconic and memorable mascot logo. The Philadelphia Eagles, for instance, use teal, black, and white with the same animal, and the two could never be confused despite this major overlap.

A man walking in a crowd of people wearing Philadelphia Eagles gear holding a sign that shows that the Eagles were the superbowl champions in Superbowl LII.

  2. Bulldogs Logos

Another popular mascot for sports teams is the bulldog. 50 colleges use this tough pup as their mascot. To differentiate themselves, the Georgia Bulldogs use a bold, sans-serif font paired with a red and black color scheme. This creates an instantly recognisable and distinctive look. Similarly to the Eagles, this color scheme is not typically associated with a bulldog. Gonzaga, on the other hand, uses the traditional grey and blue, making their logo easily confused with Georgetown, and Butler, and is likely a contributing factor to why Yale changed it’s logo recently.

This makes Georgia’s bulldog ideal for merchandise as it is not likely to be confused with another school. Also, Georgia has become the primary team that is associated with this combination. This means that if anyone were to emulate it, it would work in their favor. They would be the “UVA” from my story from the beginning of this post.

 3. Tigers Logos

Tigers are another popular mascot for sports teams, with 53 colleges and many more professional teams using this fierce animal as their mascot. The Louisiana State University Tigers use a distinctive gold and purple color scheme that sets them apart. Additionally, their logo features a stylized tiger head with fierce eyes and sharp lines. This notably sets them apart from Clemson University, another football powerhouse using a tiger mascot. Clemson’s colors are a very similar orange and purple, however their unique sports logo is an orange paw print, not resembling LSU’s in the slightest.

An athletic building with the Clemson Tigers’ orange paw print logo illuminated in front of a purple sunset.

Closing Thoughts on Your Favorite Sports Logos

In conclusion, designing a sports team logo that stands out from others with the same mascot can be a challenging task. However, by considering key design elements such as color scheme, typography, and symbolism, sports teams can create logos that are both unique and instantly recognizable. By using these correctly, a sports team can establish a strong brand identity and create a deeper connection with their fans. An iconic clever graphic can also help reduce awkward situations in grocery stores like with my sister. So, the next time you’re watching your favorite sports team, maybe take a closer look at their logo. See if you can identify how they’ve used these design elements to differentiate themselves from others with the same mascot. Some numbers for American football

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