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NHL Logo Design History and Evolution

NHL National Hockey Leagues Logo

The National Hockey Leagues contains several teams from both the United States and Canada who compete for the Stanley Cup. Despite a few stylistic alterations, the NHL has retained the same basic logo shape since its creation in 1917.

NHL Logo Design Elements

The NHL logo is essentially a shield that bears the NHL initials. This shield has three points across the top, along with a point on either top corner. The shield’s sides curve in along the upper portion before curving outwards near the bottom. They join in a single point in the middle. All of the shield is drawn in solid black and a silvery hue that is shaded to look metallic and three dimensional.

In a multi-striped design, the shield has a black outline around a thick silver line that is around a thick black line that is around yet another thick silver line. The interior of the shield is black, but it has two thick silver stripes running from the left, bottom corner to the upper, right corner. Between these stripes is a black bar that says “NHL” in silver, uppercase letters that slant to follow the bar’s slope.

Changes and Evolution

1. Shape

NHL’s logo has always been a shield with a five pointed top, curved sides, and a single point along the bottom, but there have been a few changes to the overall shape. The first logo had a middle top point that was higher than the other points along the logo and a banner that slanted from the upper, left corner to the lower, right corner. In 1946, the shield’s shape was changed to its more familiar shape where the three middle points on the top are all the same height and curve down sharply in between. This shape was kept for the 2005 update, but the shield became even more pointed, and the banner’s slant was reversed.

2. Color

NHL’s original 1917 shield logo had a thin brown stripe around the edge, followed by a thick white stripe, a thin brown one, and a thin yellow stripe. The interior background was brown, with NHL and its two slanted stripes in gold. In 1946, the logo removed the white stripe, made the gold outline thicker, and darkened the brown to an almost-black hue.

3. Font

An identical font was used for the first two logos. It was essentially just a classic san-serif font with even stroke thickness and a slight slant. The modern font added a slightly hooked serif to just the top, left point of each letter.


The NHL logo redesign was intended to invigorate old fans and appeal to new ones. Metallic silver was used instead of the old gold shade because silver reminds people of the famous Stanley Cup trophy that the winner of the season gets. The change to the direction of the NHL banner was intended to convey a more positive motion. Before people read it on a downward slope, while now it slants upward and has a more energetic feel. The change to the logo font is also intended to create a sense of motion, speed, and excitement by making the letters look like they are moving slightly.



The stylish NHL logo is an excellent representation for the sports league. Hockey fans tend to love their traditions and disliking change, so the NHL has definitely made a wise decision to keep the same logo shape. Minor updates have made the logo appeal to more people and reference the famous NHL Stanley Cup trophy without upsetting the fans.

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