New Logos, Same Memories

The Suns new marquee logo and S logo are two additions to the team's branding.

The Phoenix Suns’ sunburst embodies so much more than just a logo.

Rather, it’s a visual manifestation of decades of memories.

Through over 45 years of Suns basketball, the sunburst (in several forms) has always conveyed warmth (pun intended), comfort and familiarity. Still, perhaps more significantly, each variation has inspired different forms of connectivity with fans – equally impactful, none more important than another.

The original Suns logo with the Western-stylized font takes you back to the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Gar Heard’s shot in the 1976 NBA Finals comes to mind along with Tom Chambers’ infamous rim-shattering dunk over Mark Jackson at the Madhouse on McDowell.

During the ‘90s, the shooting sunburst was synonymous with what countless Suns fans affectionately refer to as the Charles Barkley years. Indeed, many will never forget how blissfully the sunburst clashed with the Chicago Bulls’ red and white in the 1993 NBA Finals.

More recently, the rising “PHX” bird logo is undoubtedly attached with the renowned Suns teams in the mid to late 2000s featuring the “Seven Seconds or Less” style of play.

Now, as another era of Suns basketball is ushered in, the team has introduced new logos that beautifully incorporate the team’s rich history with a modernized twist.

“The new logos have a darker color palette with new fonts that have been modified with unique dimension and characters,” said Greg Fisher of Principal Fisher, the agency that assisted the Suns in the redesign process. “The primary logo is an enhanced version of the past logo with an updated sunburst and new word mark beneath it. The Suns’ colors are darker and bolder giving the orange and purple palette refreshed strength.”

Likewise, slight modifications were made to the popular “PHX” bird logo. In addition to a basketball consistent with the one in the primary logo, the new version features a closed beak, uplifted wings, new type fonts and modernized flames.

Combining several Suns visuals such as the team’s original logos, uniforms and shooting shirts, the new “S” logo is a perfect accent and mark for digital applications. The classic ‘SUNS’ word mark, unique among NBA teams, remains an ambigram – not only does it appear in the marquee logo, it’s featured on center court where it can be easily identified by fans sitting anywhere inside US Airways Center.

Unquestionably, for as long as the Suns have been in Phoenix, the sunburst logo has given the team an image and appeal that no other branding tool could provide. Fans might not always remember specific player names, but there’s little doubt how influential the sunburst has been and continues to be.

Certainly, the unrivaled charm of the historically engaging sunburst was at the forefront of the design process.

As has been the case in recent years, the team’s prominent color will be orange, with purple, black and gray rounding out the color palette. The team will use multiple color versions of each logo, including options highlighting the purple and black.

In other words, purple isn’t going anywhere.

“Orange has resonated well with our fans in recent years,” said Suns President Jason Rowley. “And while orange remains our most emphasized color, purple is synonymous with our legacy of success and is here to stay.”

Perhaps the best part about the Suns’ sunburst is that one doesn’t need to see the word “Suns” to know what it represents. Subconsciously, if you’re a Phoenix fan, the sunburst logo is happily etched somewhere in the back of your brain.

In that same spirit, the mindful design of the new logos is a nod to the past, present and future of the Suns’ storied franchise.

“The best way to honor the past is to continue to use the sunburst icon in a new and exciting way,” added Fisher. “We did that with the ‘S’ logo by creating a visual mark that combines the sunburst shape with the new ‘S’ letterform. It is modern but pulls elements from the past and combines them to create a new icon that we think Suns fans are going to love.

“It is immediately recognizable as a Suns’ visual because it contains the sunburst that for so long has been the symbol of Suns basketball in Phoenix.”