Trail Blazers Update Pinwheel, Prepare For Jersey Changes

by Casey Holdahl
Follow @chold

As you may have seen, the Portland Trail Blazers released the newest iteration of their primary pinwheel logo today (and if you haven’t seen it, check it out) along with some tweaks to team wordmarks, secondary logos and colors. It might not look like it, as the now old pinwheel and the new pinwheel look rather similar, but this is the culmination of a long process, one that has taken years to run its course.

While there’s not too much to say about the update, here are a few tidbits some of you hardcore logo folks might be interested in…

• First off, it should be noted that the pinwheel logo is now the team’s primary logo, which actually was not the case previously. The pinwheel placed within a black rhombus with “Portland” above the pinwheel and “Trail Blazers” below was actually the team’s primary logo, but nobody really liked it and it was difficult to deal with from a design perspective, so it’s now been scrapped. Most fans don’t seem to know that logo was the team’s primary, which just goes to show how infrequently it was used, which was in no way an accident.

But for our purposes here, let’s just just refer to the old pinwheel as the former primary logo.

• As for the release, the plan was to launch the new pinwheel logo around the Draft Lottery, which is scheduled to take place on May 17. But as is often the case, the logo leaked on Monday thanks to new merchandise with said logo filtering onto official apparel sites. The team knew that a pre-launch leak was possible, even probable, so they had a plan in place to go live with the new logos in the event that what happened on Monday, happened.

Though for the record, Monday’s leak was not the first time the new pinwheel made it out into the wild…

• The most obvious change is that the red part of the pinwheel is now on top -- it was previously on the bottom -- and the bottom part of the pinwheel is now white rather than silver. The other “big” change is that the lines which comprise the two parts of the pinwheel are now connected by a straight diagonal line of the same color.

As for other changes, the font has been updated — there are now serifs on both the “P” and “T” — and the lines are now at a 45 degree angle, which according to the team represents “the 45th Parallel North that leads on a path to the Northwest region.” Anyone who has driven over and over again past that 45th Parallel sign on I-5 in Salem can attest to that.

And for posterity, the primary colors are “Red” (#C8102E), “Black” (#000000) and “White” (#FFFFFF) with the secondary colors being “Deep Red” (#A6192E), “90% Black” (#414042), “50% Black” (#939598) and “15% Black” (#DCDDDE).

• While the team did consider rotating the pinwheel back to a vertical orientation, as was the case on the original logo, for whatever reason, the decision was made to keep it diagonal.

• As for the decision to keep the logo and the “Rip City” workmark largely unchanged, both test very well with the team’s fans, and thus, were never likely to undergo wholesale changes. The “Rip City” workmark in particular is wildly popular, which is why you might have noticed it shows up more frequently than it did, say, ten years ago.

• Last and certainly not least, the updating of the logo also corresponds with Nike taking over the NBA uniform contract for the upcoming season, meaning the Trail Blazers will play in new designs next season. Those new standard home and road uniforms with the updated logo will be released in “late summer” or after they leak, whichever comes first. The changes associated with the new uniforms will be more much more noticeable than the changes to the logo.

“With the conversion to Nike, we will introduce small changes to our primary home and road uniforms, as well as unveil some exciting new alternate uniforms unlike any ever worn by the Trail Blazers that were also fan inspired,” said Dewayne Hankins, the team's Chief Marketing Officer. “Based on the fan feedback we received about uniforms and having the talented ideation of the renowned design staff of Nike, we're seizing the opportunity to add contemporary touches to our classic on-court look and push the creative limits with some alternate versions.”