The Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup again in what some are calling the “Decade of Dominance”. We are a pretty excited fan base and truly love our Blackhawks players.
After watching the revelry last night on the ice, and especially in the locker room, I was reminded of the saying: “respect the Indian Head.” The Blackhawks players, staff and visitors to the locker room know to avoid stepping on the large Indian Head logo in the middle of the carpeted room. That is right, nobody steps on the logo in the middle of the room, and a jersey never hits the floor. Do not mistake this for superstition, this is a league-wide, hockey-wide tradition.
Former Blackhawks coach Denis Savard once said after a particularly bad game, “commit to the Indian” or face the consequences. Everyone in that locker room understood what Savard meant. The Blackhawks Indian Head logo is sacred to these players and coaches.
It’s a great logo, it should be respected and treated correctly.
Now, think about this with YOUR company logo. You may not have a large version of your logo sewn into the carpeting of your office, but you still should always show respect for, and use your logo correctly. Do you have a style guide? When I worked for the Chicago Cubs we had a FIFTY-TWO page style guide on how you were, and were not allowed to use the logo. I am assuming the Chicago Blackhawks logo style guide is of similar size. Plus, there is a damned good reason I have not grabbed the Blackhawks logo off the internet and added it to this article. Their logo has a copyright on it and cannot be used without consent of the team and the NHL. If you would like to read the super long terms of service and copyright information on their logos, it is posted here. Thus, you only have a picture of me in my licensed apparel. The people that made my shirt, paid large royalties in order to print the Indian Head on my shirt, I then paid for the shirt, so we are all safe in the copyright world. 😉
But back to style guides. At GMCI we always create style guides for our clients when they hire us to create a logo for them. To only create the logo and not the guide is like having all of your hockey gear on, but forgetting to bring your stick; a plethora of errors will surely ensue. The guide tells you what PMS, CMYK and RGB colors may be used to represent the color version of your logo. It tells you what fonts are allowed to be used with your logo, it tells you which version of your logo can be used where. It is what creates the brand and the loyalty behind your logo. At GMCI we have created a proprietary type of pocket style guide that folds out to hold a CD of all of your logos in every format imaginable. On this pocket guide are the rules of your logo and brand. Following these rules and brand image requirements creates a permanent recognition for your brand.
I have often repeated this story in brand creation meetings: You are pulling into a small town, in an area you do not know. You are hungry and the only restaurant you can see seems to be a McDonalds. However, the “golden arches” sign doesn’t have yellow arches, they are a strange orange color. Would you trust this McDonalds as the real deal? Or would you think something is truly wrong and it cannot be a McDonalds? You would probably keep moving and look for somewhere else to eat because it just didn’t seem trustworthy. THAT is brand recognition. You know the “golden arches” color and trust that their menu and service would be the same where ever you go.
In the end, you, like the Blackhawks, should always respect and protect your logo and brand image. Make sure you have a style guide, and a copyright for your imagery. They are the first line of defense for your brand.