LA Rams new brand identity?

This year the Los Angeles Rams will move into their brand spanking new palace, the now named SoFi Stadium. To coincide with this move the Rams will be re-establishing their brand identity.

Below I will take a look at the publicity so far around the rebrand, the unusual activity from the COO on social media, a look into the history of logo changes and speculation from fans. 

Since the Los Angeles Rams left their short stint in the city of St Louis where they won their only Superbowl and moved back to Los Angeles, fans have been emphatically vocal about dumping the St Louis colour scheme and re-adopting the traditional Los Angeles colours again. Many desperate to reclaim the old Los Angeles Rams days and re-establish its Californian identity and culture. 

So let’s start with what I consider the first indication of this topic to be publicly expressed by the organisation.

On Thursday 2nd Jan 2020, the rumours and speculation of change were all confirmed by the Los Angeles Rams Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff, when he released a letter to the fans via the Rams Website – See original letter here.

Here is a snippet of what he said regarding the rebrand:

In addition, this exciting time includes our new brand identity – from logos and colors to uniforms and helmets. These elements will tie to our deep roots in Los Angeles while also providing a sleek, modern look that fits with our new, world-class home. We are excited to share all of this with you over the coming months and see our players run out of the SoFi Stadium tunnel for the first time in our new uniforms as we kick off this next era of Los Angeles Rams football.

Since this news was announced and to be honest, rumoured for some time beforehand, Los Angeles Rams fans throughout the world have taken to social media to share their thoughts on the possible rebranding and uniform changes.

The Uniform

Opinions on social media pretty much unanimously want one of two options, both do not see the return of the dark navy and gold from the St Louis days. The most popular is to keep the recent throwbacks, royal blue and yellow and the alternative jersey as the white with yellow sleeves and blue horns as seen between 1973 – 1999. The other opinion is to rewind the clock further and bring back the retro look from 1964 – 1972 with the duo colour of navy and white combination that was seen worn by QB Roman Gabriel and the ‘Fearsome Foursome’ (Rosey Grier, Lamar Lundy, Merlin Olsen and Deacon Jones).

See more uniforms throughout the years as put together by Tim Brulia and Bill Schaefer at Gridiron Uniform – http://www.gridiron-uniforms.com/GUD/rams.shtml

The Helmet

What hasn’t changed too much is the iconic horns on the helmet, which itself is cemented into NFL history. To boost team morale, Clarence ‘Fred’ Gehrke designed and painted the Los Angeles Rams logo in 1948, which was the first painted on the helmets of any NFL team.

Image taken from www.therams.com

As you can read from Kevin Demoff letter, the helmet is going to see some change also. This may be a subtle colour change to match the new modernised colour scheme or something more drastic like a new logo on the side (like a lot of other franchises). I cannot see the latter being the case, as this would be contradicting the tone of honouring the history of the team and keeping elements tied to its roots in Los Angeles. These past few years we have seen the use of the blue helmet and white horns instead of the gold which may be an indication of what might be going forward. 

Obviously if the tint of blue changes, we see a more dominant use of the yellow or even if the horns change when tweaking the primary logo this may also affect the horns on the helmet too.

The Logo 

With regards to the logo, how much it will change to represent a ‘sleek, modern look’ we will see.

The average lifespan of an NFL logo is approximately 14 years, while there are some organisations like the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans who have only ever had one logo during their existence, there are others like the Bengals who have changed their logo on average every 7 ½ years.

The Rams have had their current primary logo since 2000 (they were in St Louis at the time). When they moved back to LA in 2016 they actually kept this logo the same and then opted to alter the logo slightly at the start of the 2017 season. Removing the gold altogether, therefore introducing a navy stroke outline and a simplification to the horn, removing the highlights to end up with just a navy and white finish. This has been their primary logo ever since.

See below the progression of logos for the Rams Franchise over the years:

The change of a logo has to be painstakingly researched and great considerations have to be taken. It is very easy to make the wrong step and get the fans in an uproar and have a PR disaster on your hands. Alternatively, if you get it right it can reinvigorate a fanbase, bring a great atmosphere to gameday, make the organisation a lot of money and keep Mr Kroenke happy. 

The challenge is exactly what Kevin Demoff alluded to early in his letter, trying to represent history/tradition with a sleek modernisation of the brand. Other historic teams have had the same task in recent years. I will show you a few examples just to give you a taste of what I believe is likely to happen in regards to the Rams logo. 

Below are the most recent changes to logos by the Buccaneers, Lions, Panthers and Vikings.

You can see from all four examples here that there are no fundamental changes in their logos, more tweaks than a complete redesign. The Lions have essentially kept the logo the same since the 1970s. The Vikings also used subtle changes to create today’s logo from the one they had in the 1960s. The Buccaneers did make a fundamental change in 1997 but their next change as seen above is just a more polished version with a change of tone in colour. The Panthers, although not as historically rich as these other examples, have hardly changed their logo and colours since 1995. There are many more examples of this type of minimal change over the last 50 years, including Browns, Steelers, Redskins, Raiders etc…

Our divisional rivals have also in recent years made sure to keep consistency within their logo changes and have preferred to change colours subtly or introduce strokes. 

So that being said how do the creative team at Los Angeles Rams alongside the team at Nike create something that honours the past but brings about a new era, atmosphere and image, that is exciting, sleek and modern. 

As per the examples above, I believe they will not steer too far from the current logo that they have had for 20 years. I think the devil will be in the detail and we may see a slight change in the angle of the ram head, interior shading and detail added to the horn. One step to incorporate a touch of the past, would be to add strokes back into the horns to create a texture just like that of the ram logo between 1946-1982 (see above) before the helmet icon became prominent.

Not forgetting that the new stadium from above looks like a very similar shape to the current Rams logo, coincidence?

Colour Schemes

Going to the navy and yellow would make a lot of sense. It features colours from every era. The navy is closely matched to what the Rams wore in St. Louis, as well as the 1960s and early ‘70s. The yellow honours the teams from 1973-1999 and recent throwback jerseys worn today.

In recent months we have seen purposeful content creation pushing a new darker blue, yellow and white. See a selection of examples below:

Fan Speculation

Way back in 2016 when the Rams announced they were moving back to Los Angeles, ESPN asks Uni Watch readers to post in their own speculations about the branding and uniforms changes.

See the full article here which gives awards to categories like ‘Best overall’, ‘Best Helmet design’, some are laughable if not interesting submissions. 

While the Los Angeles Rams have been working with Nike and their team for some time now on the official new rebrand, on January 22nd Cameron DaSilva wrote an article displaying some of the better Fan concepts out there.

Graphic Designer Chirs Ramirez has put together quite a decent collection on his Behance page.

Chris has gone with a home jersey, which is essentially our colour rush jersey now… interesting… to see the away and alternate jerseys, as well as how they can roll out this new branding on other platforms, make sure you pay Chris’s Behance page. 

Image from Chris Ramirez Behance page

The Troll – Kevin Demoff  

The Los Angeles Rams COO Kevin Demoff has recently been more active on Twitter than normal, some would say almost trolling the fans by dropping hints and/or misdirection about the new logo or colour schemes of the uniforms. 

In late January in reply to a fan referring to buying jerseys from the new store; Demoff said ‘The good news is this July we will have a stadium store for you to go to. The better news is the jerseys will be out before that’. As predicted the organisation will want to make the new merchandise available well in advance of the new season and most likely for the draft. 

February 8th he then tweeted just an image (see below) that got more people going again. Was there something to this image as a clue, it definitely had people shouting ‘look closer’, but it could have just been a tease, as the image is from a film called ‘Definitely, Maybe’, a 2008 movie that was released on Feb 8th… 

Demoff then changed his profile pic on twitter to another rams logo, which got more speculation, but I highly doubt this is how the organisation would reveal their new/updated logo, so I would guess it will not resemble this. Some Twitter users also didn’t like it…

I hope you’re just playing with us with your logo avatar… because I see no CALIFORNIA YELLOW in that picture!!

I hope that logo ain’t the new one. If that’s the case, just go back to the old one. That ain’t it fam…

The latest troll attempt by Kevin Demoff was his unusual headwear that was seen during the recent 2020 NFL scouting combine, as he walked around talking to fans and the media. As you can see from this image capture at the time, he is rocking a grey cap with a mix of blue and RED! Yes RED… 

.. Since being spotted, fans have been quick to respond that this is a reference to the old Cleveland Rams and this was confirmed recently on our podcast by Sam Laganà the Rams Stadium Announcer – Check out the interview here on apple and other podcast platforms.

Kevin Demoff - LA Rams COO

In recent years teams who have also undertaken a rebrand and have made uniform announcements, made changes typically between the start of the new season and the NFL Draft.

The official start to the 2020 season, is 18th March and this could be the rough time the Rams decide to officially announce uniform changes and their new brand identity.

Recently at a fan-event, some information was able to be extracted from Mr Kevin Demoff himself. He told a fan that the logo and colours will be revealed early April and the uniforms a little later, during the Draft (23rd-25th April).

The teasing is in full force and although some people love the buildup and hype, for some it may be starting to wear thin…

Then the official Rams Twitter account dropped this video on the 7th March…

This for me, means it is about to go down and hopefully put us all out of our misery. It can’t be long now…right?