Miami Dolphins, the oldest sports team in Florida and the first football team in the southeast, were only the third National Football League (NFL) team to achieve a perfect regular season. Dolphins also have the distinction of being the second team in NFL history to win back-to-championships.
Despite their success, the Dolphins have seen their share of failures. Though the Dolphins have seen a lot of ups and downs, they have always found a way to reinvent themselves and so has their logo.
The Miami Dolphins logo has well adapted itself with time and remains one of the most recognizable icons in the US. Before I begin to analyze the logo and how it has evolved over the years, let me tell you a little bit more about the Dolphins.
Founded by actor Danny Thomas and attorney-politician Joe Robbie, the Dolphins began their journey in 1966 by participating in the American Football League (AFL). Led by head coach Don Shula for most of its early history, the Miami Dolphins went on to conquer several seasons of the NFL.
Apart from Dolphins’ illustrious history, they are also known for their rivalries. Dolphins’ most popular rivals are Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots and New York Jets.
Here is a video that takes a look back at the history of Miami Dolphins:
T.D. (The Dolphin) is the official mascot of the Miami Dolphins. T.D. first appeared in 1997 and has been an integral part of the Dolphins since then.
Related: The secret power of brand mascots
The Miami Dolphins logo: meaning and history
The Dolphins logo has remained reasonably consistent throughout its history. Aqua and coral, the team’s original color, were used to symbolize the natural coral reefs in Biscayne Bay.
Biscayne Bay has the world’s third largest barrier reef tract which is now suffering from global warming and rising pollution levels in the seas. Human activities such as overfishing and anchoring are also causing damage to the coral reefs. However, several organizations are taking positive steps to protect the coral reef. The logo never fails to transport one to the amazing beaches located by the Biscayne Bay and the lovely Biscayne National Park known for its coral reefs.
The original logo of the Dolphins featured a leaping dolphin with a helmet bearing the alphabet “M” in the middle of a sunburst.
The logo beautifully highlights what the Dolphins stand for – energy, kindness, victory and protection. The dolphin and the sun quickly remind one of organic natural beauty found in the Biscayne area.
The Dolphins logo largely remained the same up until 2013 when the insignia first got its major overhaul. The visual identity of the Miami Dolphins saw another upgrade in 2018 and has been conveying the brand story to the present day.
The journey of the Miami Dolphins logo has been very interesting so far. The teal dolphin in the middle of an orange circle, representing the sun, has been the centerpiece of the iconic logo.
There have been six upgrades so far including two major overhauls in 2013 and 2018, but the centerpiece of the logo has never changed.
- Wins: 68
- Losses: 48
- Ties: 3
- Super Bowl Titles: 2
The first logo of the Miami Dolphins featured a sunburst symbolized by a large orange circle with numerous straight lines around it. The emblem also featured a smiling teal dolphin in the middle of the circle wearing a helmet bearing the letter “M.”
The logo symbolizes kindness, creativity, agility, speed and energy. The diving dolphin also symbolized victory over the toughest adversary.
The footprints of the 1966 logo can still be seen in the modern logo designed in 2018.
While all the elements of the visual identity from the 1966 logo remained the same, some subtle changes were made to boost the appearance. The white, blue and orange ball atop the dolphin’s head was enlarged and so was the new serif orange “M.” The letter now appeared more visible and distinct. The curves depicted as sun’s rays were smoothened and the lines appeared more elongated.
The Miami Dolphin logo had gained extreme popularity by the 1980’s, albeit changes were still in the cards. Just like the 1974 insignia, only minor changes were made to the iconic logo. The color palette was made more prominent by deepening the orange and adding a more greenish tone to the turquoise. The letter “M” was enlarged further by changing the typeface to a bolder one.
The 1997 version of the logo saw some visually prominent changes. Visually cool, the Dolphins logo appeared more contemporary. The dolphin and the sun appeared thicker and a bit darker. The mascot was given a dark blue retouch. The face of the dolphin was more detailed than before. The sun’s rays were removed making it appear more slick and minimalist.
Keeping up with times, the Miami Dolphins overhauled its visual identity in 2013. The new logo was based on the original 1966 version, albeit with definitive changes. Unlike the Miami Dolphins retro logo, the new logo was redesigned to showcase the club’s progress over the years. The helmet was removed from the dolphin’s head and the contours on its body were cleaned. The lines around the sun were sharpened and elongated. Apart from being contemporary, the new visual identity highlighted the club’s progress over the years.
- Wins: 38
- Losses: 42
- Ties: 0
The 2018 redesign was just another step in making the 2013 logo appear smoother and more dramatic. The redesign was all about the changing of color palette. The orange of the sun was made darker bringing it closer to red—the color of passion and extreme energy. The change definitely made the new emblem appear more powerful and dynamic.
The evolution of the Miami Dolphins logo has been an interesting one. From the fun 1966 logo to the dynamic present day emblem, the Dolphins insignia has truly highlighted its progress whilst maintaining its iconic visual elements.
The Miami Dolphins logo: color palette
The iconic Dolphins logo features an interesting mix of colors that symbolize various things. Inspired by the bright Florida sun, the orange has been used in the Dolphins emblem to symbolize brightness, victory and energy.
The teal color was inspired by the Atlantic Ocean and represents clarity of thought. The teal dolphin used in the logo has become an iconic symbol throughout the US.
Navy blue was also introduced in the 1997 logo which evoked the feeling of authority and power. However, the shade was removed for the logo’s later editions.
The Miami Dolphins logo: font
The only alphabet that was ever used in the Miami Dolphins logo was “M.” Though there were several updates made to the font, the clear serif type did not find its place after the 2013 redesign of the club’s visual identity.
The Miami Dolphins logo: is it truly great?
Style, fashion, trends and music keep changing and evolving and to keep up with the changing times one really needs to be on their toes all the time. However, there are some things that just don’t change and keep reinventing themselves through the changing times. A great logo is a piece of art that has certain qualities that make it truly memorable and timeless.
Is the Miami Dolphins logo truly great? Let us find out by exploring how the logo performs under 4 different parameters.
#1 Relevant: One of the key factors that can truly set a logo apart is its relevance. You may have a great logo, but what use is it if it does not convey your brand story? A logo becomes relevant through the use of colors and images it contains.
The Miami Dolphins logo features a teal dolphin in the middle of a bright sun. The bright sun is symbolic of Florida and the teal dolphin symbolizes beaches around Miami and amazing diversity of species found in the Atlantic. The ball atop the dolphin’s head with the letter “M ” engraved suggests Miami Dolphins Football Club. The logo beautifully narrates the brand story in a matter of seconds.
#2 Memorable: One of the key traits of a great logo is its memorability factor. A logo truly becomes memorable when various visual elements align itself in a balanced manner and connect with the audience. The better a logo connects with the audience the better it scores in the memorability quotient. Therefore, you must strive to make the logo easy to remember.
The human brain tends to simplify things in order to remember it. Hence, an object or a thing which is already simplified becomes more retainable by the brain.
The Miami Dolphin logo scores the maximum in the memorability quotient since people around the world easily remember the iconic dolphin in the middle of a sun.
#3 Simplicity: Whoever said ‘simplicity is a virtue’ couldn’t have been truer. It is only the foolish who undermine the power of simplicity. Some of the greatest logos are probably also the simplest. Be it the Nike ‘swoosh’ or the golden arches of McDonald’s, simple logos have always been popular around the world.
The reason behind simple logos gaining popularity is the fact that it is easily retained by the brain. People don’t have to spend more than a few seconds to remember simple logos.
The Dolphins logo scores really high in the simplicity criteria. The logo is both simple and dynamic at the same time. It is this mix of the two that sets the Miami Dolphins logo apart from the crowd.
#4 Timeless: A timeless piece of art always remains relevant and finds a way to express itself in many ways. A timeless logo never fails to connect with its audience regardless of the time it is being used in. A timeless logo is all about quality leaving no place for complex ideas. A timeless logo is both simple and attractive.
The Miami Dolphins logo first came into existence in 1966 and immediately connected with people. The iconic insignia is still new and never ceases to amaze audiences. Though the emblem has gone through a few rebranding in its history, the elements that make the logo iconic have never been changed.
The Miami Dolphins memorable victories
After completing the first perfect season in NFL history in 1972, the Miami Dolphins won the Super Bowls title that year. The next year, the Dolphins again won the series becoming only the second team in NFL history to win back-to-back championships.
Apart from these, the Dolphins have won several awards, including NFL Most Valuable Player Award, NFL Offensive Player of the Year, NFL Most Offensive Rookie of the Year and NFL Most Defensive Rookie of the Year, among others.
The oldest team in Florida, the Miami Dolphins truly has a logo to be proud of. The logo and the mascot have become extremely popular over the years. Timeless and memorable, the Dolphin logo always leaves a deep impression on its audience.
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