Washington Redskins: The Name, The Logo And The Controversy

Hail to the Redskins!

Hail victory!

Braves on the warpath

Fight for old D.C.

Run or pass or score —we want a lot more

Beat ‘em, swamp ‘em,

Touchdown…let the points soar!

Hail to the Redskins,” the popular war song of the Washington Redskins, was written to complement the image of the football team that drew its inspiration from the Native American warriors. However, the lyrics were later changed because they allegedly promoted racism. The logo and the franchise name also shared a similar fate, but more on that in the latter part of the article.

 Here is the popular “Hail to the Redskins” war song—the oldest fight song in American professional football history.

The Washington Redskins: A brief history

The Washington Football team, formerly known as the Washington Redskins, was founded in 1932 as the Boston Braves. The team has the distinction of being among the only five to have won over 600 NFL games.

The phenomenal team record does not stop there, the Washington Redskins won two NFL championship games and three Super Bowls apart from winning several division titles and postseason matches.

The franchise was founded by George Preston Marshall, who owned it till his death in 1969. The team was renamed “Redskins” from Boston Braves after they moved to Fenway Park. From their on-field success to their off the field controversies, the Washington Redskins have a long history to tell.

The Washington Redskins: Logo

Washington Redskins Logo History from 1932

The Washington Redskins logo has been redesigned over 10 times in its history. However, the 89-year old club has always stuck to its central theme—the face of a Native American warrior. Though the club had to rename the franchise and change the visual identity of the club in 2020, its legendary status remains untouched.


Inspired by the spirit and power of the Native Americans, the Washington Redskins logo had a mystical and raw aura. The warrior song along with the depiction of a Native American face in their logo made the Washington Redskins appear invincible on-field.

Though the new logo is completely different, it is still connected with the old emblem in terms of its color selection—the yellow and the burgundy color palette.


The club has gone through eleven redesigns in its history. Lets us take a quick tour:


The legendary football franchise was formed in 1932 and so was the club’s first logo. The visual identity of the Boston Braves featured a Native American man in red and white wearing a feathery headgear. The red and white color combination symbolizes passion, aggression, peace and mysticism. Red has been used to form the face and the head gear while the white brilliantly outlines the inner details.


The franchise was renamed Boston Redskins in 1933. The logo was redesigned to compliment the club’s new name. The Native American man in monochrome became the centerpiece of the insignia; however, he now faced right. The feathery headgear was replaced by two white feathers in his black hair within a double circular frame in orange and black.


The Redskins got a new name again in 1937 as the franchise moved to Washington. With its new name, the Washington Redskins also got a new look. The logo became more detailed and intricate. The monochrome Red Indian man got a more natural looking skin tone. Details were added to his hair and the white feathers were turned burgundy. The double circular frame was replaced by a dark gold one.


The 1952 logo redesign saw new things being added and some older elements being removed. The circular frame from the emblem was removed while the hair and face were detailed. The two feathers were now in yellow and red and the face appeared more prominent. The logo looked energetic and vibrant.


The 1960 redesign saw the club using its first badge used in 1932. The new logo also repeated the original color palette: red and white. The only visual difference in the way the colors were used. White became the main color and red was used for the outlines and the background of the badge. The circular frame returned with the 1960 edition of the logo.


Be it home décor or emblems, minimalism always wins the race. The 1965 rendition of the logo clearly derived its inspiration from minimalism.  The logo did not have the Native Indian man as the main design; instead, the emblem featured an arrow with a feather attached to it. Apart from the white and yellow color scheme, the logo featured a thin burgundy outline.


The club saw a complete logo overhaul in 1970. The new Redskins logo featured a thick circular burgundy frame with a bold letter “R” written inside it. The font used for the letter “R” was a custom serif typeface with smooth outline. The only thing relatable from the previous logos was the use of feathers. The white and yellow feathers were attached to the frame.


The Native American man made a comeback after a gap of over five years. The color palette was renewed as well. The fresh looking logo featured white, yellow and brown color schemes. While the two feathers from the 1970 design remained, the color of the circular frame was changed to yellow. The new Washington Redskins logo appeared energetic and bright.


The logo was the last in the series featuring the Native American man. Just like the 1932 version, the man in the logo looked towards his left. However, the color schemes in the 1983 version remained the same. The circular frame remained, however the feathers attached to frames were now at the right side.


Following various controversies, the legendary club changed its visual identity in 2020. The new logo features yellow and burgundy color schemes.  The logo is a yellow rectangular with burgundy lettering that says “WASHINGTON Football Team, East 1932.” The only connection the logo has with its older version is the color palette.

Color palette & font

Washington Redskins Color Palette and Font

The Washington Redskins have been fairly consistent with their color palette. Yellow, white, burgundy, brown and black have been used by the franchise. However, the various color schemes were never used together.

Just like the color scheme, the franchise has been consistent with its use of fonts. The logos, by and large, have been executed by solid san serif. 

The Washington Redskins: Name and logo controversy

The use of the word ‘Redskins’ and the depiction of an aboriginal American man in the Washington Redskins logo had been under question by several Native American groups since the 1960s.

Following a wave of protests after the brutal murder of George Floyd in July 2020, several sponsors pressurized the franchise to change its name. Some major sponsors even threatened to stop supporting them.

The club finally changed its name and decided to retire its iconic logo.

Washington’s NFL team has confirmed that they will call themselves the ‘Washington Football Team,’ effective immediately, reported the Independent.

“Native American groups have long argued that both the name of the team and the main logo are racist, with support for a change increasing alongside the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd,” the report further stated.

The Washington Redskins: Logo evaluation

The Washington Redskins or the Washington Football Team has a rich history to tell. But, do they perform as well as they do in the playing field when it comes to their logo? Let’s find out.


Apart from communicating a brand’s personality, a relevant logo works as an anchor that guides the consumers to understand what the company is about. A designer or a brand achieves this through visual elements such as colors, fonts, and symbols.

The iconic Redskins logos have always communicated the brand’s personality to the tee. The colors and symbols associated with the franchise only heightened the club’s aura.


A memorable logo sticks in the minds of the consumers; therefore, an emblem should strive to be unique for it to be memorable.

Designs play an undeniable role in making a logo memorable. The psychology of design in sales and marketing is effectively applied by big companies. Here is an amazing read on how marketers use the psychology of design:

The Washington Redskins logo has always attracted fans and supporters making it one of the most memorable logos of all time. The club was faced with a difficult choice when it had to retire the old one and adopt a new one in 2020.


A simple logo always has an upper hand over its complicated counterparts. Various psychology-based reports suggest that simple structures and things are easily retained by the brain. Therefore, simple logos are preprogrammed to be retained by the brain.

Be it the circular-framed logo with the face of a Native American man, or the minimal arrow and feathers emblem, the Washington Redskins logos have always captured the imagination of its fans and supporters.


Though the Redskins logo was redesigned almost a dozen times, it never really changed its timeless elements.

A timeless logo adapts and evolves with time: the Washington Redskins logo is a prime example.

The Washington Redskins logo stands victorious in the ‘logo test’ section!


From its choice of unique colors and fonts to selecting distinctive symbols, the Washington Redskins logos have always stood out from the crowd. While it is true that the Redskins logos have seen its share of controversies, the club will always be remembered for its amazing on-field performances and its iconic logo!

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