NFL Throwback Helmet Designs

My idea for this project came from looking through retired vintage logos and the history of each NFL team. My aim was to take vintage logos, revise and tweak them in Adobe Illustrator, and then add them into the current 2016 NFL Riddel Revolution helmet. I chose 6 NFL teams that had a rich history of colourful inspiring logos and branding and went through the process of learning more about each and took them from 20th Century to 21st Century. I’ve talked through all of my designs and decision below!



I started first of all with the Atlanta Falcons, the team I support (Rise Up Falcons Fans)! The previous logo featuring the black falcon with a red outline and white surround, this specific logo I chose was featured from 1966-1989, from 89 onwards to 2002 the Falcons dropped the red outline and opted for a purely black and white logo. for the main colour I went for a faded dark red to a slightly lighter red, with a black guard.


The second team I looked at was the 3rd time Superbowl Champions Denver Broncos, this logo being one of my favourites, with a bit of a nod to the NCAA logos featuring a Large College styled Letter D. It is also a logo with significant detail, used from 1970 – 1996 (with a slight revision in 1993) then was significantly simplified in 1997 into the Broncos logo that we all know today. For this design I focussed on a three tone scheme of colours, gradient dark to light blue background, the famous Broncos orange, and white for the logo outline and face guard.


The third team I chose was the 1968 Superbowl Champions the New York Jets, a team that kept the same colour scheme since their founding in the same year. The logo I featured here was used from 1978 – 1997, which as a logo was a bit of an anomaly, as it was the only New York Jets logo to not be reversed out white on green. For the design itself I decided to keep it simple, as a bit of a reflection on the current Jets branding. The Jets will always be a team that can nail the two-tone branding style.


The Seattle Seahawks have had their popularity boosted massively since winning the Superbowl in 2014. Their hawk mascot looked a lot more aggressive from 1976 – 2001, which had a bit of a restyle in 2002 into the current logo (with a sneaky colour change in 2012). I added a textured look to the background of this design, to make it look slightly like  the carbon fibre inspired colour design that the team are using nowadays. I used a limited palette of only three colours from the original logo throughout the design.


One of the NFL’s most recognised teams, 4 Time Superbowl Champions (1987, 1991, 2008, 2012), New York Giants. My decision here was as difficult as the New York Giants, the NY logo, or the Giants type logo. From 1961 to present the New York Giants have switched between todays NY logo and the Giants type which I featured in my design. This particular logo was used from 1976 – 1999, before the team reverted back to the NY logo that it is today. Personally I love the Giants type logo, as it separates the team from the New York Jets and the New York Yankees. I used the logo reversed out on a Giants blue, with the red accents on the stripe and face guard.


A logo that might not be recognised by many that are not familiar with the history of the NFL, The New England Patriots. 4 Time Superbowl Champions that have had their share in 21st Century wins (2002, 2004, 2005, 2015). Their logo undertook a vast change from the patriot character logo that I decided to feature in my design. From 1961 – 1992  (1960-1969 being the Boston Patriots) New England featured this red white and blue character about to hike the football. This character can easily be responsible for inspiring the current logo with the Silver Patriot with the white starred blue hat and red stripes. Keeping this in mind I stayed within the star spangled banners colour scheme and revived this loveable patriot character.



And last but not least (suggested by Instagram user @hambo1), 2 time Superbowl champions the Miami Dolphins. Easily one of the most stylish and colourful NFL teams, and one of the most recognised worldwide, the Miami Dolphins have stayed loyal to their dolphin mascot. The teal colours are inspired by South Florida’s Atlantic Ocean, with the orange representing the bright South Florida sun. Since 1966 their logo has remained fairly consistent, having being revised and simplified in 2013, losing the ‘m’ from the dolphin characters helmet. The change in 2013 was due to the teams opinion that “the dolphin to be in a more powerful and ascending position.” The particular logo I’ve featured here was retired in 1997 and replaced with a more stylised dolphin used from 1998-2012, with less hand drawn rough curves.


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