New Miami Marlins "Rainbow Bright" Logo Way Off Base

So far the biggest story to come out of baseball’s early off-season isn’t some splashy free agent signing or the abrupt retirement of St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa, but that of the logo and uniform redesign of the Florida Marlins. If you haven’t seen the new look yet, it will be officially announced on Friday the 11th. But some early peeks have been making their way around the internet (caveat: these renderings have not been confirmed but a few trusted baseball reporters claim they’re the real deal). If you have seen them already, you might not have believed your eyes. In fact, when some of the images of the new logo were leaked there was such shock and disbelief by the baseball world, most people assumed it was a farce, calling the look everything from “Hawaiian Shaved Ice” to “Push-up Pop” to “Rainbow Bright.”

Florida Marlins

The rebrand was planned as part of the team’s big move to their new stadium, New Marlins Ballpark (which also sports a logo with a rainbow motif), a baseball-only park with a retractable roof to keep the tropical rains away. With a name like New Marlins Ballpark, the powers-that-be decided the team needed a new identity as well. So not only are the uniform colors radically different, but the team will now be called the Miami Marlins.

Gone is the teal, silver, and black color scheme the team has worn since its inception in 1993 (and in which it won two World Series), and in its place, as you can see, is a curious combination of oranges, yellows, blues and assorted other bright hues. Gone too is the detailed illustration of the eponymous fish, bursting around and through the logo with furious determination. Instead there is now a whimsical suggestion of a marlin swooshing from some unclear source out of the Aztec-influenced M letterform. Whatever its origin, one thing is sure: the overall effect is anything but intimidating.

In addition to the new logo and color scheme, new uniforms will also be revealed. Again, this look isn’t certain to be the one unveiled on Thursday (and in light of all the backlash, it’s entirely possible the Marlins’ design team has gone back to the drawing board) but this is what has been floating around the ether and seems to make sense based on the logo. White home jerseys with black caps. Away grays with a radically out of place blue cap (that strangely echo the original Tampa Bay Devil Rays uniforms). And some assortment of combinations for Fridays and other games.

Apparently the team’s (and stadium’s) colorful new look is meant to reflect the multicultural heritage of the many diverse ethnic groups living in the area. But you have to wonder if the Marlins’ head honchos learned nothing from the atrocious Houston Astros uniforms of the mid 1970s (known as the “rainbow era”) that made even Nolan Ryan and J.R. Richard, at left, (two of the era’s most dominating pitchers) look a tad sheepish.

Not to say orange is a bad choice for a sports team (the Giants, Orioles, and Tigers pull it off pretty well), but it does require some tasteful design skill and a healthy grasp of workable color palettes.

Perhaps it’s not the worst logo ever (for some ideas on that front click here); there are always the Chicago White Sox shorts and collared unis from the ’80s to claim that distinction. But if this is indeed the look of the new Miami Marlins, my guess is it won’t be around long.

10 thoughts on “New Miami Marlins "Rainbow Bright" Logo Way Off Base

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  2. Russell Jacobs

    Nice! I’ve always thought the Marlin’s logo was pretty cool. The new logo may take some getting used to but I welcome the retro throwback. It’s COOL! If I see a ball cap in stores with a Marlin’s retro redesign then I am definetly buying one. Good job.

  3. Chuck Thurmon

    It’s not bad design. In fact it looks pretty well thought out. The logo and the wordmark work pretty well together. And it makes the original identity look a bit dated and staide. The colors certainly don’t reflect my taste but I guess I understand what they were aiming for. And I think it’s a bit unfair to compare it to the old Astros uniforms. (They didn’t cross that line). If I had to guess I bet they were hoping to appeal to a younger audience and trying to imply more fun and energy. But yeah they do run the risk of appearing too trendy. It would be a simple matter to tone down the colors and keep the main design elements like the marlin and the logotype treatments, which I think are fairly safe and successful. (BTW: Apple computer originally had a multi-colored logo). I think the bigger and more important question is whether or not we really need baseball.

  4. Paul Eugene Des Marais

    Let’s see: orange as in Florida oranges. Yellow as in Florida lemons. Sky blue as in Flroda skies. Wow! They sure did not miss a beat. Judy Garland would be proud of this new version of OVER THE RAINSBOW! Let’s meet the COLORFUL Miami Marlins!

  5. Emm

    I don’t really think the logo is that bad except that it’s too far a departure from the original logo. WHY did they need to get rid of the teal and change it to blue? What’s with the black and orange, a.k.a Halloween colors? 
    I like the clean lines of the ‘M’ its more retro and clean, which I like. I don’t understand why the MARLIN has been so distorted so that it isn’t even recognizable?
    It would’ve been nice to make the marlin more like American Indian animal fetish art, kind of like the last season orca logo for the Vancuver Canucks.
    I think the designer should’ve used black, white, silver and tones of teal for the logo and maybe introduced gold or yellow or orange to give the logo and uniforms a new look.
    This is just too far of a departure. Blech.