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History in Wrigleyville: Vintage Cubs Memorabilia & Logo Designs

By: Jessica Farris | October 24, 2016

As a former Chicago resident who lived within two blocks of Wrigley Field, I have to admit my bias here. I’m still in awe from the World Series: Who would have thought the Cubs would beat the Curse of the Billy Goat after 108 years? Thus, I elected to dig into some vintage Cubs memorabilia and other ephemera from the team’s previous heyday (which, admittedly, almost no living person currently remembers). Take a glimpse at a visual history of Cubs graphics below.


The Evolution of the Chicago Cubs Logo Design


In 1870, the Chicago Cubs started playing as the Chicago White Stockings, first as a traveling team before the team joined the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (NAPBBP). Although they were nicknamed “the Cubs” as early as 1902, the Cubs name wasn’t official until 1906. The signature blue has been part of the uniforms since 1901, and the large “C” with “ubs” inside has been a fixture in the logo design off and on since 1918. Take a look at a few past Cubs logo designs:


1903-1905

1907

1908-1910 (and thereafter with a blue version of the same bear)

An alternate logo from the same time period


[Related: Have you created an exceptional typographic or hand-lettered design? Enter it into the Typography & Lettering Awards!]

1919

1927 – 1936

1934 (cap logo)

1949 – 1961 (alternate logo)

1962 – 1971

1979 – present

1979 – present (alternate logo)


Vintage Cubs Memorabilia


As American as… well, baseball, Cubs-related graphic ephemera has greatly influenced the appearance of sports-related design work, even today. It’s particularly interesting to see how the illustrations of Clark the Cub (for that is his name) evolved over the years:


1960s Chicago Cubs buttons


[Related reading: Chicago World’s Fair Memorabilia: A Century Of Progress, 1933-34 | Impact vs. Recognition: A Design Mystery in Chicago’s Hyde Park]


Dorothy & Otis Shepard


In the 1930s and 40s, the work of designers Dorothy and Otis Shepard defined not only the Cubs, but the aesthetic of baseball. A few years ago, Michael Dooley discussed their total identity overhaul of the Chicago Cubs that set the standard for marketing sports teams, as told through the recent book Dorothy and Otis: Designing the American Dream. From signage and scoreboards to tickets, programs and yearbook covers, the Shepards’ signature illustration style appeared on Cubs products and gear and redefined the way Americans envisioned baseball as part of the American Dream—showcased here on these scorecards and programs:


A program from the last time the Cubs went to the World Series


Learn more in these courses from HOW Design University:

  1. Earn a Certificate in Branding

  2. Logo Design Basics

  3. Typography 101: Letterform Design

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