After decades of graphic tomfoolery, the Detroit Pistons returned to design sanity with the official revelation of their new (old?) logo today.

The Pistons basketball team has had decades of logo nonsense. For instance, in 1947, they had this doozy which was like a angry Michelin Man made of oil cans. The “Z” is for their founding owner, Fred Zollner. Imagine the children’s faces if this was the mascot today.

Then, for decades in Detroit from 1957 until the late 1970s, the Detroit Pistons had a series of logos that could be best described as their name on a patch.

In 1980, the Detroit Pistons adopted a logo that, in the heart of many long time Pistons fans, was simple. Compact. Said what it needed to say – this is a basketball team, it’s from Detroit, and we’re going to let our actions on the court do the talking. It was iconic, like the winged wheel or the old english D.

In 1996, the Detroit Pistons in a fit of attempting to be like everyone else in the country divorced that logo and embraced the terrible late-nineties craze of teal.

They basically abandoned their team colors for a ridiculous horse head on some sort of absurd exhaust pipe “Pistons” script in an attempt, possibly, to bring some “realism” to a logo that didn’t need fixing in the first place.  In fact, it was deemed one of the “Worst NBA logos of all time.”

There were some tweaks (like returning to the team’s actual color scheme later on), but the logo continued to be terrible. We’re going to leave their secondary logo right here without comment.

A representation of how silly our beloved team looked from 1996-2005, even while winning championships, is below.

In 2005, following another design trend we’ll call “make it utterly unremarkable” the Pistons went for a logo that although had a touch of respect to the iconic 1980 piece, was like the graphic designer just couldn’t keep his finger off of the warp distortion tool in Illustrator. It aged quickly.

And so we land on today’s announcement (every sports site seemed to leak it ahead of time, so it wasn’t a surprise) of the new logo, to coincide with the Detroit Pistons returning back to the city after nearly 40 years out in Pontiac and Auburn Hills.

The logo is a return back to sanity. The basketball is correct. the “blue collar” around the circle sends a subtle message. The custom font makes it stand out instead of being annoying, and it’s self-contained. Although modernized, it’s iconic, like a Detroit sports team deserves.

What do you think?

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