A new era always calls for a new beginning. But, you should never forget where you came from. As Don Draper once said nostalgia is delicate but potent. It’s a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. It isn’t a spaceship, it’s a time machine that allows us to travel back to a place where we know are loved.
Today, the Cleveland Cavaliers have introduced a refreshed brand identity with an updated logo collection that reflects today’s Cavaliers, a young, talented, up-and-coming team who are collectively defining a new era for the franchise. It also feels like a proper callback to the team's past, uniting fans old and new under one central identity. The design of the logo collection, led by Cavaliers Creative Director and internationally renowned artist Daniel Arsham, presents a simple, modernized, and powerful graphic that will feel new, yet familiar to fans.
But, before we break down this brand refresh, a little housekeeping note – on June 16, Right Down Euclid is partnering with Platform Beer Co. to have the first Right Down Euclid Community Happy Hour! It'll be from 5:30 p.m. EST to 7:30 p.m. EST at Phunkenship and all are welcome to come! Plus, for the first 50 people that arrive, drinks are on them!
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The new logo set is rooted in Cavaliers history and reveals the evolution of the team's brand by pulling cues from different eras to bring the spirit of the past into the future. Arsham’s influence is evident in the reductive and more refined look of the collection by simplifying it to four contemporary graphics that present continuity between then and now.
“Through the years there have been layered interpretations of the Cavs logos and color hues to represent the brand,” said Arsham. “In thinking about the next chapter of where to go with the design, the approach was to compose distilled versions of the logos to create a refreshed identity.”
Cavaliers Creative Director and Cleveland native Daniel Arsham spearheaded the rebranding and refresh of his hometown team by hearkening back to the 80s and 90s era of Cavaliers basketball.
The updated colorway of wine, gold and black, carries forward the same iconic Cavaliers wine and brings back a reflective, shiny, proper Cavaliers gold that originated in the early 80s but only lasted from 1981 to 1983. The more metallic gold re-emerged in the details of the 2003-10 era uniforms, which of course were made popular by the emergence of one LeBron James and is now considered iconic due to that era of Cavaliers basketball.
With the move back to what the organization considers the gold standard, gone is the mustard yellow representation of gold and the elimination of the color navy from the mix, with black becoming more of a primary color. The sword featured predominantly on the team's main crest as well as secondary logos, has also been removed entirely from the new logo collection. The shield logo, which was introduced as the team's global logo prior to the 2017-18 season, gets a refresh as well.
The fan-favorite "basket V" logo also makes a return as well. Originally joining the team's identity during the 1983-84 season, the logo has been requested to make a return on numerous occasions by fans. Now, it's back but with a more modern take on the design, joining the team's secondary logo and will likely be featured prominently on the team's new uniforms as well. Joining the "basket V" logo is also a font that takes inspiration from the look the team carried in the late 90s as well as on their latest uniform set.
This is the Cavaliers' first major brand identity change led by Arsham since he became the organization's creative director in 2020. Born in Cleveland and a Cavs fan at a young age, he called upon his own memories of watching the team play in the 80s and 90s in thinking about the creative approach.
“For the generations of Cavs fans who have been on this journey, I understand the nostalgia certain team insignia’s have for them, so it was important to be respectful to where we have been as we look to the future. I believe we accomplished that. The future is exciting and our city and fan base have embraced this new generation of incredible young players. As we enter a new era of Cavs basketball it is time to give them a mark of their own.”
The transition to the new brand identity will be complete for the start of the 2022-23 season, including the new Cavaliers Statement, Icon and Association Edition uniforms to be unveiled later this summer. The team's new City Edition uniform, meanwhile, will likely debut at a later date.
When it comes to the Cleveland Charge, the Cavaliers' G League affiliate, meanwhile, no changes will be coming to their uniforms this upcoming season. Sources say the discussions remain ongoing to try and match the main club's look. But, those same sources say that the change won't happen until the 2023-24 NBA G League season at the earliest.
Fans who want to get an early preview of the Cavaliers' new branded merchandise that includes a selection of shirts, hats, polos, and novelty items are now available online at the team's shop. Again, the team's new uniforms will come at a later date after they are revealed this summer. But, there is plenty of memorabilia to peruse until then.
Evan Dammarell is a sports journalist covering all things Cleveland right off the shores of Lake Erie. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Did you enjoy this edition of Right Down Euclid? You can get it in your inbox two to three times a week by subscribing here. All it takes is either your Facebook account or email address!