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Arizona Cardinals Rebrand Concept

A new face for the oldest team in the NFL

The Arizona Cardinals are a football team based in Phoenix, Arizona. Founded in 1898 in Chicago, the team was initially known as the Morgan Athletic Club and later became the Racine Cardinals before settling as the Chicago Cardinals in 1922. The team moved to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1960 and was known as the St. Louis Cardinals until 1988. In 1988, the franchise relocated to Arizona.

Current Branding

Despite changing towns, The Cardinal’s brand has largely remained unchanged since adopting the original Cardinal head in the 1970. It was modernized in 2005, but even then it doesn’t play into Arizona.

The first Cardinal head design from 1970 vs the modern Cardinal head from 2005

Why Maroon?

There is an excellent story as to why the Cardinals use maroon, and it’s a throwback to the very foundation of the team. Chris O’Brien, a painting and building contractor from Chicago, founded an amateur football team called the “Morgan Athletic Club” in 1898. Of course, at this time, football was not the money maker it is today. A thrifty O’Brien decided to purchase second-hand maroon uniforms from the University of Chicago, but the color had faded significantly. When O’Brien noticed this, he said, “That’s not maroon; it’s cardinal red!”. This prompted the team to begin using the Cardinals moniker.

The Rebrand


These are the ARIZONA Cardinals. I wanted to make sure this logo felt like it. I incorporated a large yellow sun as a backdrop for our new rising Cardinal, as Arizona is very sunny. I brightened the cardinal red and kept the maroon for historical purposes. I wish I could have used navy, as that is the third prominent color in the Arizona flag, but there are enough red and blue teams out there. Red, yellow, and maroon will make the Cardinals unique, at least on the west coast, rather than trying to cram a navy.

The Rising… Cardinal?

A little confession: I love Cardinals. They are my favorite birds, and I have a superstitious love for them, as historically, they’ve always been a good omen for me. When I see one, I know I’m moving in the right direction, and that good things are just around the corner.

That all said, they’re a weird mascot. They’re not big like Eagles, strong like Ospreays(seahawks), or fearsome like Falcons. They’re just pretty birds. However, there is a mythological bird called the Phoenix, who is reborn through fire. The Cardinals happen to play just outside a city called Phoenix. I wanted to illustrate the Cardinal rising to the hot Arizona sun like a Phoenix rising through the flames.

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