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Washington Commanders Logo History

No NFL team has had as much fuss made about their logo and name as Washington has. It’s not even close.

In 2013, current Washington owner Daniel Snyder told USA Today that he would not change the name. He added the now famous, “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”

Obviously, Daniel Snyder decided he would change the name and logo. He did away with the name Redskins in 2020, in favor of Football Team. Never for the word Redskins to be uttered in print again it seems. With it went a logo and look that has stood virtually unchanged for almost five decades.

Washington’s quest for a new identity came when they re-named the team to the Washington Football Team, which was always just a stop gap. That’s when Snyder began talks with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about changing the name that was considered by some to be racist or offensive.

In 2022, Washington finally made the change to the name Commanders. It was met with very mixed reviews. The team kept its burgundy and gold colors but did away with Native American imagery.

At the unveiling of the new name and new uniforms, defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said:

“If you’re looking just at the name, well, the name doesn’t mean anything to you. There’s no history there. You’ve never seen anyone play for that team, there’s no uniforms, so obviously you’re not going to like it. But once you come out, you see the atmosphere, you see the new helmets, you see the new uniform, you see the players wearing it, you see the culture we’ve built around it, it’s going to make a lot of people happy.”

Washington Football Logos

Boston Braves Logo

1932 Logo

When the franchise was originally awarded to George Preston Marshall in 1932, it was in Boston. Initially they took on the exact name and the logo of the existing baseball team there – the Boston Braves. The logo utilized a single-color design of the side profile of a Native American in traditional feather headdress. It was only used for the 1932 season.

 

1933 to 1936 Boston Redskins Logo

1933-1936 Logo

In 1933, the franchise changed it’s name to the Boston Redskins. You will see different logos used for this time period in franchise history. This particular logo was chosen because early in 2021, an actual 1933 Boston Redskins jersey was found in a storage locker.

Once again, a side-facing Native American is used in the logo. This time, the full headdress has been replaced by two red feathers, as well as red garters in the braided hair.

1937 to 1951 logo

1937-1951 Logo

A facelift was in order when the franchise moved to D.C. and became the Washington Redskins in 1937. The side-facing Native American was more stern looking. The hair was now brown instead of black, and the skin-color a light brown. The garter in the hair was now white, and the feathers a deeper red, burgundy even. The whole head was surrounded by a yellowish-gold circle.

1952 to 1959 logo

1952-1959 Logo

All images of this logo look like they were photographed with a potato.

The team was re-branding to a more “realistic looking” head. The feathers and garters in the hair were changed from burgundy and white, to red and yellow. The hair was returned to a black color, and the face remained brown.

1960 to 1964 Logo

1960-1964 Logo

In 1960, it was back to simplicity. A deep red, one-color design of a Native American, facing right. It is almost a silhouette with only general lines defining the face, neck, two feathers, and hair tied into a bun. A white border was also used.

1965 to 1969 Logo

1965-1969 Logo

The franchise went in a completely different direction in 1965. The head was replaced with just a spear. A single hanging feather was used. A more goldish color took place of yellow, although you will see logo versions in white and yellow. The logo looked sharp against the burgundy backdrop that it was used against.


1970-1971 Logo

1970-1971 Logo

The arrival of Vince Lombardi in 1970, meant a drastic change. Consequently, a dark red letter “R” representing the team’s name, was placed on a white circular background, with a dark red circle around it. The Native American theme was kept, through the use of two feathers off to the side.

Other versions of this logo featured the same white feathers but with yellow tips, in place of the dark red.

1972 to 1981 Logo

1972-1981 Logo

The Redskins logo that was used for almost 50 years, was designed in 1971. It was designed by Walter “Blackie” Wetzel, a former President of the National Congress of American Indians and Chairman of the Blackfeet Nation.

Mr. Wetzel’s son Don made the remark in 2014:

It needs to be said that an Indian from the State of Montana created the Redskins logo, and did it the right way. It represents the Red Nation, and it’s something to be proud of.”

1982 logo

1982 Logo

The feathers being pressed to the side of the helmet were a marketing requirement. They were designed to fit into round helmet stickers. Furthermore, the Native American also faces in the opposite direction in this version.

1983 to 2019 Logo

1983-2019 Logo

The 1983-2019 version was a simplified version of the 1972 logo with minimal changes. Dark gray shadows were used on the nose, mouth and cheekbones, instead of black. The lines on the face were thickened slightly. The skin color was darkened a few tones. Even with two helmets from different eras side-by-side, the differences are minimal and hard to immediately recognize.

2020 to 2021 Logo

2020-2021 Logo

In 2020, Washington did away with the Native American imagery. Obviously the new design is completely different, but the burgundy and gold was retained. Both colors are a few tones darker . Exaggerated triangular serifs are used on all of the text in “Washington,” and in the big “W”. It is generally considered to just be a stop gap until the franchise announces it’s all new branding (again) in 2022.

Of note, the logo was not used on the burgundy helmet, opting instead to put the players’ number in gold.

New Commanders logo

2022- Now Logo

On February 2nd, 2022, Washington announced that their official name moving forward would be the Washington Commanders.

Once again, the burgundy and gold got a shade darker than the WFT logo, and this time, the serifs on the “W” were gone as well. They opted instead for a more three dimensional look, by outlining the burgundy “W” with the gold.

Their new helmets will also use a matte finish of burgundy, instead of the traditional satin finish.

 

Other Official Washington Branding

Anniversary Logos

1987

2002

2007

2012

2017

Disclaimer:

We hope that people are not offended by this page. It is here to recognize the history of the Washington franchise. It is not to make any political statement.

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