Atlanta Hawks Logo

Atlanta Hawks logo
Atlanta Hawks Logo PNG

Nobody in the NBA traveled around the states and cities so much like this team, one of the oldest in the league. Hawks were founded in 1946 in the NBL league and were called Buffalo Bisons. During the first season, before the New Year, the team flew out of Buffalo, landed in Illinois, and was named the Black Hawks.
More precisely, the club was called Tri-Cities Black hawks. Tri-Cities means a region of three cities. It is about three small settlements on the border of Illinois and Iowa. They were named Black Hawks for the same reason as their namesake from the NHL – in honor of the Indian leader, who brought his tribe to the warpath in the middle of the 19th century.

Tri-Cities became one of the few clubs that survived their league. NBL, where such teams like Indianapolis Kautskys played, merged with the Basketball Association of America in 1949, creating the NBA. The black hawks, however, did not stay in Illinois, and in 1951 moved to the north.

Being in Wisconsin, the agricultural state, the executives realized that the name of the redoubtable leader was out of place, and they reduced the club name to Milwaukee Hawks. However, the second experiment also failed, and in four years, the Hawks moved to St. Louis, where they remained the name and began to play in a red-white-blue uniform. The design of the uniform was different: sometimes, the team performed with the image of hawks or St. Louis on their chest. Also, there were times when they didn’t use the pictures mentioned above.

In St. Louis, the club spent 13 seasons and even became the NBA champion, but then they decided to change the residence permit again. It was supposed to be the last moving. Thus, in 1968 Hawks settled in Atlanta, where the team has been playing to this day. The team doesn’t have champion titles but is proud of a rich history of club colors and emblems.

Meaning and History

Atlanta Hawks Logo History
Evolution of the Atlanta Hawks Logo

What is Atlanta Hawks?

This is a team that emerged in 1946 and changed many names before becoming the Atlanta Hawks. She participates in the National Basketball Association of the North American League as part of the Southeast Division. As of 2021, the venue for her home games is State Farm Arena, and most of the team’s shares are owned by American billionaire Antony P. Ressler.

This is a very long-standing team that has counted their careers since the middle of the last century. Its logo has existed for the same time, passing through the entire history of the franchise in the form of a formidable hawk. The bird of prey is depicted on almost all of the corporate emblems, except one. There are eleven of them in total. For the first thirty-eight days since its inception, the franchise was named Buffalo Bisons. Then she moved to Moline, Illinois, and got a different name. In 1973, the logo featured the hawk’s head resembling the character of the computer toy PacMan that came back in 2014.

1946 – 1951

Tri City Blackhawks Logo 1946-1951

The club’s official history began with the name Tri-City Blackhawks. It was this phrase that formed the basis of the debut logo in the form of a basketball. There are three thin stripes on a blue background: one in the center and two along the edges, forming an oval inscribed in a circle. It also mentions several cities: Moline / Rock Island, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa. They are separated by the command name, placed horizontally in two lines.

1951 – 1955

Milwaukee Hawks Logo 1951-1955

When the club took the name Milwaukee Hawks, the logo was redesigned. Its only element was a hawk carrying a ball in its claws. A bird flapping its wings throws it into a basketball basket. At the bottom, there is an inverted arch inscription MILWAUKEE HAWKS. All details are in the red outline. Some areas are completely colored.

1955 – 1957

St. Louis Hawks Logo 1955-1957

In 1955, the franchise moved again, as a result of it becoming known as St. Louis Hawks. During this period, the designers changed the layout of the elements and proposed a version with a black flying predator and a disproportionately large ball in its claws.

1957 – 1968

St. Louis Hawks Logo 1957-1968

At the beginning of this period, a new emblem was approved – brief and very simple. There are no unnecessary elements on it – only a hawk standing with a ball under his armpit. He is wearing a sports uniform and knee pads. All elements are white with red edging.

1968 – 1969

Atlanta Hawks Logo 1968-1969

This logo is the same as the previous one: a hawk holding a basketball. It has a sharp, hooked beak, a serious piercing look, and a Hawks logo. The designers removed the text under the bird and changed the red outline to black.

1969 – 1970

Atlanta Hawks Logo 1969-1970

Experiments after the team moved to a new location and the transition to Atlanta Hawk’s status continued with the update of the logo. It depicts a hawk running with a ball to the right. The position of the paws transmits the movement: one is standing, the other is raised. The wings-arms “work” in a similar way: the left one is laid back, and the right one is dribbling the ball. White T-shirt with red lettering and knee pads remain the same.

1970 – 1972

Atlanta Hawks Logo 1970-1972

The emblem of this period received a radically different design. It consists of two parts: graphic and text. The first is a round icon, inside of which is a schematic image of a sharp-billed hawk. It is located in a green circle with a blue outline that blends into the image of a bird of prey. On the right is the club’s stylized name in rounded capital letters.

1972 – 1995

Atlanta Hawks Logo 1972-1995

In 1972, a new sports complex was opened in Atlanta. Also, a hockey team Flames was founded at that time. In this regard, Hawks painted the uniform in the red, white, and yellow, the colors of their hockey brothers. The version of the new logo, proposed by the developers in 1972, has the most impressive design. He resembles Pacman – a character in a famous computer game. But in fact, a hawk is drawn on the round symbol: its outlines are represented by a solid red line connecting the outline of the ring with the outline of the bird’s head directed to the right.

1995 – 2007

Atlanta Hawks Logo 1995-2007

In 1995, the emblem underwent significant changes: a realistic hawk is depicted in flight with widespread wings. It is in profile, so it looks straight. The look is formidable, intimidating to impress the opponents. In hooked claws, the bird holds a basketball. The beak and paws are yellow; the plumage is dark red, the tail and wingtips are black, the ball is light brown. The inscription “ATLANTA HAWKS” is placed above the hawk.

2007 – 2015

Atlanta Hawks Logo 2007-2015

In 2007, executives made the next step in changing the image of the club. After the redesign, the developers left the same logo, except for the font and color scheme. They removed yellow from the palette, changed black to blue, and painted the ball gray.

2015 – today

Atlanta Hawks Logo 2015-Present

Why did Atlanta Hawks change their logo?

In the early years, the team changed the logo due to renaming and relocation. When it became the Atlanta Hawks in 1968, design experimentation didn’t end. In 2015, the basketball club revived the iconic Pac-Man hawk-headed emblem because the previous version with a flying bird was too big and complicated. On the other hand, today’s logos are simple and round.

In 2015, introduced new Atlanta Hawks emblem and also announced the change of the official name of the organization to Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club. But according to the NBA rules, it is forbidden to reuse an old copy of the emblem. The emblem of 1972-1995 was taken as the basis for the modern version. It is in print form with a redesigned “Pacman” in the center. Thanks to the wide lines, the outline of the hawk is now clearly visible. Behind it is a wide, solid circle with the words ATLANTA HAWKS (above) and BASKETBALL CLUB (below). All elements are taken in a double ring.

Font and Color of the Emblem

Atlanta Hawks Emblem

Did Atlanta Hawks change their logo?

Yes, the Atlanta Hawks logo was redesigned in 2020. The designers have retained the overall concept and structure. They just removed the word “CLUB,” made the font clearer to make the lettering easier to read, and increased the contrast between the background and light elements by darkening the red by a couple of shades.

Who designed the Atlanta Hawks logo?

The bird-headed logo, unveiled in 1972 and dubbed Pac-Man, was created by young designer Bob Wages, who recently took a job at McDonald & Little. It is this hawk pattern that has been integrated into the modern emblem of the sports franchise.

Why is MLK on the Hawks jersey?

The mysterious letter “MLK” on the Atlanta Hawks form stands for “Martin Luther King Jr.” It is a tribute to a community leader born in Atlanta and became the basic black civil rights movement leader. He advocated the practice of non-violent protests. At the same time, 22 stars on basketball shorts indicate the number of his arrests.

Each version of the corporate logo echoes the Hawks’ name, which is why they feature a hawk – from anthropomorphic to realistic. It has a menacing look, a sharp beak, clawed paws, and a basketball. The latest modification of the emblem is presented in the form of a classic rondel.

Atlanta Hawks Symbol

The text is of secondary importance, so the typeface is simple and discreet. The current logo uses chopped grotesque because there are no classic serifs in it. But there are hook-like mini-protrusions on the sides of the letters – a reminder of the sharp beak of a bird of prey. The signature palette includes red, black, and white. Blue and gray were also used for a while.

Atlanta Hawks color codes

Torch Red Hex color: #e03a3e
RGB: 225 58 62
CMYK: 0 91 76 6
Pantone: PMS 186 C
Volt Green Hex color: #c1d32f
RGB: 196 214 0
CMYK: 29 2 100 0
Pantone: PMS 382 C
Charcoal Hex color: #26282a
RGB: 38 40 42
CMYK: 73 65 62 67
Pantone: PMS 426 C