The Carolina Panthers are a professional football team located in Charlotte, North Carolina. The franchise was founded by Jerry Richardson, who in 1987 announced a bid for establishing a new NFL team in Carolina and paid a $ 206-million entry fee. In 1993, the Carolina Panthers became the 29th franchise of the league; in 1995, they joined the National Football League.
When pondering about the team name, Jerry Richardson neither organized focus groups nor held name-the-team contests. The name was chosen by his son Mark, the current president of the club. He single-handedly approved “Panthers” – a word to symbolize courage, strength, and grace. Jerry Richardson welcomed this idea and even changed the license plate number to PNTHRS in 1989.
By the time the Carolina Panthers were announced as the 29th NFL team, they had already had a brand identity. However, the representatives of the NFL Properties much criticized the black, blue, and silver color scheme selected by Mark. They considered that a club called Panthers with black team symbols could attract the attention of street gangs, which would certainly ruin the franchise reputation.
Since the first efforts to founding the Carolina Panthers in the late 1980s, Jerry Richardson has been the face of the team’s ownership group, but he’s not the only partner. In fact, from 1993 to 2018, the franchise was 48% owned by the Richardson family, while the remaining 52% was distributed among 14 investors who also financed the right to start the team. In 2018, the billionaire businessman David Tepper became the sole owner of the team. On May 22, 2018, he purchased the franchise for $2.3 billion, definitely a record.
Meaning and History
The Carolina Panthers unveiled their first logo in 1995 after joining the NFL. Since then, it was changed only once, as the team owner Jerry Richardson was a great traditionalist, confronting any innovations. According to the designers, a black panther is a focal point of the logo. But from the zoological point of view, it is a black jaguar or leopard, because there are no such felid species as a black panther. The official mascot of the Carolina Panthers is Sir Purr, an anthropomorphized black panther wearing a team uniform, №00.
Due to the tradition of Jerry Richardson, owner of the Carolina Panthers, the club’s logos changed infrequently. After the approval of the first version in 1995, this happened only once. And whether at Jerry’s insistence or for some other reason, the design has remained intact. Artists were only allowed to experiment with contours to update small details without deviating from the old concept. All this led to the fact that both emblems are very similar: they are distinguished only by the color and shape of some elements.
The Carolina Panthers badge depicts a black panther – the team’s main mascot. The last time it was changed was in 2012. At that time, the designers made the mustache, eyebrows, nose, and inner part of the ear blue, leaving only the eyes and teeth gray. They also added new paths, removed the stripe at the bottom, and removed the thin black outline around the outer edge.
1995 – 2011
The first logo was designed in 1995 and continued until 2011. It was an image of a black panther’s head in half-face with blue and white outlines. The team representatives said the logo depicted the merged borders of North and South Carolina. The beast had flat ears, lowered eyebrows, and a wide-open mouth with sharp fangs. The panther’s face wore an intimidating facial expression to symbolize the team’s readiness to win.
The sketched-in-black head had silver face features. The inner silhouette was blue. Silver strokes on a dark background made the image more dynamic, much reminding the popular visual styles of the 1990s. The logo looked two-dimensional due to the identical thickness of the lines. Only the whiskers on the right went beyond it.
2012 – present
In 2012, the Panthers marketing team upgraded the old logo. Since the Panthers have one of the most recognizable logos in the NFL, they tended to make it as modern as possible without losing the dramatic essence of the mark. The designers modified the logo to digital space, optimizing it for the web.
It is the same logo except for the slightly different shape and color of the eyes and mouth. Designers removed tiny details and lower borders and made outlines smooth. The external black outline is gone as well. The blue lines appear intermittent and curved. Eyebrow arches are changed, as the panther acquires a more threatening appearance. The logo reflects the team’s determination to hunt its strongest rivals, as this wild feline predator does in nature. It signifies the Carolina Panthers players do not play defense, but offense.
The whiskers, nose, and brows change color from silver to blue. Teeth and eyes remain silver. Now the logo comprises aquamarine instead of royal blue. The updated color palette and sketching make the current version of the logo look 3D and modern, yet it keeps the old concept.
Shapes and proportions also changed: the square jaw became oval, the pointed ears became rounded, the straight fangs were curved, and the pronounced eyebrows became small. Overall, the drawing seems more accurate and modern.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The black panther head has been a hallmark of the club since 1995. It exists in two versions that have a lot in common. For example, the animal looks aggressive both there and there because there was such a fashion among professional football teams – to portray their mascot as scary to raise morale. The overall style is minimalist: the artists did not pay attention to detail, settling on a simple silhouette of the head and giving it volume with contours of different thicknesses.
Carolina Panthers have done without inscriptions because their logo speaks for itself. It has become so popular that any references to the name of the club are inappropriate. It is enough to see the black panther head with blue stripes and light gray details to understand who this symbol belongs.
By the way, Mark, son of Jerry Richardson and current president of the club, chose the original color scheme. But the employees of NFL Properties initially criticized her: such a combination of shades seemed to them “gangster,” attracting unnecessary attention of street criminal groups.