Indianapolis Colts are an American football team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts compete in NFL as a member club of the league’s American Football Conference (AFC) South division.
Its history started in 1952 with the most unsuccessful club back then – Dallas Texans. After a range of epic fails, the club was excluded from membership in the league and disbanded. Members of this club left Dallas and moved to Baltimore, where the new Baltimore Colts team was found. It happened literally in a year – in 1953.
They existed in this status for several decades (from 1953 to 1983), then football players involuntarily transferred to the new structure, based in Indianapolis. Their lease ran out, and Baltimore’s government was at the time unwilling to build a new stadium to replace the inadequate Memorial Stadium. Negotiations were very tough because of doubts of city authorities about the investment reasonability. This was because the team hadn’t been shining recently.
Robert Irsay then took risks to move his club to another place choosing between Phoenix and Indianapolis. He chose Indianapolis because its mayor had undertaken an ambitious effort to reinvent Indianapolis into a “Great American City.” Upon leaving, the owner took all the merchandise from Baltimore – nickname, official colors, and logo.
The first team owners were a Dallas-based group led by a pair of young millionaires, Giles Miller and his brother, Connell (from 1 to 7 game of 1952), and NFL (from 8 to 12 game of the same year). Carroll Rosenbloom from Baltimore took ownership of stocks later because the club got no takers. Courtesy of the National League, he led the club from 1953 to 1972 and named it Baltimore Colts. Carroll thought that this nickname pretty much reflects the team’s never-flagging and almost animalistic perseverance and infinite determination to win.
Robert Irsay then bought the team, switching franchises with Rosenbloom. He was its sole owner until 1997. Jim Irsay, Robert Irsay’s son, entered the principal owner’s role after his father’s death in 1997. He is the club owner so far.
Meaning and History
The last three Indianapolis Colts logos are horseshoe-shaped. But for the team, this design is relatively new because, until 1979, it had completely different emblems. First – with a football player, and then – with a horse that overcomes an obstacle. It’s no coincidence that it was chosen as the team was founded in Texas, known for horse breeding traditions. The horse image first appeared in 1953, when the Dallas Texans moved to another city and became known as the Baltimore Colts. And it is not surprising because equestrian sports were especially popular in Baltimore. The next move to Indianapolis did not change the situation much: the franchise retained the nickname and chose the horseshoe logo – as a symbol of determination and success. The blue color in the Colts logo symbolizes excellence, class, and strength, whereas the white color stands for its integrity and charm.
The logo of that time refers to the initial nickname of the team – Dallas Texans. Dallas Texans logo features these words and dark blue foursquare background. The letters are of different sizes, which creates the effect of dynamics. So does the football player straight-arming while running with the football. He gives a signal “Caution!” with another hand. The color of the nickname, football player, and his uniform is yellow. So is the piece of land under his feet.
1953 – 1960
After the old club’s disbandment and the formation of the new one, the team got a fundamentally redesigned logo. It features a blue buck-in bronco holding a blue football with two stripes flying over a goalpost. There is also a helmet, which flew off, representing the sportsmen’s vigor and determination.
There is a rectangular spot on the animal’s head – a mark for luck and success. It’s white, so is the hoof. All other elements are blue except for the helmet (it’s grey). A wordmark “BALTIMORE COLTS” is grey with a blue border. The words are separated, the first one is on the top edge of the emblem, and the second one is on the bottom edge. The goalposts are wide and obtain a firm plant on the “ground.”
1961 – 1978
This design is an alteration of the previous design of the logo. Designers removed undescriptive details from the logo, such as goalposts, the ground under them, and the nickname, which used to take almost half of the space. They kept only the levitating buck-in horse against a white background. Football also became white with a blue outline. There is a dark blue horseshoe on the helmet. The grey color is eliminated, and the animal is bigger.
1979 – 1983
This logo is the key pillar of the one that will be used many years in a row. It features a horseshoe, which was earlier depicted on the horse’s helmet. However, now the image is artistically elaborated: it’s narrower than the real one, and it’s light blue. There are seven small white holes on the horseshoe. According to the creators, this color scheme reflects strength, perseverance, honesty, vigor, charm, and excellence.
1984 – 2001
The move to Indiana also brought the same Colt logo from Baltimore. The classic blue horseshoe is the same as in Baltimore. Indianapolis Colts logo became the embodiment of animalistic perseverance and infinite determination to win. The only change is that the color became a little bit darker. Several holes, size, and shape remained the same.
It’s the unused emblem. Most people don’t know about it as it was never printed on the uniform. Indianapolis Colts logo is designed as a blue and white colt’s head. It’s cubistic and placed full-face. Its eyes, nostrils, and lower part of the head are sharp-edged geometric figures.
Its ears are triangular and prick. This indicates that the colt is on guard and is attentively listening to the goings-on. This is also evident from the foursquare nostrils and rectangular eyes. The primary colors of the logo are white, blue, and black.
There was another unused logo of Indianapolis Colts in 2001. It features the same colt’s head as in the previous design. Two things are different: the hue (light blue turned into the distinctive blue) and the background (the wordmark “Colts” is in the back). The team nickname is in tune with the key element in style as the nickname geometrically matches it. The word is separated into two parts: “co” (on the left) and “us” (on the right). The head is in the center, which gives the impression that the colt peeps out from over a fence leaning on it.
2002 – present
The current symbol of the Indianapolis Colts bears a link to the emblem that was used from 1961-1978. After all, the horseshoe did not appear by chance – it was already depicted on a horse’s helmet, albeit not in so much detail. The artists redrew this element, expanded, and scaled it to make it the club’s main hallmark.
The result is an original horseshoe-shaped logo that has had three versions since 1979. In shape and proportions, all options are identical – they differ only in the palette. In the latter case, a dark blue shade was used, which became popular after the 2002 redesign. Indianapolis Colts emblem of this period suffered slight changes, mainly in color. Other than that, the Indianapolis Colts logo remains unaltered and looks like a big horseshoe with seven holes on the white background. The key element’s hue darkened and became distinctive blue. Indianapolis Colts logo as ever stands for perseverance and infinite determination to win.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
From a visual perspective, the Indianapolis Colts emblem is very simple: a wide curved line in blue with seven symmetrically spaced white dots. But in terms of semantic content, everything is much more complicated because a horseshoe is a well-known symbol of luck and decisiveness. Thus, it performs a double function: it plays on the theme of equestrian sports and serves as the unofficial mascot of the team, heralding victory in the next matches.
The creators of the Indianapolis Colts logo were dispensed with inscriptions because they could fill the laconic drawing with meaning. Even the color scheme was not chosen by chance: white symbolizes unity, integrity, and blue – endurance and superiority. This color combination has become a classic as it was used in the Dallas Texans club’s first emblem. The team moved, the names and elements of visual identity changed, and the white and blue palette remained a good tradition.