It only took 597 days.
On December 4, 2018, the NHL officially welcomed Seattle with its 32nd franchise. Since then we’ve been waiting and wondering and wondering some more. What will the name be?
At last, more than 19 months later, we finally got our answer. This morning, they made it official. The NHL’s newest expansion team will be named the Seattle Kraken!
The name conjures a menacing creature from the depths of the sea. As do the logos! Here’s our first look at the full set.
The “S” form carries on the century-old legacy of America’s first Stanley Cup champions, the Seattle Metropolitans. The eye offers a glimpse of something mysterious within. A swirling tentacle through the middle brings to mind the water that wraps around the city.
The secondary mark is an anchor that transforms into Seattle’s best-known landmark as it rises. The wordmark is as distinctive as the city itself—modern with hints of the past throughout. The beveling used across all of the marks gives them a dynamic, three-dimensional style that you can almost feel.
Before we move on to get a closer look at each logo, let’s take a moment to appreciate the unique color palette.
Midnight is the darkest blue the brand creators at Adidas could implement without it being basically black. It evokes the night sky as much as the depths of Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean.
The icy blue mimics the color of the crystal clear glacial ice found atop Mount Rainier, as much as the surface of Climate Pledge Arena on which the team will skate in 15 short months. A couple of supporting colors in between our midnight and icy blues cover the beveling effects we see.
And the red is true, bright red—not the salmon-esque pastel that’s been the center of speculation for the past year.
Quick side note. Several years ago, a concept designer sent me a Florida Panthers jersey that relied on navy blue, powder blue, and red. I remember wondering why such a great color scheme wasn’t really in use in the NHL. And now this has arrived. Needless to say, I’m a fan.
Now comes the part where we dig a little deeper into this identity. Let’s start with a closer look at the primary mark.
A dark background hides the strong outline that allows the logo to shine even over a white background—necessary for the road jerseys at least. Though I am curious how the “S” might’ve looked the darker midnight tone—like what’s used for the secondary mark when it’s over white.
Speaking of which, check out the details of the anchor logo.
The attention to detail in every line is astounding. The sharpness of every corner is almost palpable. And over white, the logo employs the darker shades of blue.
Now let’s move on to the wordmark.
Overall, the identity takes on a dark, monochromatic look over a white background. I can’t help but feel like that adds to the mysteriousness the designers seemed to be aiming for. Only on a deep, dark background reveals the bright colors hidden beneath the surface.
The fact that the team can be named the Kraken without giant squid literally depicted anywhere in the logo package is a testament to the talents of the design team at Adidas as well as the vision of this franchise’s ownership group. We get a legendary team name without a cartoonish logo. What more could you ask for?
Speaking of the name, tradition tells us to choose one that’s familiar and comfortable. One that at the very least ends in “s,” right? But that’s just not how Seattle rolls. We tend to break from norms at every opportunity. Our hockey team, it seems, will be no different.
Though this name has been rumored and written about for some time, if it comes as a surprise to you, you may be wondering what a kraken is, exactly.
Well first of all, it’s not real. Nor is a seahawk. The kraken is a mythical and massive sea monster that originated in Scandinavian folklore. It was probably inspired by a giant squid or octopus found in the North Atlantic. It’s scary to us because it resides in a place we can’t go.
At this point, some readers might question its relevance to the region. I’ll steer clear of countering with a question about the relevance of a Golden Knight to Las Vegas, and instead focus on the area’s Nordic heritage. A large influx of Scandinavian immigrants arrived in the Northwest U.S. at the turn of the 20th century. Plus, there’s some fun local lore involving a giant octopus in the waters beneath the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
This is a brand story that’s bold and dramatic. The logos are brilliant pieces of design that deserve to stand for decades to come. And even as the identity sets itself apart from the crowd, it still connects to its Seattle sports brethren through a maritime theme—the Seahawks, the Mariners, the Sounders... and the Kraken!
The internet is awash with opinions today—this one included. But no matter where you stand on it right now, it’s hard to deny the impressive creativity that went into designing the newest brand in the NHL.
It’s worth taking a look at how it fits in with the rest of the league.
It’s like it was always mean to be there, isn’t it?
But the logos are just one part of the overall brand.
That brings us to the uniforms, which put the new colors to great use. There will be no mistaking this team for any other. It’s unique and striking.
I’m always partial to dark jerseys and this one doesn’t disappoint. But even the white one is working for me here. The striping is consistent across both sweaters and manages to provide a sense of ocean depth.
The thin red line, to me, sort of symbolizes a boundary, almost as if to warn against going any deeper beneath the sea lest you discover some horrifying sea monster waiting to attack. That’s a little of what I mean when I talk about the brilliance of this brand narrative. So many cool little pieces to the puzzle—and there’s probably more we’ll be discovering in the days and weeks to come.
For now, what’s your immediate reaction to the Seattle Kraken and their new logos and uniforms?