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Activity: Logo design challenge

This content is provided by the 49ers Museum Education Program.


From ancient civilizations to our modern day society, art and design has played an important role in representing different culture’s beliefs, interests and passions. Many times, artistic works can become a symbol that various cultures are defined by. For example, the paintings, sculptures, architecture and other arts produced by the civilization of ancient Egypt provide modern-day historians a clear view into how Egyptians lived and what they valued. A symbol is an action, object, event, etc., that expresses or represents a particular idea or quality.
The 49ers have changed logo designs throughout the years to be more versatile in how the brand was represented and to provide variety for the fan base.
We use art, design and what they symbolize similarly today. As our world becomes more interconnected, we are increasingly mindful where symbols come from and what they stand for. Symbols often have deep cultural roots that are continually changing to create new meaning. We see artistic symbols especially in the sports we watch and play, and is a profoundly used to celebrate the history and culture of the San Francisco 49ers. From logo conceptualization to field design, art encompasses all the symbolic visuals that the game provides. The symbolism that 49ers uniforms provide is as significant as the gear and equipment football players wear.
For the 2015 season, the 49ers introduced a new jersey color to complement the 49ers oval logo and to bring a new layer of design to 49ers uniforms.
The 49ers team’s graphic designers often serve as interpreters of 49ers cultural symbols. 49ers designers recognize the power of symbols because symbols bring an extra layer of meaning onto the 49ers brand by way of a graphic identity, as seen in the “SF” logo, which has risen to the level of a cultural icon in American society. A logo is a symbol that is used to identify a company and that appears on all of its products. When people see the 49ers logo, the symbolism that the logo provides solicits meaning of pride for the team and the rich history of championship level play, as well as portraying the visual and emotional representation of the 49ers mission statement.
In the 1962-63 season, the 49ers introduced the SF logo on the players helmets for the first time.

Logo design challenge

Since you now know what a logo is, what it is supposed to do, and what it should represent, you will now be tasked to design a logo of your own!


  • Sketch paper
  • Pencil/colored pencils/colored markers
  • Computer
  • Access to the Internet


The criterion for the logo design project is as follows:
  1. You are tasked to create a logo design that represents you as a person. Your logo must represent/symbolize your personal interests and beliefs.
  2. Follow the logo design process (provided below).
  3. Use up to three colors (no more) within the design: keep it simple, not too visually distracting.
  4. Create an initial sketch of the logo.
  5. Create a final computer graphic design of your logo.

Helpful hints

Characteristics of an effective logo design:
A. Your logo must be simple and memorable. For example, if you are designing a logo to represent your favorite sport, it would be appropriate to use sports graphics to support your design.
B. Understand the Logo Design Process: In short, the logo design process usually consists of:
  1. Research & brainstorming other logos and what they stand for.
  2. Sketching out ideas.
  3. Prototyping & conceptualizing what your logo will represent.
  4. Review your design.
  5. Revise & add finishing touches to your overall design.
C. After you established your initial ideas from brainstorming and have sketched an initial design, you can then use the computer to formulate your logo. Because logos need to be versatile (be able to work across a variety of mediums and applications), your logo should be able to be made as a computer graphic as well. Using Microsoft Paint, Word or PowerPoint, you must make a digitized version of your logo design on the computer.
D. After you have a good graphic logo concept completed, share your logo design/s with your fellow classmates or with your family and friends.


Determine three different ways you can use their logo ( e.g.: use in publications, business cards, on a product, or in advertisements).
As you can see by participating in this fun design challenge, your life is uniquely shaped by symbols that are passed to you, inherited from your culture or from your family. Symbols shape perceptions and bring a better understanding to how we identify and define the world around us!
This content is provided by the 49ers Museum Education Program.

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