Chargers logo electrifies social media

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As you've probably witnessed over the past few weeks, when it rains in LA, it pours. And you could say the same thing about the city's professional football drought as well. After more than two decades without even one NFL team, Los Angeles is getting another one. The Chargers are moving up the coast from San Diego – to join the new LA Rams in their $2.5 billion Inglewood stadium that's under construction. They'll meanwhile play in the Stub Hub Center.

The decision to move the Chargers upset plenty of fans – in both cities. Even down to the logo they chose.

The team revealed it on social media last Thursday with no explanation. It's an interlocking white L and A over a navy blue background, and looks like the Dodgers logo with a lightning bolt going through it.

People were not impressed. Some on Twitter added additional letters to the logo to spell LAME and LAZY. Even other professional sports teams got on social media to ridicule the team. Many people joked that it looked like the Tampa Bay Lightning logo and Los Angeles Dodgers logo got together and had an ugly logo baby.

The Chargers explained that this was their promotional logo, and it would not be permanent and would not appear on their uniforms. But it would be on billboards and would be their Twitter avatar. But they didn't explain that, they just put it out there and many fans assumed it was their new official logo. It wasn't until hours later that the team clarified that it was just a marketing logo.

The same day, the team adjusted the LA logo with a lightning bolt by changing the colors to yellow letters on a powder-blue background.

By Friday, the team released a third version that spells out Los Angeles Chargers, with the "Los Angeles" in small letters above the much larger word "Chargers," which is back to the original format. They're sticking with that one for now.

There are many examples of new logo rollouts getting panned online. There was the fuss six years ago when Gap changed their logo from serif letters with tails to a "hip" sans-serif.

Or last year in New York when there was an outcry at the redesign of the mark for "The Met." One critic wrote that serif face letters leaning together "looks like a red double-decker bus that has stopped short, shoving the passengers into each other's backs. Worse, the entire top half of the new logo consists of the word 'the'."

You may also remember the fuss about the makeover of the marks for Tropicana orange juice, or the Google and Yahoo logo changes.

Last year DnA interviewed Michael Bierut, a well-regarded graphic designer and partner at famed graphic design firm Pentagram. He designed pro bono Hillary Clinton's campaign logo, which was a blue H overlaid with a red arrow forming the horizontal line in the H, and the arrow pointed right. At the time people complained the red arrow pointing right suggested Republicans, not Democrats.

We asked him why logos matter so much to people.

"People who care about logos are actually reacting to them exactly the way that their creators and commissioners intend them to relate to it. They've kind of formed a personal bond in some way with the thing, and the thing that is used to symbolize that thing," Bierut said. "And the passions can run high when it's something that you have a really strong personal loyalty to. So when sports teams change their logos, the fans often are the first ones who are outraged."

Bierut went on to explain that companies have to do these introductions really carefully, respecting the fact that you've asked people to identify with your brand, whether it's a sports team, college or university, fashion brand or orange juice brand.

"And then suddenly having won that loyalty and attention, then you just start messing with it," he said. "I think you have to really respect the fact that they're partners in developing what that brand is."

The uproar over the Chargers logo isn't just about graphic design. It has as much to do with the fact that many Angelenos don't think much of the Chargers. LA is filled with Raiders fans. That's the NFL team people wanted. So people may hate the design of the logo, but they dislike the team too.

Photo: The first logo for the new LA Chargers, released on January 12 and then quickly modified.