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Portland Sea Dogs 88

Notice: All logos on this page are included within the parameters of 17 U.S.C. § 107, which states that the reproduction of a copyrighted work for purposes of criticism and/or comment is not an infringement of copyright. No challenge to the copyrights of these logos is intended by their inclusion here.
Posted 2009 April 1

Logo design is, for the most part, an anonymous business. Can you tell me the name of the person who designed your favorite baseball team's logo? What about your favorite team in another sport? What about any team in any sport?

Until recently, I thought I was doing well because I could name the designer of a grand total of two sports logos. The teams were the Broome Dusters of the North American Hockey League back in the 1970s and the B.C. Icemen of the United Hockey League back in the 1990s. Both teams (which both played in Binghamton, New York, which is in Broome County) had logos designed by Johnny Hart. It was easy to recognize this in both cases because a) the people looked just like characters from the comic strip B.C., and b) because he actually signed the logos.

So it was somewhat surprising to me that I was able to find out who designed the logo for the Portland Sea Dogs. The designer's name is Guy Gilchrist, and he is a cartoonist who currently draws Nancy. (Before you say it, he wasn't the original artist, so it's not his fault Nancy's hair looks like a hedgehog.)

This is unsettling information. It's easy to make fun of someone when you have no clue who the guy is. It gets a little more personal when you have a name to attach to the drawing and have even seen a picture of the artist. It somehow makes me less inclined to be nasty.

Nonetheless, I'm still going to be nasty.

Regarding the concept of the "sea dog" as a weird sort of dog-seal hybrid, I'm not sure what I think of it. It strikes me as something that would be a joke along the lines of the jackalope. You know, something the locals tell credulous tourists to see who's gullible enough to believe it. Actually, I have to admit it's pretty clever.

But the execution lacks. First of all, if I was going to draw a dog-seal hybrid with a random piece of baseball equivalent, I'd draw said dog-seal hybrid balancing an oversized baseball on his nose. Yes, I get that the idea here is that the "sea dog" is holding a baseball bat in its mouth the way a dog ("land dog"?) would hold a bone. There's just one problem, which is that it doesn't work. I have to believe showing a sea dog balancing a baseball on its nose would look a lot better.

Also, the sea dog just doesn't look right. Clearly the sea dog is supposed to be moving at an angle, which is why the tail is farther right than the head. However, either the head or the tail, if viewed without the other, looks like a head-on drawing. I'm no a professional artist, but I am confident there is a technical term for drawing the sea dog like that. That word, I suspect, is "mistake". The end effect is that it looks like someone chopped the sea dog in half. Maybe it's some kind of magic trick, like sawing the lady in half? "Watch the Great Pastrami saw a sea dog in half!" It would make great entertainment for the seventh-inning stretch.

The weird, sawed-in-half rendering isn't the only problem the sea dog has. On a more fundamental level, there's the simple fact that he doesn't look threatening at all. In fact, he looks cute. Here, the lowered eyebrows which normally convey anger wind up looking like a five-year-old's attempts to look mean: you have to resist the urge to squeeze the kid's cheeks as you exclaim, "Wow, don't you look tough!". (At least that's what a caring adult who is concerned about the kid's self-esteem has to resist the urge to do. The urge I have to resist is the urge to burst out laughing in the kid's face.) Were this a real dog — and were I not completely freaked out by the fact that I was looking at a real dog with flippers — I'd want to give him a scritch behind the ears. I wouldn't be scared of him. Heck, I'd be no more worried about him biting me than I am worried about the neighbors' brain-damaged Pomeranian (yes, I know "brain-damaged Pomeranian" is redundant) biting me.

The last problem here is the big P. One presumes the sea dog is supposed to be jumping through a hole in the P. But look at the level of the front part of the body and ask yourself where, precisely, the hole is located. It seems to be shifted way to the bottom. Also, I can't quite put my finger on it, but I get the impression the hole is so small that the sea dog probably couldn't actually fit through the whole. Again, I am left with the most viable option being that this is the work of the Great Pastrami.

So, in summary: The bat is a bad idea, the sea dog is too cute, the perspective is wrong, and the P isn't right. So basically, I've criticized every single element of the logo.

Imagine what I might have said had I had no clue who was responsible for it.

Final Score: 88 points.
Penalties: Equipment, 13 pts; Letter, 24 pts, Cartoon, 47 pts; Name, 10 pts. Bonuses: Local, -6 pts.


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