Saturday, July 4, 2015

Why the Rams' LA brand digs in

By J.P. Pelosi

It wasn’t until 1948 that the Los Angeles Rams football team took on the brand personality it embodies today, albeit in St. Louis, at the time of writing.

We may take dazzling color combinations in sports for granted today, but the Rams' new brand was certainly different for the times: a bright and bold style that exuded a sense of optimism, perhaps in an era short on it.

The original ram horn design was so good, in fact, it endures to this day as one of the more iconic logos in the National Football League. The trademark yellow horns, which seem to sprout from the front of the helmet before curling to the ear, were created by L.A. Rams’ halfback Fred Gherke who studied art at college, according to the Rams official website.

Gherke’s logo design was pioneering because it was the first of its kind in football, which to that point had mostly been played with plain coloured helmets. Pro football's helmet went from leather to plastic in 1951 and the Rams design came into its own--the smooth finish to the synthetic material meaning the yellow and blue coloring could truly pop, as they say.

Gherke was eventually inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, not for his footballing prowess but his helmet design, as The Los Angeles Times wrote in 2002 at the time of his death:

Fred Gehrke, a former Ram halfback who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame--not for how he carried the ball but for painting horns on his team's leather helmets, touching off a colorful and enduring quest for logos in pro sports--has died. He was 83.

Well played Fred.

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