The Logic Behind The New Orleans’ Pelicans Rebranding

The Logic Behind The New Orleans’ Pelicans Rebranding

A decade after relocating from North Carolina, the New Orleans Hornets will change their name and logo at the end of the season.

Ryan Gerhardt
  • 6 february 2013

Less than a year after purchasing the New Orleans Hornets franchise, new owner Tom Benson is making good on a promise to rebrand the team. While the change has been somewhat expected, the same certainly can’t be said about the new name.

Tipping-off the 2013-14 season will be the New Orleans…Pelicans. With subtlety clearly having zero influence on the team’s rebranding angle, the franchise decided to select a symbol that would be undoubtedly ‘NOLA.’ Considering Louisiana is known as ‘The Pelican State’ and features a pelican on the state flag and seals, there should be little question around the NBA next year where the Pelicans call home.

Benson and those within the organization wanted not only a mascot but also a long-standing symbol of the city and region, deciding that the pelican:

will represent the culture and resolve of the Gulf Coast region while also symbolizing Louisiana’s most pressing initiative of coastal restoration and wildlife conservation.

Additionally, in the wake of climbing off the endangered species list in 2009 and enduring through the Gulf Oil Spill,

The Pelican symbolizes the determination to not only survive, but thrive even when the odds are stacked against them as our region has demonstrated over and over.

The logo treatments, which can be found in the gallery at the end of the article, are replete with an ominous looking pelican (or at least as ominous looking a pelican you can make), fleur de lis, French Quarter street sign inspired typography, and references to the city’s nicknames ‘NOLA’ and ‘Crescent City.’

The team’s new official colors will be blue, gold, and red. The primary color will be blue, which is taken from the state flag. Gold is to represent the ‘flourish’ of the city and its celebratory spirit, while also forging a connection with the city’s NFL team, the Saints. Additionally, gold is often the color of the “crown” of the pelican. The color red is meant to signal fraternity, and also represent:

the legend of the mother pelican picking her own breast to feed her young in times of need, doing whatever it takes to endure.

The ‘Pelicans’ reportedly beat out other names like the ‘Mosquitoes,’ ‘Swamp Dogs,’ and ‘Bullsharks.’ While it is difficult to imagine a pelican striking fear into the heart of an opponent, is it really any worse than other descriptive NBA team names like the Miami Heat, Phoenix Sun, or Denver Nuggets? Plus, will the new name have an adverse effect on the performance of the team? They haven’t exactly been winning championships anyway, so it doesn’t look like a rebrand could hurt.

Check out the new logos below, and see if you can come up with a better team name:


New Orleans Hornets


Images via NBA and the New Orleans Hornets

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