The Orlando Magic were established as an expansion team in 1989. Led by Shaquille O’Neal in the mid-90’s and Dwight Howard in the mid-aughts, the Magic have reached the NBA Finals twice but have yet two win an NBA championship.
The Magic’s visual identity consists of a blue-and-silver color scheme with black as an accent color and a logo featuring a streaking basketball ball, a ‘Magic’ wordmark and stars incorporated throughout the design. The logo has made a slow evolution throughout the franchise’s history, with each successive logo building on part of its predecessor. The team’s first uniforms were black with white pinstripes but the team has worn blue uniforms since 1994. The road uniforms have generally featured the city name while the home uniforms bear the team name.
The current uniform design has been used since 2008 while the current logo was introduced in 2010.
The current primary logo takes the streaking basketball element from the previous design which was introduced in 2001 and places it in front of the blue ‘Magic’ wordmark which has been worn on the team’s home jerseys since 2008, with ‘Orlando’ above it in black.
The restrained use of stars and the modern typeface is an improvement over the previous, cartoonish logo. While the design is modern and generally well-balanced in terms of layout, it loses points for color balance. The inner white highlight of the wordmark does not match the predominantly silver ‘shine’ of the basketball and the largest star is silver while the other two are white. Additionally, the thin silver outline around the logo creates a barely perceptible drop shadow effect and is simply unnecessary. The overall look would remain the same if white were replaced by silver. The partial primary logo is the streaking basketball used by itself without any wordmarks. The Magic currently have no secondary or alternate logos.
The current uniforms are an homage to the team’s old pinstripe uniforms.
The white home uniform features the ‘Magic’ wordmark and the player number centered below in blue with a black outline, black side panels and blue and white trim. The blue road uniform has ‘Orlando’ and the player number in white with a black outline, black side panels and blue and black and white trim. The black alternate uniform, introduced in 2010, has ‘Orlando’ and the player number in white and with a blue outline, blue side panels and gray and white trim. The gray pride uniform, introduced in 2014, generally follows the template of the other three uniforms only with a more traditional blue side panel which extends to the bottom of the shorts. The blue portion around the arms helps to balance the distribution of color but also creates the appearance that the player is wearing a backpack.
All of the jerseys feature pinstripes that bend away from the center line as they rise upward. The side panels curve backward, following the same direction as the pinstripes but end incongruously below the armholes and above the bottom of the shorts. The streaking basketball logo appears on the shorts just below each side panel. The overall look is modern, especially the pinstripe treatment, but the odd shape of the side panels upsets the flow and balance of the design. The lack of black in the home collar and blue in the alternate collar also disrupts the balance of color.
The current uniforms are a vast improvement over the team’s previous set. The Magic get points for replacing the previous generic sports typeface set with a much more visually interesting and modern typeface.
The ‘Magic’ nickname is appropriate for a team representing the city of Orlando which is home to numerous resort packs and is one of the biggest vacation destinations in the world. The ‘Magic’ nickname is a reference to the area’s most famous tourist attraction, the Walt Disney World resort and its first park, the Magic Kingdom.
The blue-and-silver color scheme holds no particular significance for the city of Orlando but the colors have long been popularly associated with wizards.
While the Magic’s gray uniforms are designated as pride uniforms, they represent nothing about the city of Orlando or the Magic’s history aside from the use of silver as an accent color. These uniforms are little more than an excuse to add fourth uniform option.
While the Magic are one of 13 teams whose primary road uniform is blue, they are one of two (along with the Timberwolves) whose uniforms use some combination of blue, black and gray. They are one of eight teams with a black alternate uniform. The Magic are currently the only team with pinstripes on their uniform.
The Magic are one of only four NBA teams (along with the Jazz, Heat and Thunder) to use a singular, rather than a plural noun for the team nickname.
The team’s custom typeface is distinctive.
The Magic get high marks for consistency, especially after their 2010 logo update, which incorporated the wordmark already being used on the home uniforms. The arced ‘Magic’ as well as ‘Orlando’ wordmarks both appear on the jerseys exactly as they are in the logo. The typeface from that wordmark is now used consistently across all applications. The use of color is also generally consistent and all of the uniforms are color variations of the same template.
Points to Improve
- Improve the color balance of the logo by eliminating white and replacing it with silver. Remove the unnecessary silver outline.
- Add black to the home collar and blue to the alternate collar to improve the overall color balance. Rework the side panels so they integrate more smoothly with the rest of the uniform design.
NBA Branding Assessment Ranking
All writings contained herein are copyright ©2015 Brian F. Sanford. All intellectual property including but not limited to names, logos and uniforms are properties of the National Basketball Association, its member teams, ownership groups and/or organizations. All images are used for noncommercial educational purposes. No copyright infringement is intended.