NBA Finals Brings Font Back to Logo Design

The NBA Finals logo brought back a “fan-favorite” element – the use of handwriting – to commemorate the league’s 75th anniversary.

“The redesigned logo includes a fan-favorite font next to the Larry O’Brien Trophy to honor the league’s 75-year history and look forward to the future,” the league said in a statement. post announcing appearance.

First released in April 2022, the logo ditched the clean red and blue color used since 2018 and introduces a new font for the word “Finals”.

The Finals should not be confused with the NBA Playoffs, which look different.

This partly helps to solve the problem of mistaking the logo for the non-existent word “Tinals”.


At the same time, the new typeface is slightly less frilly than the previous one, with dramatic flourishes reserved primarily for the “F” and “S” letters.

The lettering also gets two gold accents on those two letters, which are pretty minor given the overall scale of the typography.

Not restored, however, is the interpretation of the crossbar in “F” as the tail of a red shooting star, which itself served as a point in “i”.

While the old typeface was loose and elegant, the new one feels a bit stilted and understated, though the look is more in line with the latest design trends, including the rise of brutalist design that emphasizes heavier, stronger strokes and elements.

The updated design also moves the “NBA” name into the “logoman” field, which has been the league’s primary insignia for many years. He also continues to drop the word “The” from the official logo design.

The main mark also adds a simplified visualization of the trophy behind the word “finals”, and the year is placed in negative space above the “a”. However, the placement of the trophy at the back and the exaggerated top border of the “F” creates a bit of awkward white space here, as well as reducing the visual weight of the year.

Variants of this logo were used from 2018 to 2021, with the year updated each time.

The NBA retired the script in 2018 after having used it since 2014 and previously from 1986 to 1995.

Instead, he moved to a bold, condensed sans-serif typeface that typically featured the words “NBA” and “Finals” on separate lines in all-caps next to the logo. In the meantime, the year has been rotated 90 degrees clockwise and placed in negative space created by the shorter line with the league initialism.

This look was bolder, although other than the logo, it also lacked any distinctive elements that a league or championship could “own”.

When the script-style logo was last used, the word “The” was included from 2004 to 2017, hidden inside a tail in a reduced size “F” that extended to the left of the word.

As mentioned, the NBA Finals logo has a history of fluctuating between appearance and other formatting, including not using “The” from 1996 to 2003.

This was during the period when the logo became oval and used an outline-style trophy icon, this image used the lowercase “ina” in the word “Finals” almost to the full height of the capital letter, presumably as a way to avoid creating significant locked space.


The league wisely updated the look in 2000 to include “Finals” in all baseball caps.

Prior to 1996, the match logo used a folded image with the letters “The” and “Finals” in a script very similar to the look from 2004 to 2017, but with the year and the letters “NBA” set in a wide, bold sans-serif with humanist tones and distinctive numerals, especially the “9” and “6”, which, given that double “9s” appeared in every logo from 1990 to 1995, have become a familiar part of the look. In 1996, the games did not use the look, which had to have all but one of the numbers, “1”, with a unique hook that did not connect with the opposite stroke.

Back to the script, the NBA is likely hoping for a sense of nostalgia for its early days.

The league itself is in the process of completing its diamond jubilee at 75 (although it is not the 75th final) and has developed a diamond and basketball-themed logo to commemorate the occasion, which previously featured a condensed sans-serif in the finals logo. used for initialism when applicable.

Script fonts have a controversial history in broadcast logo design, with another notable use being the distinctive font still used by NBC Sports to this day. In many cases handwritten fonts can be a bit difficult to read.

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