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The Psychology of Sports Branding Visuals

If you are a sports fan or even those who are not, might be able to recall the exciting FIFA World Cup Final that happened at the end of 2022. The FIFA World Cup is clearly the most watched sporting event. This is only one example of a sports event that is followed by fans across the globe. Football, basketball, ice hockey, and many others also have a similar effect on their audiences. 

‘red devil’ of the Manchester United logothe bold colors and the ‘red devil’ of the Manchester United logo

If you follow any of these sports, chances are that you can recall the logo, mascot, colors, and imagery of your favorite team. This is where sports branding visuals play a huge role. The team or club owners collaborate with graphic designers to create visuals that stay in memory for a long time. It is important to build loyalty among fans so that merchandise sales can be higher. If visuals like the logo and team colors are appealing, then people will buy more t-shirts, hoodies, backpacks, and wristbands. 

In sports branding visuals, you need to understand the psychology behind them. The imagery, symbols, and colors need to represent the values and bring out positive feelings too. These elements make it easier to connect with the audience and build loyalty over time. 

Visual Elements of Sports Branding 

To understand how various sports teams and associations gain the attention of fans across the world, you need to become familiar with the design elements. Most of them are carefully used to bring out feelings of excitement in the audience. The MSL, NBA, and NFL teams make millions in merchandise sales. You may have a t-shirt or a hoodie with your favorite team’s logo or emblem on it too! 

When sports organizations are looking to build recognition, they need to focus on a few key visual elements. 


The colors are one of the first things to consider in sports branding visuals. When it comes to psychology, this element plays a crucial role in bringing out positive emotions among the viewers. If you take the example of Manchester United, a leading club in the English Premier League, you can see how they have used a combination of bright red and yellow that can stand out anywhere. 

The merchandise such as scarves, caps, hoodies, and gloves instantly make their fans recognizable in a crowd. Loyal fans also identify the club with its iconic colors. Now, take a look at the emblem of Manchester United. The modern variation was introduced in 1998 and has remained the same since that time. It is recognized for its bold imagery that features a ‘red devil’ in a badge. 

Even those who do not follow the sports club can pick out the visuals on banners, websites, and print marketing materials like brochures and flyers. The logo’s color palette is also vibrant red and yellow. In color psychology, red represents energy, excitement, and passion while yellow is associated with happiness and joy. 

Many sports teams and clubs use such vibrant colors in their mascot and logos to make a positive impression on their audience and build a fan base in a short time. For an iconic sports logo, you can consider an online creator tool like

Icons and Imagery 

The icons and imagery used in sports visuals are also very important. You can consider the symbols for teams like the LA Lakers that are recognized for their simple yet memorable design. The basketball icon immediately tells people where the team belongs and helps them identify the visuals easily as well. Icons such as basketball, rings, and swooshes can have a strong impact on the audience. They symbolize strength, speed, and dynamism as well. 

The Lakers basketball iconThe Lakers basketball icon immediately tells people where the team belongs

Similarly, many sports teams also opt for animal imagery to highlight their values. For instance, the Milwaukee Bucks have an emblem that draws attention to the use of such imagery. The fans emotionally connect with the ‘buck’ in the icon that also heavily features branding materials and merchandise. 

Thick or Bold Fonts 

It is common for sports clubs and teams to use quirky and bold fonts in their branding visuals. The team logo of the LA Dodgers is recognized for its unique hand-written typography that appears on merchandise as well. This is just one example of thick and bold font styles being used by a sports team. If you take a look at the NFL logo itself, you will see how the letters are highlighted in the badge in custom typography. 

LA Dodgers is recognized for its unique hand-written typographyLA Dodgers is recognized for its unique hand-written typography

Unique Selling Factor 

Think of the logo or emblem of your favorite team for a moment here. What is that element that you can instantly recall? This is considered the unique selling factor of a design. You need to focus on this aspect in the psychology of sports branding visuals. It is what can make the fans differentiate the graphics from other teams or clubs. Many teams choose to go with luxurious colors like purple or gold to add to the appeal of their branding visuals like the logo design or banners. Some can include the unique factor in their symbols only. 

For instance, the New England Patriots revamped their logo in 1993. The ‘gray man’ or ‘patriot’ was introduced in the design and featured the tri-color hat as well. If you take a look at the visual, you will realize that it’s what makes the team’s emblem sell and connect with the fans too. 


In the end, you need to focus on the adaptability and versatility of the logo. This is crucial in sports branding visuals as it can make the emblem, colors or fonts last for years with minimal upgrades. Whether it’s the NBA, NFL, or EPL, one thing common among most sports teams is that they rarely revamp or change their branding visuals. This is mainly because the audience connects with them and may get confused if there is any big change. 

Chicago Bulls logo is mostly recognized for its ‘angry bull’Chicago Bulls logo is mostly recognized for its ‘angry bull’

To make sure that the logo continues to be recognized by generations of sports fans, sports teams tend to include elements that are scalable and can be used alone without a wordmark or lettermark as well. The Chicago Bulls logo is mostly recognized for its ‘angry bull’ that appears on branding materials and merchandise without the name of the team as well. The simple icon can be used without any changes and is prominent in different sizes or resolutions too. 


These are just some of the factors that you should consider about the psychology of sports branding visuals. If you are looking to get a logo or branding materials designed for your sports association or team, you should keep these factors in mind.

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