Cleveland Browns is a professional football club based in Cleveland, they compete in the National Football League as a member club of the AFC North division. Its history started in 1944 when the sports editor Arch Ward decided to create a league All-America Football Conference and chose 8 potential team owners.
One of them was a businessman from Cleveland, Arthur B. McBride. After purchasing the franchise, he asked a sportswriter John Dietrich whom he should hire at the position of coach. Dietrich suggested Paul Brown. In 1945, Paul got a share of stocks of the football club and became its co-owner.
Fans wanted the team to be named Browns, but the coach rejected this idea. McBride then held a contest to name the team and promised to give a war bond of $1000 to the winner. In June 1945, the committee chose the nickname Panthers, which lasted 2 months. Paul Brown rejected it because the old Cleveland Panthers failed.
McBride gave in to popular demand and christened the team the Browns. He didn’t want to engage in controversy against the coach, so he made up a town legend that Cleveland Browns were named after a boxer Joe Louis also known as Brown Bombers. Paul never stuck to the alternative story and admitted that they were named after him.
McBride sold the team to a group of Cleveland businessmen for $600,000 in 1953. These businessmen were: Saul Silberman, owner of the race track, Homer Marshman, an attorney, Ellis Ryan, a former Indians president and Dave R. Jones, former Cleveland Indians director. In 1961, Dave sold the team to a group led by advertising executive Art Modell. Bob Gries, who once held a stake in Cleveland Browns, got 40% of shares.
In 1995, Art Modell announced plans to move the team to Baltimore. He met fierce legal action and was faced with an interesting compromise. Modell was allowed to keep the contracts of his Browns players but needed to form a new franchise. Today, that organization is known as the Baltimore Ravens. The Browns’ intellectual property, including team name, logos, training facility, and history, were kept in trust.
NFL temporarily deactivated the old franchise in February 1996. Browns started to play again in 1999 under new owner Al Lerner. In 4 years, he died and his son Randy Lerner took over the Browns franchise. Randy sold Browns to a businessman Jimmy Haslam for $1 billion on August 2, 2012.
Cleveland Browns logo history
Despite the rich history, Cleveland Browns had identical logos. Most of them depict the primary trademark of the club – orange logo-less helmet. 7 of 9 logos feature this concept design, including the unused version of 1965.
1948 – 1958
Debut Cleveland Browns logo features the original character Brownie Elf. There’s a wordplay in its name: «Brownie» is assonant with the team nickname «Browns». The image is credited to the artist Dick Dugan, who became the sports cartoonist for Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Elf stands up with a football in his left hand. There’s a crown on his head – a symbol of power. The figure is turned to the left. All elements have a dark outline with ragged edges. The design of this logo portrays the classic style of animation.
1959 – 1969
In 1959, Brownie Elf changed: he was turned to the right, the royal crown was replaced with a cap and the football was in his right hand. His clothes became black and orange, and his arms and face turned white. They removed shadows, which are typical for animated images. The character is portrayed sketchily without detailed elaboration and outlined in black.
When Art Modell bought the franchise, he believed that the Cleveland Browns emblem was too childish and did away with it. In the mid-1960s, a new logo was created: a dark orange helmet with a white stripe on top and a black outline.
This sportswear is depicted from the side. It has a grey faceguard and is decorated with interlocking letters «CB» in brown with white trim, which represent the city and the nickname – Cleveland Browns. The font is without squiggles. This version of the Cleveland Browns emblem was never used in games.
1970 – 1985
After the merge of AFL and NFL in 1969, the football club left the cartoonish Brownie Elf behind. In 1970, they used a logo, which looks like the unused version of 1956. Only small changes were made: three grey dots were removed, internal black outline widened and the facemask became white. They removed the wordmark «CB» because Cleveland Browns stopped decorating the helmets with the team branding and decided to make it their thing.
1986 – 1991
In the new Cleveland Browns logo, designers put aside the accustomed side-view and made ¾ view. Change of the angle allowed to draw the facemask in detail and in 3D. Dark lines, which are going along the white fixtures, highlight the three-dimensionality. There’s a double white and grey stripe on top of the helmet. Orange became one shade darker.
1992 – 2005
In 1992, another modification of the Cleveland Browns logo was approved. Designers made the shape of facemask modern. The colors remained the same, they only became duller. The additional element – round white ledge appeared in the lower part.
2006 – 2014
In 2006, Cleveland Browns gave up on dull color scheme and went back to the orange color. The only change to this logo is that the facemask is now grey. Shapes, ratio, and thickness of stripes weren’t changed.
2015 – Present
The present logo of Cleveland Browns depicts a modern helmet that football players wear. It’s identical to two previous versions in shape – only the colors had changed. Seal brown is used instead of black. Orange became brighter and darker like burnt orange. There’s a white outline around the mask and bolt fixtures that are drawn in detail.