Rethinking the Redskins

Ira Boudway

Current logo


Controversy over the name of the National Football League’s Washington Redskins resurfaced in May, when 10 members of Congress wrote to the league and Dan Snyder, the team’s owner, asking for a change. The legislators said the name is a “racial, derogatory slur” against Native Americans. Snyder has long resisted a change. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell backed Snyder in a response to Congress, writing that the name stands for “strength, courage, pride, and respect.”

We asked David Placek and his staff at Lexicon Branding — the firm that came up with the names BlackBerry, Febreze, OnStar, Pentium, and FiOS — to cook up some new monikers for the team. Then James Skiles, creative director at Phoenix Design Works — the maker of logos for hundreds of pro and college teams, including the Colorado Rockies and Philadelphia 76ers — drew logos to match.

Lexicon’s notes


Initial R maintains connection to Redskins heritage

Allows for rallying phrase “Washington D.C. Rocks!”

“The iconic mythological bird looms over the top of the type”

— Skiles

“It’s so much like Skins — it’s quick and it’s fast”

 — Placek


Mind share with existing Bengals, Jaguars, Lions, and Panthers

Keeps the new name in the “expected” range for pro football franchises

“A fierce, iconic rendering of the mascot”

 — Skiles

“It’s pretty long, and people might create the nickname Leps — but what a beautiful identity”

 — Placek


No NFL team name starts with an M

Sounds modern, sleek, and powerful

“We were looking for a little bit of poetry”

 — Placek

“Fashioned to work with the idea of a D.C. Metro token”

 — Skiles


Widely recognized current team nickname

Possible high acceptance among die-hard fans

“The logo is going to be a little harder: Maybe it’s just a great, really strong S”

 — Placek

“A tattoo visual wrapped around a dynamic type mark, juxtaposing the tribal genre against a D.C. architectural icon”

 — Skiles


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