Cincinnati Bengals logo history: The story of the Bengals tiger logo
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Cincinnati Bengals logo history: The story of the Bengals tiger logo

Cincinnati Bengals logo history

Are you familiar with Cincinnati Bengals logo history? Unless you’re a die-hard fan of the professional football team, you might not know much about where the Bengals tiger logo came from.

However, this unique emblem has actually evolved several times over the years.

Competing in the National Football League, the Cincinnati Bengals are a popular sports team, well-known for their brightly colored branding and uniforms. The club was created in 1967, and has evolved ever since, producing a number of wordmarks and designs over the years.

Today, we’re going to provide a behind-the-scenes at the Cincinnati Bengals symbols, the iconic tiger logo, and the history behind the brand design.

An introduction

The Cincinnati Bengals is an American football team, created in 1967, who played their first season in 1968. The group was created after Paul Brown, following dismissal as the Browns’ head coach in 1963, was given permission to create another football team in Cincinnati.

Initially, Brown wanted to create another NFL team, but it wasn’t until he approached the American Football League when he was awarded the opportunity to create the Bengals.

According to Brown, he named his team the Bengals to link it back to previous professional football teams in Cincinnati. The region also had another Bengals team which played in three football leagues between 1937 and 1942.

The name also inspired the coloring for the Cincinnati Bengals logo.

Brown chose the exact same shade of orange as the team he had previously coached (The Browns) and added a set of black stripes to help differentiate the two groups.

Cincinnati Bengals logo history

While the Cincinnati Bengals logo has gone through some significant modification and changes over the years, the tiger theme and coloring has always been present.

The unique orange and black color palette have remained with the company throughout various depictions of both different group emblems, and wordmarks for the brand.

Cincinnati Bengals logo history


The first design for the Cincinnati Bengals emblem was perhaps the most complex ever created by the group. This logo was a far more cartoonish version of the group’s branding than we’ve seen since.

Introduced in 1967, the image was a full caricature of a bright orange and black tiger.

The tiger (clearly a Bengal tiger to represent the team), is running towards the right, with one paw outstretched and the other holding an American football. A helmet is flying behind the tiger, just above his tail, indicating it has just fallen off his head.

The friendly and cheerful image, though complex was excellent for evoking a sense of dedication, determination, and passion for the sport. The design is still looked upon fondly by many fans of the Cincinnati Bengals today.

Cincinnati Bengals logo history


In the 1970s, the Cincinnati Bengals symbols changed to something a lot simpler. Removing the tiger character entirely, the company introduced a simple orange helmet design, with the word “Bengals” written on top in thick black font.

At this point, the team was relying entirely on its unique color palette and existing presence in the football industry to connect with followers. Though the imagery of the tiger was gone, the coloring helped to remind us of the original image for the brand.

Cincinnati Bengals logo history

Throughout the years, a number of different variations of the Bengals helmet logo were created. In 1981, the Cincinnati Bengals removed the “Bengals” wordmark, and replaced it with a series of smooth black stripes intended to represent the coat of a tiger.

Cincinnati Bengals logo history

In the 1990s, the team updated this image again, making the lines a little more refined and the helmet shape a little more sophisticated. With stronger contours and a more detailed grill shape for the front of the helmet, the new logo seemed a lot more professional and modern.

The black stripes on the orange background were also cleaned somewhat.

Cincinnati Bengals logo history


1997 represented the beginning of a new era for Cincinnati Bengals logo symbols, this time bringing back the tiger character. This variation of the tiger was far more serious than the cartoonish design we saw when the Cincinnati Bengals were first introduced.

The image includes only the head of the tiger and nothing else, with the careful use of shadowing, and an open mouth symbolizing the fierceness of the creature.

Cincinnati Bengals logo history

To accompany the image, the team also created a wordmark, designed in a bold slab serif font, and placed in a two-line structure. The wordmark was used either alongside the tiger’s head emblem, or on its own in various forms of branding.

Cincinnati Bengals logo history


In 2004, the Cincinnati Bengals logo changed again, and the tiger emblem was dismissed in favor of something much simpler.

Today, the main “primary logo” of the Bengals is a large capital “B” in a slab serif font. The “B” features the iconic bright orange of the Bengals team, covered in black tiger stripes.

Cincinnati Bengals logo history

Interestingly, the wordmark sometimes used in conjunction with this new version of the Bengals tiger logo is very similar to the design from the end of the 1990s. The font is almost exactly the same, but the word “Cincinnati” now appears in bright orange, while the “Bengals” word is still in black.

Most sports groups will eventually change their logos over time to match the trends of the industry and help to differentiate themselves from other teams. The Cincinnati Bengals are no exception.

When the team first changed its logo from the tiger cartoon, it was looking for a simpler and more refined image, easier to share in a range of different mediums.

Over the years, the owners have experimented with different designs to help align the team with the other contenders in their field.

The most recent Cincinnati Bengals logo is intended as a way of demonstrating the energy of the brand, and their powerful personality. The “B” is instantly recognizable, and it also helps to draw the mind back to the man who coached the Cincinnati Bengals to begin with.

The Cincinnati Bengals tiger logo today

The Cincinnati Bengals emblem today is an eye-catching and powerful symbol, intended to showcase the energy and power of the team. The stylized bold “B” in the group’s iconic orange, with its thick tiger stripes helps to remind us of the origins of the group.

The colors and font choices of the Cincinnati Bengals work together to create the image of a team with significant passion, strength, and ambition.

You can find some Cincinnati Bengals logo resources here:

What font does the Bengals logo use?

The font is now one of the most significant parts of the Cincinnati Bengals symbol, evident in both the primary logo, and the wordmark. The design of this typeface is unique to the Bengals Tigers.

The Cincinnati Bengals logo font is a slab serif design, featuring extremely thick and bold letters, with all capital letters. The custom font makes the outfit look edgy and powerful, while ensuring the name is easy to read in a range of formats.

Though the font for the Bengals logo hasn’t always been a major part of the group’s image, the color choice has remained a significant component of this team’s identity.

The official Bengal logo color palette is based on the colors of a Bengal tiger, and also has some links back to the Browns football team too.

The Bengals logo colors are black, orange, and white. The white elements are often used as accents, while the black and orange are the main Bengals colors.

HEX: #FB4F14
RGB: (251, 79, 20)
CMYK: (0, 85, 100, 0

HEX: #000000
RGB: (0, 0, 0)
CMYK: (70, 50, 50, 100)

Celebrating the Bengals logo today

Cincinnati Bengals logo history offers an insight into how the identity of a sports team can evolve and transform over the years. While there has been a number of Bengals logos so far, the team has maintained some of the most important elements of its image year after year.

Today, the Bengals logo is a symbol of strength, energy, and hope for people who follow the team in their football career.

Fabrik: A branding agency for our times.

Stephen Peate
Creative director
Stephen Peate
Creative director
As Fabrik’s creative director, Stephen oversees complex branding programmes. He advises our clients on their tone of voice, creates logos and visual identities and crafts names for companies, products and services. Writing for Brand Fabrik Stephen reflects his love for logo design and visual identity.

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