With the launch of his own Curry Brand in 2020, the Warriors star also launched a new logo mark. Boardroom breaks down its backstory.
For most signature athletes, the logo adorning each of their annual sneakers follows them throughout their career, from model to model as their respective series extends.
As Stephen Curry explains it, the re-framing and re-positioning of his Under Armour endorsement deal, first landed in 2013 and later morphing into the launch of his very own Curry Brand subsidiary in late 2020, was cause for taking a new approach.
“I thought it was great to have a fresh start. I know everybody [knew] the SC — aka the SportsCenter logo,” he joked. “We were seven signature shoes under that logo, and it had a lot of success with it, but I thought [it would be good to have] a fresh start under the Curry [Brand] name.”
While several brands and athletes have followed the ‘initials + jersey number’ format over the years when creating a signature logo, Curry was looking for a more abstract gesture that could still layer in multiple meanings at once.
Sure, the logo would be incorporated on signature shoes, but it would also need to live in a variety of other settings. Curry’s vision is for the logo to represent not just a signature series, but a fully immersive brand that is soon extending into multiple sports and product silos — emblematic of the impact he’s had on the game and away from the court.
At the start of 2019, the conversation picked up around launching Curry Brand a year and a half later with new branding. The Curry 8, the first product from the new venture, would also be debuting the company’s new Flow technology, giving the Curry Brand more innovation to launch with.
The former head of Curry Brand, longtime industry veteran David Bond, called on the Seattle-based Tether Agency to explore creating an entirely new logo and branding identity. The agency had a familiarity the company, having worked on signature campaign launches for the Curry 4 and sneakers headlined by Cam Newton and The Rock.
After months of concept work and feedback from Curry to start the year, Tether founder Stanley Hainsworth eventually met with Stephen at his Curry Camp in the Bay during the summer of 2019 to hammer home the ideas and land on the final logo.
“The brand logo is a flair off of a lot of different inspirations,” said Curry. “My signature being one, you’ve got the ‘S’ and the ‘C.’ Anybody who’s seen my signature, I do the big ‘S’ and ‘C’ in there. It’s also kind of a play on the ‘3’ [hand gesture] symbol that is a huge part of my game and something that I hope I transformed on the court in terms of what it means to shoot the 3 with volume and efficiency.”
While the starting point may be still be initial-based, it’s the way in which the curves and flow of the logo merge together to form a more loosely-geared new shape that gives a different initial read than his prior logo.
“You also have the higher arc here, a nod to the halo effect and me drawing in inspiration and purpose from my faith and the overall presence within the game,” said Curry. “It’s a cool little collaboration of all of those different inspirations.”
While not every logo needs a nickname, the mark quickly became referred to by a familiar Curry-related term.
“We call the logo the ‘Splash,’” said Ryan Drew, Curry Brand GM.
In addition to the logo mark, the full package of “Curry Brand identity marks and guidelines” — as it’s officially called within their offices — also includes an entirely custom font type that is seen across all apparel and written text from the brand.
“The Curry font, which is on the shoe box, all of the curves and lines is the 3-point arc,” described the league’s all-time 3-point leader. “You have that as a consistent thing in the ‘C’ and [all of the letters.] … I thought that was pretty dope that we could bring that to the product and to the brand and have a fresh start.”
Already, the brand logo has been spotted on a variety of basketball court donations, on the uniforms of the Howard Golf Women’s and Men’s teams that Curry is personally funding, the jerseys of his beloved Davidson basketball, and the history-making special edition Curry 9s he laced up last December at Madison Square Garden.
To celebrate the December 2020 launch of the logo, Curry treated himself to a custom diamond pendant set in rose gold and crafted by Kilani Jewellery in Toronto, who shut down their entire workshop’s production in October 2020 to create the piece for him.
“It was the most I’ve spent on a chain. I’ll leave it at that,” Curry laughed. “It’s probably the most flair and the biggest piece I’ve ever had made, but it obviously has a special meaning.”
Now two seasons in, as Curry Brand continues to grow and expand, it has stayed rooted in its “Change the Game for Good” tagline and giveback-first approach. Establishing the new logo along the way has been a point of emphasis since the beginning.
“It’s important for us to show consumers that while Under Armour and Stephen have been partners since 2013, this brand has its own identity and is unique in its purpose-led mission,” added Drew. “At the end of the day, it’s all about impact. We are committed to the Splash logo always being a symbol for doing good.”