04/20/2010 9:58AM

Form Fitting


The new running horse artwork in the Daily Racing Form logo has stirred up all manner of reactions. When unveiled last week, it was like awakening to a whole new world:

"If I wanted modern art, I'd visit a freeway underpass," wrote Gwen K. from Fallbrook, Kan.

"The over/under on when they'd change that thing was 2020...I win!" exclaimed Rodrigo Z. of Ypsilante, Mich.

"It's official--the graphic artists have taken control. Run for your lives," warned Pamela T. of Truth or Consequences, N.M.

The change was no small thing, especially in a competitive business climate that places high value on branding and product recognition. And do not think for a moment that the choice of the new look was made in haste. The process was arduous. Debate was hot. And if you don't think so, here are a few of the designs that were considered and then discarded, some more reluctantly than others:

Empty_pockets This illustration, at left, was judged too much "on the money" as it were, especially since, in fairness, the winner of each race is right there somewhere in the Daily Racing Form past performances.
ImagesCA319HMISupporters of the logo art pictured at right were a more light-hearted group, and finally had to be reminded that betting on horses is serious business and that, with strict space limitations, there was precious little room for humor in the pages of the DRF.


We've all seen this expression before, at left, usually after a brutal photo or an outrageous DQ. The designer who submitted this particular sketch caught the mood, but he was a troubled soul and is no longer on staff.Selection_148_99

 A case always can be made for an edgy, breakout design to attract a crossover audience, which is undoubtedly why this one (right) got a lot of staff support. But then the question remains: Cross over to what? 

Finally, there was my personal favorite (below), a graphic representation of all that is desperate, dangerous and ultimately heroic about this grand sport and its supporters, both behind the scenes and at the windows. It's also probably for the best that I didn't have a vote.