In 2005, before he was designing logos for professional franchises like the San Francisco 49ers and college athletic programs like Southern Mississippi, recent Utah State University graduate Ben Barnes decided to use his skills on fantasy sports.
Fast-forward seven years and Barnes is still at work, creating new logos for friends in his football and basketball leagues.
"I saw designing fantasy logos as not only a way to make our league a little bit more fun," Barnes wrote in an email with Playbook, "but as a good way to keep my skills sharpened."
It doesn't stop there; the winner each year, Barnes said, gets a mini helmet (football) or a pair of basketball shorts (basketball, obviously) with their logo affixed -- "[it] really kind of ups the ante a bit," Barnes said.
Here's a look at some of Barnes' designs, plus a few more we found on the web and/or got sent to us in this second selection of our favorite fan-created fantasy logos.
Barnes' take: For the most part we keep the same logos year after year. That's what makes it kind of fun. We don't really make up new names each season -- we treat each [one] as a genuine franchise. Once in a while teams will have me redesign (new ownership, etc).
My team is the Zermatt Abominables, which merges my love of Switzerland (did a study abroad there) and my love of the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland. And Yetis, of course. For the most part, there's a similar story behind all the logos.
Attention Horse, by Kyle O'Brien Caird
The name "Attention Horse" is a nod to the Hoosier State's National Football League Team -- the Indianapolis Colts. Have you heard of them? They are a little team that used to have a guy named Peyton-the-Manning.
I am a designer so I had to have more than a stock logo. The design was a quick scanned-in sketch and reads "Attention Horse" wrapped inside a football shape. The star represents my championship in 2011. Any more refinement and I would have had to bill myself for the hours.
And to my buddy, Kyle Glennon, who said, "All the logos in the world won't help you this week!" Jokes on you -- looks like I took the week
The Dirtbombs, sent to us by Jeff Horne
The Dirtbombs are a band I was listening to a lot back in college. When my buddies and I started our league I just thought the name "Dirtbomb" sounded perfect for football. We've had our league for nearly 10 years, and the name has stuck, but I'm always doing something different with the logo.
Goodell Bear Hugs, by Kyle Robarts
I thought Roger Goodell's awkward long hugs with the draft picks this year were pretty ... well ... awkward -- so I just thought [the name] would be funny. ... At first I just used this picture of Goodell but [it] didn't really work for a logo.
East Coast Bias, sent to us by Logan Ladnyk
My team is called the East Coast Bias as a parody of the idea that ESPN favors sports coverage of the East Coast. Although I did not follow the mantra of the team and have picked players from all over, my team did win the league title last year.
[In the logo], the entire eastern coast makes up the base of the B, uniting the southernmost coastal state of Florida, the northernmost Maine, and everything in-between. Set in front of the Daytona Beach skyline, the "I" is dotted by the brightest light of the background, uniting the picture as a whole. The gold color of the text reflects a championship mindset, as ECB is prepared to successfully defend its title.
Gronkey Kong Country, sent to us by Jesse Holt
Rob Gronkowski became a favorite amongst our group last season during a Chiefs game as we created this highly fictionalized, oafish version of him that always spoke in the third person, sounded somewhat like the Incredible Hulk, and asked to hang out with Tom Brady all the time. Later on, we found out just how awesome Rob was when we saw his Madden Cover Vote campaign video. When using him as inspiration for a logo, I realized Donkey Kong could be a great fit. From there, it was finding the appropriate pics to create the image (in Paint of course). As for the random igloo, I've used an igloo in my team name for five years and didn't want to completely get rid of that so it stayed.
This isn't nearly as technically proficient as some of the others out there, [but] I'm still proud of it and had a fun time making it.
And finally ...
Kalil Me Maybe, by Jordan Schneider
A badass team deserves a badass logo, simple as that.
All images are property of the designers.