The Kansas City Chiefs logo: a history (2024)

By Adam England


We take a look at how the Kansas City Chiefs logo has changed since the team was founded.

The Kansas City Chiefs logo: a history (1)

The Kansas City Chiefs have been an American football fixture since being founded in 1959 – even by many who don't follow the NFL too closely, they're instantly recognisable.

And, of course, that's particularly true in 2023. Even people who'd have been hard pressed to name an NFL player before a couple of months ago are now familiar with the Chiefs and their tight end Travis Kelce due to his alleged relationship with superstar singer Taylor Swift.

As a result, the team's logo is being seen more frequently at the moment. But, while it's been their logo for a long time – and is often considered one of the best NFL logos – the Kansas City Chiefs have had other logos before. From their previous incarnation as the Dallas Texans to the logo many of us are familiar with today, here's a look back at the Kansas City Chiefs logos over the years, as well as who created them and the thinking behind them.

And if all this logo talk gives you some inspiration to make your own design, you can take a look at the best logo designers here.

The first Kansas City Chiefs logo: 1960-1962

The Kansas City Chiefs logo: a history (2)

Cartoonist Bob Taylor designed the first logo for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1960, a year after businessman Lamar Hunt founded the team. At the time, they were based in Dallas and called the Dallas Texans.

To that end, the first logo features a gun-toting cowboy running with a red map of Texas in the background. He's wearing a hat, carrying a pigskin football in his left hand, and wearing cowboy boots and a shirt that says 'Texans' on it.

Originally, Hunt wanted the team's colour scheme to be orange and Columbia blue, but he ultimately went for gold and red after the owner of the Houston Oilers picked orange and Columbia Blue first.

It was a fitting logo for the team before they relocated and changed their name, with the map of Texas and the cowboy making it clear where the team was based and the red and gold colour scheme symbolising strength and success.

The loincloth Kansas City Chiefs logo: 1963-1971

The Kansas City Chiefs logo: a history (3)

In 1963, the Dallas Texans relocated to Kansas City, Missouri. Hunt thought about keeping the team's name, but Jack Steadman, who was the team's general manager at the time, persuaded him to change it. They settled on the Kansas City Chiefs, in honour of Harold Roe Bartle, mayor of Kansas, who was also known as The Chief.

Taylor designed the team's new logo, too, and it had many similarities with the first. The cowboy was swapped out for a Native American man, who is running with a tomahawk rather than a gun. Likewise, the red map of Texas in the background was swapped out for a white map of Missouri and some of its nearby states.

His loincloth has the letters 'K' and 'C', and he's holding a pigskin football like the gunslinger in the first logo. The colour red still plays a part in this logo, although it's a more vibrant red than in the previous iteration. The team still use the same red six decades on.

However, it's a logo that hasn't aged well, particularly in an era when teams like the Washington Redskins have changed their names due to accusations of racism against Native Americans.

The stripped back Kansas City Chiefs logo: 1972-present

The Kansas City Chiefs logo: a history (4)

In 1972, the Native American man disappeared, with a simple, stripped back logo taking the place of the last one.

Hunt reportedly designed the logo on a napkin on a road trip back to Kansas City, and he took inspiration from the logo of the San Francisco 49ers, and the interlocking 'S' and 'F', which sit inside an oval. But rather than an oval, the 'K' and 'C' of Kansas City sit inside an arrowhead – the team play at Arrowhead Stadium, and have done so since 1972. This is the last aspect of Native American imagery that remains in the current logo.

The sans-serif font Hunt used was original, with his hand-drawn letters still used in the logo –there's almost a 3D effect due to the bold black outlines around the red lettering.

The logo was first used on the team's helmets during games, before it was promoted to the overall emblem used by the team. It differs from the team's previous two logos, but the minimalist design works well – it does what it needs to do, and over the last 50 years it's become very recognisable.Sometimes, less really is more.

For more sporting logo histories, see our Miami Dolphins logo history, the history of the Philadelphia Eagles logo and the NBA logo history.

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Adam England

Adam is a freelance journalist covering culture and lifestyle, with over five years’ of experience and a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from Cardiff University. He’s previously written for publications including The Guardian, The Independent, Vice and Dazed, and was Senior Editor at from 2022 to 2023. When he’s not writing, he’s probably drinking coffee, listening to live music, or tinkering with his Apple devices.

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