Sad news today out of Connecticut, where graphic designer Peter Good, who in 1979 created one of the uni-verse’s best and most popular logos for the Hartford Whalers, has passed away. His death was announced on Facebook last night by his family. The Facebook feed of his wife and business partner, Janet Cummings Good, indicates that he had been in hospice care for two weeks following the removal of a brain tumor. He was 80 years old.
Good created the Whalers logo as a work-for-hire gig for Jack Lardis Associates, an ad agency that was working with the Whalers at the time. Good was not a hockey fan and in fact had never designed a sports logo before (nor would he ever design one again), but he ended up creating one of the sports world’s most beloved logos. He was paid $2,000. More than four decades later, I still hear from people who say they’ve just had the “Aha!” moment of discovering the stealth “H” lurking within the logo’s negative space.
I interviewed Good for a 2016 ESPN piece. He was courtly and soft-spoken — a real gentleman. At one point I asked him if he was troubled by the fact that so many people took so long to notice the hidden “H.” He replied, “No, it’s a strength, because it engages the mind. And even if you don’t see it initially, there’s something about it that plays with perception, and that gives it a certain energy.”
Good saved some of his initial sketches that show the logo’s evolution. They’ve been published in various books and forums over the years:
The Whalers moved to North Carolina in 1997 and became the Hurricanes, but Good’s design remains popular on merchandise and sporadically appears on throwback uniforms (most recently about five weeks ago).
As coverage of the uni-verse expanded over the past decade or so, Good did a fair number of interviews. Here are some of them:
Good remained active in the design world throughout his life. The website of the Connecticut-based design firm he ran with his wife, Cummings & Good, showcases many of their creations. There’s a lot of excellent work there, but Uni Watch readers can be forgiven for thinking that one design stands out above the others. R.I.P.
(My thanks to reader John Dankosky for bringing Good’s death to my attention.)
Love the work you do and appreciate all the effort you put into it.
This story reminded me of the fact that I play hockey with the guy woi designed the Islanders ‘Fisherman’ logo. Needless to say we had a bit of fun at his expense.
Please reach out to him if you ever want to cover that logo. link.
Ted is a piece of work!
Honestly, Hartford should have an NHL team just on the basis of the strength of that logo and brass bonanza.
This is lovely Paul. Thank you. Me and some of my other journalist friends in Connecticut were bemoaning the fact that someone of Peter’s stature would have gotten a giant obit in the Hartford Courant back in the days when the newspaper was actually useful. It’s nice of you to collect such good memories of him for your audience. What a sweet man.
Grew up in CT, first professional sports event I ever went to was a Whalers game. My extended family lived for 2 things, the Red Sox and the Whalers (now just the Red Sox). I was 11 when they left, I literally stopped watching hockey for over a decade. I went to college and settled in NJ, tried to get into the Devils when the Prudential Center opened but honestly, the Devils are a bit superfluous. I live 9 miles from the arena and everyone around here likes the Rangers. Now that they’re good it seems people have come out of the woodwork, but I’ve struggled to see how the Devils are even sustained, as North Jersey truly seems like part of “Rangers Town”
So I ended up settling on the Bruins several years ago. It works, Bruins fans are usually Red Sox fans, I already like NESN, it makes sense. I like hockey, but it’s not the same. If by some miracle, the Whalers ever come back, you better believe I’ll be back there the very first night. I’d be the Whalers’ version of Puddy from Seinfeld. It’s not happening though. On one hand, the Greater Hartford area has about 2.1 million people. Problem is, most of those 2.1 million are close enough to either Boston or New York to be under one of those cities’ sphere of influence, including when it comes to sports. Plus you have Houston, Quebec City, Hamilton, Portland, OR, even Atlanta (again) all of which would make way more sense if a team needs to re-lo.
Ranks right up there with the Brewers’ Ball In Glove logo for clever use of letters and art.
A lot of old-time hockey stalwarts wore this logo when it was brand new. 1979-80 Whalers had Gordie Howe, Dave Keon, and Bobby Hull for a few games wearing the new logo.
Thanks, Paul, for putting together and sharing this tribute Mr. Good.
The Whalers logo is a great design, of course. But what elevates it to true art in my book, and indeed masterpiece-level art, is the way the tops of the outside legs of the W don’t quite follow the curves of the bottoms of the whale’s tail flukes. The easiest thing in the world would have been to have a consistent-thickness white line coming off each side of the negative-space H, so that the bottom of the flukes and the tops of the W legs had the same curves. They almost do but don’t quite at the very tips, and that almost imperceptible difference makes each element of the logo more distinctly itself in a powerful way. That detail is like the difference between a nicely drafted Mark Trail cartoon and a Matisse, or between a catchy ad jingle and a Django Reinhardt jazz solo.
Ouch. You nailed it. Bonus points for the Mark Trail reference.
Growing up in an AHL city in the 80’s and watching our Rochester Amerks play the Binghamton Whalers, Hartford’s AHL affiliate, I thought it was neat that they turned the Binghamton B logo on its side to make the Hartford logo.
I recognized my misunderstanding sometime after I turned 10 or so.
I went to college at SUNY-Binghamton and attended many B-Whalers games in the mid-1980s. I *loved* how they repurposed the Hartford logo!
Additional fun fact: The B-Whalers’ games were broadcast on local radio station WAAL, which was known as “the Whale.”
Super cool fact about the radio station, RIP Peter Good.
I was a hartford whalers fan because of the binghamton whalers (our then-local team). I still miss them both. The Binghamton logo was a really fun repurpose of the official big league team’s.
Rest in Peace to the creator of a truly remarkable sports logo who was not into the game himself. Reminds me of the legendary Reid Miles who designed many Blue Note record sleeves and never listened to jazz himself.
R.I.P. Mr. Good. Thank you for your wonderful and timeless creation.
It’s largely derivative of the original New England Whalers logo though, no?