New York Cosmos: A Conversation With the Artist Behind the Logo

Cesar Diaz@@gritwriterCorrespondent IIFebruary 16, 2011

Wayland Moore; The artist of NY Cosmos Logo
Wayland Moore; The artist of NY Cosmos Logo

"I love people, and I love passing on what I know. My philosophy is: if you have talent - use it." - Wayland Moore

A few weeks ago I engaged in a conversation with my friend and mentor Miguel Algarin (Tio); owner and co-founder of the Nuyorican Rican Poets Cafe. During our conversation Tio had inquired if there was a piece that I was most proud off.

To be honest, I never took a moment to consider which article was my Article of Articles.

Slightly embarrassed, I told him no. Feeling the need to save face, I told him that my Article of Articles would have to be one of the New York Cosmos. It didn't have to be my best article but it had to be the one that I was most proud off.

Following our conversation, I stayed up all night asking myself what would my Cosmos Article of Articles be about.

It must have been around four in the morning when it me. After 15 minutes of staring at the New York Cosmos logo the same way Bobby Fischer stared at a chessboard, I simply wondered who was the artist responsible for creating the New York Cosmos logo 40 years ago. A question so obvious and simple but yet I neglected it.

Once rested, I spent the next few days rereading every book I had on the NASL in hopes of finding my answer. During that span, I was expecting David Tossell's Playing for Uncle Sam and Clive Toye's A Kick in the Grass to arrive by mail. 

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After a few days of reading, I finally found my answer. Chapter Seven, page 49 of Clive Toye's book was where I discovered that the artist responsible for creating the New York Cosmos logo was Wayland Moore. Clive mentioned that Mr. Moore was an excellent artist artist based in Atlanta.

Now that I had the name I was looking for, it was time to find Wayland Moore.

Once I found the Wayland Moore Online Studio, I simply sent him an email in hopes that (1) he was still alive and (2) he would grant me an interview.

A week later, I received an email from Mr. Moore and he agreed to grant me an interview and he would gladly answer all my questions.

Feeling that I won my Golden Ticket, I told my main contact from the New York Cosmos about the news, and said if she had any questions about the Cosmos logo, I would have no reservations asking.

A few days later, I spoke with Mr. Moore and it was one of my most enjoyable experiences of covering soccer. To be honest, we didn't really touch on soccer because Mr. Moore had informed me that he'll mail (not email) me his replies with the week.

The enthusiasm in his voice as he told me his experience of seeing Hank Aaron round the bases on the day he broke Babe Ruth's home run record was awesome. The pride in his voice was evident when he informed me that the Atlanta Braves jersey Hank Aaron wore that day was Mr. Moore's design and it's in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Listening to Mr. Moore's touching recollection of Hank Aaron's monumental day made me honored that he took time out his schedule to talk to me. I had that seem feeling when I received his package because the contents in it were amazing.

Here are the questions that Mr. Moore answered:

When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?

Age seven or eight. Drew cartoons from the newspaper. Age 11 or 12 started private art lessons until graduation from high school. Due to my size 6'4", I played sports, had the opportunity to play college football—did not, instead majored in Art at the Ringling College of Art in Sarasota, FL.

Many years later, I covered three Olympics for large sponsors. They were the 1980 Winter, 1984 Summer, and 1996 Summer Olympics. I guess as an athlete, I would have never been involved with the Olympics.

I designed the uniform worn by the Atlanta Braves when Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's Home run record.

How did you meet Clive Toye?

I was involved in youth soccer with Phil Woosnam. He introduced me to Clive about the time the Cosmos started building a team. From our meetings, I designed the Cosmos logo.

Are you a soccer fan?

Yes! Yes! Coached youth soccer because I had three children that played. This year, my oldest son David and his soccer team of 1977, Hartwick College of Upstate N.Y. will go into the college soccer Hall of Fame. They won the championship in 1977.

Did you follow the NASL and meet any of the players?

Always!!! Being a Sports Artist, I knew them all and keep up with some to this day.

What was your involvement with the Atlanta Chiefs?

I designed the uniforms and logo for the Chiefs. I painted all the program covers.

How does it feel knowing that 40 years ago you created the most historic and recognizable logo in American Soccer?

Clive Toye always said this logo (Cosmos) of yours will stand the test of time. Seems he was right.

What was your inspiration behind your New York Cosmos logo?

First it must be recognizable at a glance, it must show movement of soccer. Clive picked the colors because their colors are bright and fit the great outdoors of stadiums.

I read in your website that you taught art to federal inmates and I wanted to know what was your motivation behind it? How can one get involved?

First, Cesar, don't get caught doing something that you shouldn't. I have always, and to this day, gave my time to teach, speak, and just try to give others a helping hand.

Do you have any books on your artwork and poetry for sale?

I have one book of poetry that the studio sells. A book on my world of art is being written now—by a female professor and book critic that works with a couple of publishers in New York. I will keep you informed.

NY Cosmos: How did New York City influence the design?

Very much so, notice the colors are not Red, White, and Blue. Instead these colors I used seem to cross more boundaries. The logo is simple and to the point with shapes creating movement from the soccer ball.

NY Cosmos: What is the inspiration behind the shapes and color?

Shapes create movement to the ball while the colors depict colors of other nationalities.

NY Cosmos: What do you call the three "blade" shapes on the logo?

Movement... at first I was thinking of using the shapes as the Boroughs of New York but that complicated the visual design.

NY Cosmos: Why those colors for the blades... in that order?

To include nationalities and the colors helped make a pleasing design.

NY Cosmos: Which font did you use originally and why?

The font was simple and easy to read on a uniform.

While I'm glad to have found the artist who created the Cosmos logo, I'm more honored to have met the humanitarian that Mr. Moore is. Because of his generosity and the wonderful conversation that we had, I'm more proud than ever to have been a lifelong New York Cosmos fan.

While I'm always going to be proud of the team's accomplishments, I'm also going to be proud of the fact that I met Wayland Moore. If you have a favorite team, how often do you get to meet the artist behind the logo?

As a result, I now have my Article of Articles!

Thank you Mr. Moore.

To see the items that Mr. Moore sent me please go to Covering Soccer on Facebook. 

For more info on Wayland Moore, please go to Wayland Moore Online Studio.

Cesar Diaz covers Soccer for Latino Sports. You may follow him at Twitter at @CoveringSoccer and @LatinoSports143. Please email your questions and comments to Cesar at cesar@latinosports.com.


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