Heading into the 2022-23 NLL season, the league did an exhaustive search of Indigenous artists to help create a new logo for its league wide activation. The NLL partnered with Justin Gilbert of Kuvua Designs to work on the new concept and logo. Justin was selected due to his work in support of Indigenous organizations and his connection to the cause, being born and raised on the Southern Ute Reservation.
After a few drafts and initial designs, both parties agreed on the design of an Indigenous child wearing a ribbon shirt and holding a wooden lacrosse trick, similarly used by players during the years the schools were established. The text “Every Child Matters” appears next to the image with a heart and feather.
The logo can be used as a lockup or individually with the text or the silhouette. When discussing what was important in the process for designing the logo, Gilbert stated, “In this logo I wanted to celebrate the culture we as Native Americans endured to keep. Since there are so many tribes that were affected by residential schools, my goal was to represent all Indigenous people who have been impacted.”
Specifically related to the design, Gilbert said, “We all have our own take on ribbon shirts, from Utes to Ojibway to Blackfoot and many more. Wearing them for special ceremonies, and also celebrating our culture in modern day events. Another similarity we have in common is our use of geometric shapes in our design. There are significant differences from tribe to tribe. Southern styles are more rigid compared to northern styles that have a flow to them. I created the designs on the child or more of a southern style and what I have been familiar with, and the script type has more of that flow which is more representative of the northern style of design.”
“I wanted to uphold the cultural significance of Indigenous hair with the braid especially considering the braid was one of first things taken at the beginning of their stay at the facilities. We have overcome the effort to take our tradition and now we celebrate all we have retained.”
To see more of Justin’s work, visit kuvuadesign.com and on his Instagram and Facebook pages.