© 2011 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

11/18/11 3:30 PM EST

Blue Jays unveil new logo for 2012 season

Club undergoes third major redesign in its 35-year history

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays dipped into their past when looking for inspiration for the club's new logo that was revealed at Rogers Centre on Friday afternoon.

The new look is a modernized version of the franchise's first logo that was used from 1977-97. It features a sleeker-looking Blue Jay bird head with a prominent red maple leaf to showcase Toronto's standing as the only Major League Baseball team in Canada.

The design also marks the return of "Blue" in Blue Jays for the first time in almost 10 years and will be reflected on two of the three uniforms.

"I always thought of it as the Blue Jays," team president and CEO Paul Beeston said. "I know Jays was kind of a nickname for it, but we were the Blue Jays, and it was on all our material.

"At the end of the day, we went right back to where we were and we upgraded it. It has been energized, it has been modernized, and I think when you started looking at it, the players wanted the same thing."

The primary logo has the sharp-featured bird head imposed on top of a baseball and a red maple leaf. An arched solid blue font "Toronto" is above the baseball with "Blue Jays" located below, and the entire logo is fully encased in a blue and white split-line circle.

The new look was more than 18 months in the making. It was created by the Blue Jays with assistance from the Design Services division of Major League Baseball, in conjunction with members of Toronto's staff, manager John Farrell and several players.

The secondary club logo will be the focus of the cap and helmet. It features the bird head with a blue crown, navy blue beak and neck accompanied by the red maple leaf. That look will be used for all home, away and alternate uniforms.

"It's exciting, because we're going back to the 1992-93 look," third baseman Brett Lawrie said. "It's good in that aspect and it's good to bring blue back to the city of Toronto.

"I think it looks good, a mix of old-school and new-school."

The Blue Jays also will return to a double-knit polyester fabric for all of their uniforms. The switch from the previous Climate Base material was made at the request of the players during the consultation process.

The Climate Base material is lighter in nature, but players thought it became too heavy once they started to sweat, and the polyester is expected to breathe a bit more naturally.

Toronto's home white uniforms will have "Blue Jays," while the traditional grey road uniforms have "Toronto" across the front in blue and white split-lettering font.

Royal blue will be the main color scheme for Toronto's alternate uniform. It has arched "Blue Jays" lettering across the chest and two white stripes at the bottom of each sleeve. The jersey can be worn with either the home white or road grey pants, and all three uniforms will have the secondary logo located on the left side of the player's chest.

"We were all part of the development and the design of these new uniforms," slugger Jose Bautista said. "Our input was asked for by the management, the front office, and I think it was very nice of them to do that.

"We're going to enjoy playing in these uniforms, just like we have in the past, but this is going to mark a change of culture in this organization, and hopefully moving forward, we'll be in the playoffs on a yearly basis."

The logo is the seventh in Toronto's 35-year history and its third major redesign. The first logo was introduced in 1976 and spanned 20 seasons before a change was implemented in 1997.

The second logo, which was designed by the Design Services division of Major League Baseball, put more of an emphasis on Canada's national color, as the red maple leaf served as the backdrop for the bird head.

In 2002, the club went through its second major rebranding process. The Toronto-based firm Brandid opted to focus on "Jays" and used traditional baseball script with three-dimensional metallic letters with an emphasis on a black and silver color scheme.

Toronto's latest version once again embraces the full Blue Jays name, which was an important initiative for Beeston, who was hired as the club's first employee in 1976. Beeston departed the Blue Jays in '97, but he returned again in 2009 to become the club's president and CEO.

"I really believed that we should go back to the blue," Beeston said. "The black wasn't for me. It wasn't for me when I was in New York or heard about what they were going to do. But I wasn't in charge, so they could do what they wanted to do.

"We knew that we had two or three years where we could have a look at it, we could examine it. ... To be quite honest with you, when you start looking at it and you come back with what you had before, it just proves that's probably what you should have had before, because everybody agreed with it."

The Blue Jays became the second team in Major League Baseball to go through a major rebrand this offseason. The Florida Marlins changed their name to the Miami Marlins earlier this month and also unveiled a new logo.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.