Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What Is It You Were Saying About 'Good Intentions'?

By Bowen Hobbs

Recently, the Golden State Warriors unveiled the logo set of their latest re-branding. While they certainly had good intentions (like the guys in Pulp Fiction who were visited by Jackson and Travolta because didn't give the suitcase to Marcellus Wallace), the end product lacks cohesion and execution. Here is a rundown of the new logo set:

Primary Logo: I respect and appreciate the team's attempt to return to their history. And combined with the popularity of the team's Hardwood Classics jerseys, this was the correct direction to go in. And while the rendering of the bridge and offset containing circle create added motion in the logo, that is where the praise ends. The bridge in the logo is actually an unfinished part of the Bay Bridge, which connects San Francisco and Oakland. The rendering of the bridge, while not terrible, could be improved. Because of the variety of sizes and media in which the logo will be reproduced, there is a chance some of the thinner lines will get lost, especially if the logo is embroidered at a small size.

While the mark itself could be salvaged, the typography does not help it one bit. I mean, Copperplate? Really? Copperplate? Copperplate (the font) reached its peak popularity in the mid to late 90s, and has since been overused as many people only have it and other Microsoft Word fonts to choose from. But the client is the Golden State Warriors, a professional basketball team. They spend millions of dollars every year on player salaries, yet they couldn't afford to have a designer create a proprietary wordmark, let alone purchase a more fitting, unique font for the face of their franchise? To further compound the problem, GOLDEN STATE is spaced further apart than WARRIORS, and WARRIORS isn't even correctly centered below the logo! With the myriad of top-notch design firms and creative agencies in the Bay Area, I wouldn't expect this type of amateur execution.

Partial Logo: The bridge mark is instantly improved without the type next to it, but the basketball lines behind the bridge inexplicably flare at the ends, creating an uneasy tension in the logo. In addition, the bridge in the mark is off-center to the left, and centering the basketball seams does not balance the logo. Ideally the seams would be off to the right to balance the detail of the bridge to the left and create more motion within the mark.

Secondary Logo A: I can't believe this is an "NBA-caliber" logo. There is next to no cohesion between the W and California. It's not so much a unified logo, as it is two graphic elements slapped together. If the blue outline of the W was pushed behind the state, then the pieces might relate to each other better.

Secondary Logo B: At least it's not as bad as Secondary Logo A. However, it still has the flared basketball seams and Copperplate typography. Surprisingly, it's actually the least technically flawed logo in the set, but that isn't saying much. The main issue is conceptual: For a team that used the image of an unfinished bridge in order to unite the Bay Area, they suddenly took a graphic left turn and developed a mark that is exclusively San Francisco. (The Warriors play their home games in Oakland, by the way.)

Overall, this identity is muddled with technical flaws and poor design choices. As it turns out, the eastern span of the Bay Bridge is a perfect icon for this identity, as both appear to be incomplete.

In the name of unfinished business, the design for this week is a continuation of the Nebraska/Wisconsin uniform conundrum. With the Badgers, I wanted to keep the vast majority of the logo set. I did, however, modify the wordmark, using Eurostile for UNIVERSITY OF instead of Copperplate. The uniforms are where I really flexed the creative muscle, as they were inspired by the one-and-only Bucky Badger. The helmets are a wraparound design, reminiscent of the Michigan Wolverines, except the Wisconsin helmets take their cues from the head of an actual badger. Rendered in cardinal and white, the helmets offer a simple, unique solution that differentiates Wisconsin from new rival Nebraska. The jerseys are a vast departure from the current set, using the Badgers' proprietary typeface for the numbers instead of the traditional block font they currently use. In addition, I have added a WISCONSIN wordmark to the chest, and Bucky appears on the sleeves. The main difference is that I exchanged the two-stripe motif for a pinstriped look. The vertical white pinstripes appear on red, starting at the sleeves and extending down the sides of the jerseys, for a unique look in not just college, but all of football. The pants extend the pinstripes, which are contained in a broad red stripe, down to the knee. The primary home uniforms are cardinal jerseys with white pants, with a pair of alternate cardinal pants for special occasions. The away jerseys are white and are also primarily paired with the white pants, with the cardinal pants available for special occasions as well.

Feel free to comment about the new Golden State Warriors identity package, the Wisconsin Badgers design above, or anything sports branding related. Until next week.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Big Mess: When Conference Names Don't Add Up

By Bowen Hobbs

As college athletics encountered a small shake up this off season, I was reminded of certain branding issues within the realm of collegiate sports. In addition, some new issues developed as a result of the realignment. Here is a look at some of those issues:

First off, the SEC has a team name issue. Ideally (and in most conferences), only one team within a conference should have a specific mascot. The SEC defies this logic with two "Tigers" (Auburn and LSU) and two "Bulldogs" (Georgia and Mississippi State). Since these schools have shared the SEC for a while now, the chances of them correcting these overlaps is slim to none.

The Pac-10 recently added Colorado and Utah, giving the conference 12 teams. Chances are the Pac-10 will become the Pac-12 because they were the Pac-8 previous to Arizona and Arizona State joining the conference. In addition, the conference recently updated its logo (here is the old one, for comparison), which it will have to update again for the increased number of teams.

The Big 12 lost the aforementioned Colorado Buffaloes, as well as the Nebraska Cornhuskers, giving the conference ten teams. But the Big Ten is already taken as a conference name. Speaking of the Big Ten, I've never understood the logic of naming an 11-team conference a member short. This inaccuracy stems from Penn State's inclusion, as they are the 11th member team, but I've always thought it was wrong to keep calling the conference the "Big Ten". It sounds like they are trying to leave a team out. Especially now, with the Big Ten adding Nebraska, the name just sounds outdated. So do the Big 12 and Big Ten switch names? Even though that would solve the issue, it will probably never happen due to copyrights. But in order to get the discussion rolling here are some alternate names for the conferences to try out in lieu of swapping or doing nothing:

Big 12
Big Plains Conference (Pretty self-explanatory)
Great Plains Conference (Similar to Big Plains, but could also work)
Big Central Conference (Pretty self-explanatory)
All-American Conference (A name that could work for any conference throughout the country)
Great American Conference (See: All-American Conference)
Big Prairie Conference (Most of the conference is is Prairie country)
Heartland Athletic Conference (It would be perfect, if not for the D2 Heartland Conference)
Southwest Conference (Sure, Iowa State and Missouri aren't Southwest, but it has equity from the past)

Big Ten
Big Lakes Conference (Only Nebraska and Iowa don't border a Great Lake)
Great Lakes Conference (See: Big Lakes Conference)
Big North Conference (All the schools are in the Northern half of the country; good thing Missouri didn't join)
Classic 12 Conference (Still has that old-school feel, but it's free of the "Big" logistic issues)
Northern Athletic Conference (The NAC is somewhat generic, but it's open without a numbering headache)

A big part of why they may not re-brand is the amount of equity the conferences have invested into the existing names. However, at a certain point, they have to take accuracy into account, as they are affiliations of educational institutions. The easiest way to move forward (other than doing nothing and confusing children everywhere) would be to choose a name without a number. This would also be helpful in the event one (or both) of the conferences expands or contracts again.

To further confuse the situation, Nebraska and Wisconsin appear to be separated at birth. Both teams are red and white. Both teams use a two-stripe motif. Both teams use white helmets with red facemasks. Both teams have put a patch on the left chest of their jerseys (the Badgers moved the patch to the left hip of the pants) and place the TV numbers on their sleeves, instead of the shoulders. The only noticeable differences between the two teams (in football) are the logos and helmet stripes. The two teams' “official" colors aren't the same (Nebraska is Scarlet & Cream, while the Badgers are Cardinal & White), but the application (and variation) of their colors make the two teams almost identical. I have two proposals for a solution to this conundrum: 1) Both teams change and consult each other to ensure each team emerges with a unique brand. 2) Play for it. In Nebraska's inaugural Big Ten season, they should play Wisconsin for the right to keep the uniforms, with the losing team making significant stylistic alterations. In addition, it would make a great start to an emerging rivalry. It could even be played at a neutral site, like Lambeau Field, not to mention the added stakes would certainly help draw a national television audience. Of course, this would have to happen at the end of the season, so the losing team could have enough time to make the uniform change.

“Playing for the uniforms" could also help historical powerhouses whose styles have been imitated. Michigan could play Delaware for the helmets, while USC could vanquish Iowa State from its look. This concept could also have helped Oklahoma keep Indiana from playing copycat a few years ago. And the SEC's Bulldogs and Tigers could play for the mascots.

This week's design concept takes the Nebraska Cornhuskers and strengthens their identity. I started with the colors, making Scarlet & Cream mean scarlet and cream. All of the white has been converted to the cream color, giving Nebraska a vintage, aged look. Keeping a modified form of the current primary logo, I removed all traces of the Huskers script, replacing the outdated font with a slab serif, giving the identity a tough, no-frills look to match the team's style of play. The secondary logo is based on the patch the team wears on its jerseys. The tertiary logo is based on a long-held Nebraska tradition: the “Blackshirts". Instead of using the skull-and-crossbones, I decided to work in a black ear of corn. The wordmark is a slightly tweaked version of one of their current versions.

With the uniforms, I took the single stripe design of the helmet and consistently applied it throughout the uniforms. The helmet logo is now the primary logo, instead of the “default N" the team currently uses. The jerseys are scarlet at home, cream on the road, and there is also a black jersey to honor the Blackshirts. The secondary logo appears on the left chest of the jerseys, while the tertiary would appear on the back of the helmets of the Blackshirt group of defensive players. The jersey numbers switch from the standard block font to a proprietary typeface that matches the slab serif type and helps give the uniforms a vintage feel.

Feel free to comment on the naming issues facing the NCAA, the Cornhuskers concept above, or anything sports branding related. Stay tuned for next week, when I will show a design concept for the Wisconsin Badgers.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Holey Cow! Team USA's New Basketball Uniforms

By Bowen Hobbs

Team USA recently unveiled its new basketball uniforms to be used from the FIBA World Championships this summer through the 2012 Summer Olympics. The jerseys aren't a total re-brand from the previous set, but there are some significant new developments.

The Jersey: The '08 jerseys were on the simpler side, using a block number typeface and a USA wordmark also rendered in block letters. The Beijing squad's jerseys contained contrast panels near the armpits, but that look has gone by the wayside. The new jerseys are based on a new template that features a single strip of piping running down the front of the side panels. "Aerographics" (the sublimated graphics created by intricate perforations) make a return to the backs of the jerseys for this incarnation. The USA wordmark is red on both the home and away jerseys, with navy, white, and silver comprising the rest of the jersey. In fact, outside of the USA wordmark, red only appears on logo patches in this set, which is a stark contrast from earlier versions of Team USA's duds. Lastly, the jerseys have lost a significant amount of fabric between the extra tailoring and perforated designs that Nike has employed.

The Shorts: Nike boasts that the new shorts are half as light as a pair of normal shorts. In addition, the new shorts are lighter when wet than a pair of the old shorts are when dry. The simple white piping from the jerseys makes its way onto the shorts for a tech-inspired design. The perforations on the shorts are larger than their jersey counterparts. In fact, they appear to be almost the size of a pencil eraser. It's a good thing Nike decided to put a thin layer of fabric under the side panels that contain the Swiss cheese look. Lastly, USA Basketball's secondary logo of a basketball and a star appears on both legs of the shorts, while the primary logo appears on the front of the right leg.

So how do the new Team USA uniforms compare to the team's past looks? If the names on back are subtle like the 2008 version, I'd say pretty good. The uniforms are toned down, but not boring. The detailed oarts (read: Aerographics) are subtle and don't detract from the key information, like the numbers or USA wordmark. And if the players feel a competitive advantage from the lighter threads, then I'd say Nike did its job. France, China, Puerto Rico, and Brazil are also wearing the new-model uniforms as well.

In other news, yesterday the Orlando Magic and Utah Jazz have unveiled updated logos for the 2010-11 season. Orlando's new logo updated the typography of the old mark to match the type work on the jerseys. Overall, I'd say it's an improvement from the cartoony type the team previously used. In addition, the new typeface is more vertical, and fits better with the uniform's pinstripes. There is a slight disconnect between the wordmark and streaking basketball, but compared to the previous logo, it's a step in the right direction.

The Jazz have changed their color palette from navy, columbia blue, purple, silver, and white to navy, green, yellow, silver, and white. In addition, they've recolored their exisiting primary logo and reintroduced the classic "Music Note J". Here is a color comparison of the old and new primary logos. I use that term loosely because the music note will appear on the court, on the uniforms, and the "primary" will likely be phased out in the coming years. The uniform unveiling will occur in mid-August. It will be very disappointing if the Jazz opt for a navy road jersey. With only two teams in the league currently wearing green on the road (Bucks and Celtics), this is a major opportunity for the Jazz to create a unique on-court identity for themselves. A navy based scheme, however, will compare to the looks of the Pacers, Grizzlies, Nuggets, and Warriors, although Golden State is set to unveil a new logo and color scheme this summer.

This week, we have another "Double Play Design" with the current Brewers' opponent, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, leading off. With the Angels, I started with the name. A few years back, the "Anaheim Angels" decided to change their name to the "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim". They still play in Anaheim, although they are in the Los Angeles metro area. I decided to go back to "Anaheim Angels" and embraced the team's home in Orange County by adding orange to the design. Along with orange, the color scheme features scarlet red, and powder blue. This combination gives the team a distinctly Southern California vibe, and a unique color scheme in all of sports. The primary logo takes a Tuscan style A and anthropomorphizes it with wings and a halo. An "ANAHEIM ANGELS" wordmark appears above the stylized A. The secondary logo is a standalone version of the A, and is placed on all the caps. The tertiary takes the existing A and places it on a circular patch for a "Hell's Angels" feel. The caps add a retro flair to the identity by bringing back the famous halo, but in orange. The uniforms use the Tuscan font on the wordmarks and numbers. The home uniforms start with a white base and red caps, typography, belts, and shoes. The primary home jerseys use an orange/red/orange sleeve trim, while the home alternates use an orange/white/orange trim. The away uniforms feature a powder blue caps with a red brim, to match the powder blue base of the uniforms. While the primary away jerseys using the orange/red/orange trim that the primary home uniforms do, the alternate away uniforms use an orange/powder blue/orange trim in addition to powder blue type. The Sunday Alternates features white caps and a white uniform base, but add a retro vibe with powder blue/orange/red/orange/powder blue stripes running down the sleeves. The Sunday Alts also use the secondary logo on the left chest instead of having the ANGELS wordmark running across the chest.

On deck, we have the Brewers' next Interleague opponent, the Seattle Mariners. Seattle has used its current identity since 1993, and it looks that way. The current logo is a compass rose rendered in navy, teal, silver, and white, with SEATTLE MARINERS in the circle around the compass. The team currently minimizes it's use of teal, leaving them with primarily navy and silver uniforms. Talk about boring! In my re-brand, I took a page out of the playbook of the Seahawks (slate, navy, & lime) and Sounders (royal, lime, & navy) and focused on blue and lime green. This particular incarnation features navy as the primary color, with slate blue and lime green complementing the nautical theme. Logo-wise, my inspiration came from the Mariners history, more specifically the Trident-M they used late 70s and early 80s. I modified the Trident-M by removing the star and smoothing the curves with the mark. Then I had to think, "What goes with a trident?" The answer: Poseidon! Poseidon, God of the Sea, was the perfect mascot for a nautically-themed team. I rendered the aquatic deity in percentages of the blue and lime, perfecting his underwater-green skin and shadows. Then I added a wavy wordmark to give the viewer a visual conncetion with the ever-changing sea. The final touch to tie the logo set together was incorporating the Trident-M on Poseidon's crown. The tertiary logo is a standalone version of Poseidon's head, to be used a a sleeve patch on the jerseys. The uniforms (except the Sunday Alternate) showcase the "racing stripe" style with the twist of flaring the stripes as they approach the edge of the sleeve, resulting in a modern, yet retro look. The home uniforms start with a white base, and focus on the interaction of navy and lime green. They also feature the MARINERS wordmark and slab serif numerals. The home cap uses a white Trident-M with a lime outline. The tertiary logo appears on the right sleeve, instead of the left, so the logo faces forward. The away jerseys start with a sea green base and showcase the juxtaposition of navy and slate blue to complement the away cap, which uses a sea green Trident-M outlined in slate blue. A SEATTLE wordmark graces the chests of the two away jerseys, one in sea green and the other navy. The Sunday Alternate is a faux-back styled uniform with caps that feature white front panels. The uniforms are simple and consist of a white base with a contrast placket and sleeve trim. The secondary logo appears on the left chest of the jersey.

Feel free to leave a comment about Team USA's new basketball threads, the Angels or Mariners concepts above, or anything sports-design related. Next week, the discussion will focus on the Big Ten (12?), the Big 12 (10?) and the Pac-10 (11? 12?) and their possible branding issues. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

44th & GOOOOOOOOOOAL: A Uniform Guide to the World Cup 2010

By Bowen Hobbs

With the World Cup about to kick off in two days, the timing seems right for a World Cup uniform preview. As a sports uniform fan, I've always preferred the World Cup uniforms over the threads of professional leagues such as MLS. The reason is simple: I've never liked the use of a jersey as a glorified billboard. The use of ads on jerseys promotes a sponsor's brand over the team's brand. In addition, it can be very difficult to tell who is who unless you've done the research or have experience watching the teams involved. The World Cup, by contrast, uses no advertising on its uniforms, allowing bold striping and vibrant colors to take the stage over corporate logos. Here is a preview of the 32 teams:

Group A
South Africa: This year's host will sport a crest (that's soccer for logo) with a flower inside a shield and SOUTH AFRICA arced below it on a ribbon. Said crest will appear on yellow for the team's "home" games and on green for its "away" matches.

Uruguay: This South American squad's crest combines four stars across the top with a vertical AUF ribbon flanked by two stalks and a soccer ball. The home jersey is a light blue, while the away version is white.

Mexico: The Mexican team's crest contains an eagle perched on an abstract design, also with a soccer ball. The country's tri-color green/white/red also appears within the crest. The home jersey is green with a sublimated design across the front, while its away counterpart is black.

France: While Mexico is using an eagle, France opted for a rooster on its crest. Above the rooster is a single gold star and below are the initials "FFF". The triple-F stands for "Fédération Française de Football". While the French have worn royal blue in the past, this year's squad will compete in a darker version of the blue at "home", while the "away" jersey is white.

Group B
Nigeria: The Nigerian crest features a "Super Eagle" standing on a ball, contained in a circle of red lines and text. The jerseys are fairly simple with green at home, and white for the away.

South Korea: Channeling the "Eye of the Tiger", the South Korean crest features the large cat with a paw on a ball within a blue shield. The jerseys display sublimated tiger striping with the homes being red and the aways in white.

Argentina: This iconic team's crest contains a gold shield with a light blue/white/light blue bar and "AFA" on it. The crest is then placed on this iconic shirt for the home kits and this less iconic road version.

Greece: The Greek crest is primarily the flag. The team opted for simplicity on the home and away jerseys as well.

Group C
USA: The American team's crest is a stars-and-stripes laden shield with "US" and a ball striking through it. The home kit features a white jersey with a sublimated sash, while the away jersey is navy with a very noticeable sash.

England: Three blue lions grace the English crest. The jerseys are very minimalist, with the homes being white and the aways being red.

Slovenia: This crest-within-a-crest design is highlighted by mountains and rings. The mountains are also represented on the home and away jerseys for a Charlie Brown look.

Algeria: The team's crest incorporates a soccer ball with the crescent and star if Islam. The home shirt is white and fairly minimalist with a sublimated "Desert Fox" on the right shoulder. The away jersey is a light green with red and white pinstripes.

Group D
Australia: The Aussie home crest is yellow and takes a globe, flanking it with a kangaroo and ostrich. The away crest is actually black. The home shirt is primarily yellow with forest green shoulders and sleeves. The away jersey, by contrast, is black with blue shoulders and sleeves.

Germany: Emblazoned with an eagle within a circle and three stars above, the Germany crest is primarily black and is placed on a white home jersey with the tri-color running down the left side of the front. The away shirt is black.

Ghana: Ghana's crest features a red/yellow/green stripe swirling around a black with four stars below it in black. The home jersey is white with black accents and a sublimated star on the right shoulder. The away jersey is red and much more detailed with broad yellow stripes and green trim.

Serbia: The Serbian crest consists of a red shield with a white cross and a gold and white soccer ball. The home jerseys are red and uniquely feature a white cross with the crux at the left chest. The away jersey is a far more basic white model.

Group E
Cameroon: This African nation boasts a crest on the right chest of its jerseys with a soccer ball placed over the country's green/red/yellow tri-color. Four stars appear above the shield. In addition, the team wears a lion head logo on both of its jerseys on the left chest. The home jersey is green and fairly simple, complete with a sublimated lion head on the right shoulder. The away jersey is yellow, and features red pinstripes.

Denmark: The Danish crest is circular in nature and consists of "DBU" with ornamentation and text around it. The text is the spelled out version of DBU, which is "Dansk • Boldspil-Union". The home shirts are red with a patterned white stripe across the midsection. In addition, they feature a polo shirt style collar. The away jersey does not feature the same collar, but contains a more aggressive design.

Japan: The Japanese crest consists of a black bird with a ball, a single red vertical stripe on white, and the initials "JFA" above the bird. In addition the country's flag appears above the crest. The home jerseys are a dark royal wit ha red square at the front of the collar. and a sublimated pattern on the chest. The away shirts, by contrast are white.

Netherlands: The Dutch crest is a pentagonal shield with a lion's head facing left above the initials "KNVB". The primary jersey is one of the most iconic in all of international soccer, as it is orange with black accents. The clash kit, however, relies on the country's flag for inspiration with red and blue chevrons across the chest, while the crest appears on a circular holding shape.

Group F Italy: Like the Dutch, the Italian team does not uses its flag as the basis of its color scheme. Instead, the crest and uniforms primarily blue, white and gold, with green and red used as accents. The crest features blue, red, and green swirls making a ball with the tricolor of the flag behind it on a blue background. Above the tri-color is the word "ITALIA", and at the bottom of the crest there are four gold stars. The home shirts are the team's signature royal blue with a sublimated muscular pattern on the chest. The collar is very interesting, as it displays notches to separate the tri-color trim. Their away counterparts are white with a more traditional collar design that is trimmed in red, blue, and green.

New Zealand: The Kiwi team, nicknamed "the All Whites", use a badge that features a leaf over "NEW ZEALAND FOOTBALL" The jerseys are rather minimal, white the primary kit in white, and the clash kit in black.

Paraguay: This country's crest is contained in a circle, and consists of crossed red/white/blue striping and a gold star on another circle in the middle. The primary shirts are unique with red and white vertical broad stripes, while the clash jerseys are white with blue Adidas striping.

Slovakia: The Slovakian team uses the shield from their flag as a crest. The home jersey is white with blue accents, and the away shirt is blue with a sublimated patten on the chest.

Group G Brazil: The top ranked team in the world uses a crest in blue, green, and yellow that consists of a cross with "CBF" inside, and five stars arched over the top. The home jersey is fairly basic: it is a yellow base with green accents. The away jersey, on the other hand, is blue with yellow accents and a dot pattern across the front.

Ivory Coast: The only team other than the Netherlands in this year's Cup to sport orange as a primary color, the Ivory Coast's crest proudly displays an elephant whose trunk forms a C. The primary jersey is fairly simple, letting the orange speak for itself, but also features a sublimated elephant on the right shoulder. The clash shirt, however, contains horizontal striping in white and orange on a green base.

North Korea: The other Korean nation in the World Cup is full of mystery. While I was able to find a picture of the crest, the jerseys have not been officially unveiled.

Portugal: The Portuguese crest features a shield over a cross in red, gold, black, white, and blue. The home jerseys are red with a horizontal green chest stripe. The away version is white and displays two vertical stripes in green and red.

Group H Chile: The Chilean squad uses an oval badge with a version of the country's flag as the focal point. The jerseys are rather simple with red being the home color and white being the away color.

Honduras: The Honduran crest is blue and white and contains a tri-color, a soccer ball, and "HONDURAS" at the top. In addition, it is centered rather than placed on the left. The home shirt is white and features a horizontal chest stripe that fades from blue on the sides to white in the middle. The away jersey is primarily blue and contains broad white vertical stripes below the faded bar. Lastly, the Honduran squad also has a third jersey that is almost all blue.

Switzerland: The Swiss have two logos on the front of their jerseys: on the right chest they have their Soccer Federation's logo, and on the left, they have their flag. The primary jerseys are red with a plus sign pattern in the fabric on the front. The clash jerseys are a white version of the reds.

Spain: Spain's crest is very detailed featuring, a shield-within-a-shield, a crown, and two pillars. The home jersey is red with athletic gold accents and a segmented pattern on the collar in blue. The away shirt is navy with red and athletic gold accents.

So there you have it. With this guide you will more easily be able to identify the teams playing in the 2010 World Cup.

This week's design is for an upcoming Brewers' opponent, the Texas Rangers. The team's existing primary logo is the T from their hats over a baseball in a circle. I felt that there was an opportunity for the logo to be more indicative of the Texas Rangers law enforcement division that the team was named after, so I developed a logo based on a sheriff's badge. The logo is primaryily blue and white with red accents and a silver outline. For the wordmarks, I used a beefy slab serif font with barbs to take the viewer to the Old West. The secondary logo is a T, but in the new slab serif typeface.The tertiary is the only piece I kept from the current set. It is a logo based on the Texas flag, a great source of pride for Texans.

The uniforms feature sleeve and pant trim, but with a catch: the trim has barbs on it to match the look and feel of the typography, in addition to drawing a correlation to the barbed wire fence of ranchers. The tertiary logo appears on the left sleeve, and the numbers are a thick serifed block typeface with custom barbs added. The home uniforms feature RANGERS on the jersey, while TEXAS adorns the road uniforms, which were designed on a cool grey base. The home and road alternate jerseys are both royal blue, while the Sunday Alternate features a red jerseys that uses the T on the left chest.

Feel free to leave a comment on the Rangers design above, World Cup 2010, or anything sports design related.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pacific Coast League: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

By Bowen Hobbs

Two weeks ago, I examined the branding efforts of the International League. As an organization, Minor League Baseball is an interesting patchwork of brands, with some teams executing futuristic concept, and other looking back to the past. In addition, some teams' brands are new due to a revamped image or new location, while others have been the same for years. Below is an in-depth look at the banding efforts of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League:

The Good

Colorado SkySox: The logo set was re-designed in 2008 and is a drastic improvement over the previous scheme. Although I don't generally care for teams moving to a navy/red scheme, as it is overused in baseball, the colors (in this case) represent patriotism as Colorado Springs is home to multiple Air Force bases, in addition to the USOC. The primary logo is a mountain with eyes above a SKY SOX wordmark. Two wordmarks and two cap monograms round out the set. The set, as a whole, is beautifully rendered with the clouds around the mountain making eyebrows, and the detail of the type giving the scheme a unique, western feel.

New Orleans Zephyrs: The team was re-branded last fall, and the end result is a significant improvement over the previous set. However, the color scheme could be more "Mardi Gras" inspired, possibly using a green/gold or purple/gold scheme, which would be far more unique and fitting. In addition, the bat in the logo could be taller to better reflect a fleur-de-lis.

Oklahoma City RedHawks: The primary logo is quite an upgrade over the previous incarnation, especially when you consider the trouble some teams have had in dealing with the OKC initials. The secondary logos round out the set very nicely, as the monogram matches the primary and the hawk adds a "face" or mascot to the franchise. The end result is an old-timey ballpark feel with expert craftsmanship.

Portland Beavers: This has to be one of my favorite re-branding efforts in Minor League Baseball. First off, the name is great: it speaks to the local population, while giving the team a unique mascot within the PCL and all of MiLB. But the old logo wasn't quite as polished as it could have been. The colors weren't bad, but they were very original either. The new logo, however, uses the color scheme to show the team's affiliation to the parent club (the Padres), while establishing a unique identity for the team. The beaver in the new logo has a timeless feel, as shown by the illustration style and the uniform the beaver is wearing. The logo set is rounded out by three P-logos and a circular logo. In addition, the jerseys bring some originality back to baseball by using a piping style that resembles the Stan Musial Cardinals. Lastly, the wordmark skillfully incorporates a beaver tail into the script.

Reno Aces: The Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks was formerly known as the Tuscon Sidewinders. However, the team moved to Reno between the 2008 and 2009 seasons and were renamed the Reno Aces. Although I would have liked to see the team use a red/black/gold scheme in correlation with the playing card theme and parent club, I have to admit the overall design is rather impressive. The primary logo consists of an "Aces" script over a baseball, which may not sound all that original, but the beauty is in the details. The diamond in the A is a great subtlety, and ties into the card theme, the parent club, and more generally, the game of baseball. The caps use two versions of the A, while the team also uses a secondary logo of an A, spade, and a diamond with crossed bats.

Round Rock Express: Once again, a great name. You might have a hard time guessing this logo was unveiled between the 2004 and 2005 seasons. It also comes with an E-Train logo and a Double-R mark to complement the primary. The designs, although not perfect, are fairly well crafted and use the train theme without overdoing it. This design will become far more popular once the public is introduced to Rojo Johnson.

The Bad

Albuquerque Isotopes: While I love the name, the design could be better. The primary logo features an A with electrons flying around it, and the style has a nice 1950s aesthetic to it. The part that truly bothers me, however, is the type. While it fits within the Simpsons theme, it just doesn't look like it belongs on a baseball uniform. In addition, the gradients are tricky, as they don't necessarily work with the Simpsons theme, and they pose potential production issues. I'm sure if the team tried, they could find a workmark that is in line with the Springfield inspiration but not as sloppy looking.

Fresno Grizzlies: This one isn't terrible, it's just not that great. The color scheme is good, not overused. In the primary, the bear look a little off… for lack of a better word. And while it's an improvement over the previous version, something just doesn't seem right. The cap logo, however, is a good, albeit fairly common, idea.

Las Vegas 51s: The primary logo has some issues: while the alien head is great, and the LAS VEGAS wordmark is good, the 51s type does the good parts no favors. In addition, the 51s atom logo doesn't say aliens; it seems like a 'Topes spin off. Lastly, the BP cap uses a western style LV that doesn't even remotely fit the sci-fi theme. If I were working on an update, I would simply re-do all the typography for the sake of consistency.

Memphis Redbirds: The primary logo is a big part of why this team is in the "Bad" category. The colors aren't good either. It's never a good idea to combine navy and black, especially when the team is named the "Redbirds". In addition, the logo says absolutely nothing about the team name. It's just vintage for the sake of being vintage. The supporting marks don't match the primary at all, but at least they describe the team better.

Nashville Sounds: The Brewers' Triple-A affiliate uses a color scheme of black, red, and yellow. But if your team is named the "Sounds" and it's located in the mecca of country music, shouldn't the color scheme be more rustic? Using brown or a typeface that inspires thoughts of ranching and twangy guitars would be a start. The overall package seems somewhat generic, especially when the overall concept could be very fun and much more specific. This branding effort comes off as a lost opportunity.

Sacramento River Cats: It's not that the rendering of the primary logo is that bad, it's the type work and color scheme. The color scheme needs to be paired down, because as it is, the black, burgundy, royal, gold, and shades of grey are just too much. In addition, the type is trying too hard to be "wild". It looks dated.

Salt Lake Bees: The colors are fitting, and the name is great, as Utah is the "Beehive State", but the primary logo leaves room for improvement. The rendering of the bee is cute, but it is more of a cartoon than a logo. In addition, logo-wise they will always be compared to a Burlington squad whose mark is far superior. The main issue (other than the bee rendering) is the type too closely resembles the Pirates, and the team is affiliated with the Angels. This cap logo illustrates the point nicely.

The Ugly

Iowa Cubs: Wow! The primary logo takes the existing Cubs mark and slaps a grocery store script "Iowa" next to it. I realize there is a lot of equity in the Cubs name, but this doesn't do it justice. With such a long history to pick through, you'd think the Iowa club could find something more appropriate, or even put a new spin on the classic identity. To make things worse, their home cap says IOWA in plain block letters. At least the generic I on the road cap isn't as gaudy, but it's not much better either. If they tried, they could have a great scheme.

Omaha Royals: If you thought the I-Cubs were bad, look at this! It's not much more than clip art. Maybe it's the three outlines on the "Royals" wordmark, or the generic bat that could use a twin to balance the mark, but this might just be the worst sports logo I've ever seen. And they put it on a hat! I've seen high school with better logo sets, and I'm not kidding at all. A simple crown and some rational use of color would greatly improve this. At least the new BP cap is a step in the right direction.

Tacoma Rainiers: It couldn't get much worse, but it didn't exactly get much better. The compass rose is borrowed from the parent-club Mariners, but the navy and red seem generic and not at all appropriate. A color scheme that actually reminded viewers of the Pacific Northwest would have helped. In addition, the type could be more… anything but plain, although the bevel is executed well. The alternate logo is decent, but it only appears on the road cap, and the T doesn't match the typography in the TR-compass logo.

Today's design section is once again a double-play. First up, we have the Brewers' current opponent, the Florida Marlins. Since they will move to a new ballpark and change their name to the Miami Marlins, I felt it was appropriate to start there. I kept much of the existing identity but modified it. I removed the black and replaced it with a charcoal grey that features a slight teal hue. The marlin is streamlined from this to the version below. The type features a two-tone effect that mimics the aquatic theme. The secondary logo is a standalone M, to be worn on the caps, while the tertiary logo adds the marlin and appears on the BP caps and the right sleeves of the jerseys. I chose the right sleeve because the current Marlins jerseys place the logo on the left sleeve and the marlin faces backward, which is a sign of cowardice. The home sets rely on the team's signature color, teal. The uniforms feature "wavy" sleeve and pant piping and two-tone type work to, once again, enhance the aquatic theme. The home alternate jersey is a teal version of the white jersey. The primary road uniforms utilize a teal cap with a charcoal brim while the jerseys feature charcoal grey type. The road alternates are charcoal-based with charcoal hats and jerseys. The Sunday Alternate uniform is similar to the primary home set, but with the charcoal hat and charcoal type.

Next up, we have the Kansas City Royals. After studying their Omaha counterpart, I decided to show what a Royals team could be. And to be honest, most of the design could apply to the Omaha club with come edited type work. The color scheme start with an ultramarine blue, which is closer to purple, the color of royalty. It is complemented by cerulean and golds. The primary logo is made up of a lion wearing a crown under a ROYALS wordmark. The secondary is a modified KC logo, to be worn on the caps, and the tertiary is a crown that appears on the alternate caps. The home uniforms use a tricolor trim and combine it with the ROYALS wordmark and a standalone lion head on the sleeve. The home alternate is ultramarine with white type. For the roads, I started with a sand color for the base. Both away jerseys feature a KANSAS CITY script that corresponds to the ROYALS script from the logo, complete with a crown dotting the I. The away alternate features gold type on an ultramarine jersey. The Sunday Alternate is far more modern than most of the Sunday sets I've put together, as it features blue sleeve inserts in the shape of a crown on a gold jersey. The KC logo appears on the left chest, since the crown logo is on the caps. Lastly, the pant striping is altered from the primary sets to correspond to the gold jerseys.

Feel free to comment on the branding efforts of the Pacific Coast League, the double play designs above, or anything related to sports branding.