Miami Marlins: “LOOK AT OUR COOL NEW TYPE!!!”

I go back and forth on this new Marlins garb. Some days I like it, some days I hate it, and other days I’m completely indifferent towards it. Which might just be a sign of reluctant acceptance. Strange design that you can’t quite wrap your mind around is one thing, though. Poor design is a whole ‘nother.

Take this screengrab from their Facebook page, for example:

1) There really isn’t any reason for “LIKE” to be done in the style of the logo. We get it. You have a cool new font. But, it’s already right there in the logo, so it’s wholly unnecessary for it to be forced into smaller type that sits just above the logo. Especially if the designer isn’t going to do the same with the type below the Marlins logo.

2) Speaking of the type below the Marlins logo… so much wrong here. For starters, the type is too big and, therefore, competes with the logo. (As does the “LIKE”, by the way.) Not to mention that it isn’t all that important anyway, so it can be reduced without losing the overall message. “TO JOIN THE CONVERSATION” could probably have been smaller and gone on one line, which would have also alleviated the need to make “TO JOIN THE” larger than “CONVERSATION”, as if the first line were more important than the second. It isn’t. It was simply done for aesthetic purposes. And to be honest, even if the type were left on two lines, there’s still no real need to justify it.

Also, a drop shadow? The rest of the type is outlined in black, so why stray from that path for this copy? And why a drop shadow anyway? Given the amount of Photoshop work done to the rest of the ad (Shown in its entirety at the very bottom of this post.), the drop shadow just comes off dated and lazy. In all honesty, this type probably should’ve been done in black to help separate it from the logo, anyway. (The way the copy was done in the Marlins Park Inaugural Season logo down at the bottom left.)

3) The thumbs-up done as a batting glove is a cute touch, but given that there’s so much going on in its general vicinity, it just winds up adding to the confusion. I’d probably have just kept the thumbs-up in this ad simple and maybe saved the batting glove version for isolated “LIKE” buttons.

I know I’m nitpicking a small selection of a meaningless design that was probably done by an intern, but it never hurts to see where something like this went wrong and maybe learn what we can do differently to make it better.

Here’s a mock-up that’ll give you a quick look at what I might have done differently:

My main gripe, really, was the need to force the art deco type down people’s throats, which, unfortunately, I think we’ll be seeing a lot of in the coming years. My advice? Let the logo sell the design and let the simplicity of the rest of the copy serve as an effective accent. 

And below is the original ad, as seen on the Miami Marlins Facebook page:

Los Angeles Lakers: This Is Not A Good Look

I haven’t looked at the Official Customized Jersey Handbook in quite some time, but if “Don’t ever, ever, ever put a player’s nickname on a jersey” isn’t in the first 15 pages, it may be time for a new edition.

I came across that monstrosity you see above in a South Florida mall today. Fortunately, it was in the sale section of the store. Unfortunately, someone thought it wise to produce in the first place.

The black Lakers jersey is awful enough (This coming from the person who defends 99% of all black jerseys, mind you.), but to then go ahead and add a forced nickname that nobody outside of Kobe Bryant’s immediate family even pretends to like? I mean, just wow.

Please, society, don’t do this again. Don’t buy this. Don’t make this. I know that the internet suggests that this is already a thing people are doing, but let’s all just agree to ignore it and hope it goes away.

Carolina Panthers: Less Is More (Updated)

If you blinked, you might’ve missed the changes the Carolina Panthers made to their logo.

Yes, the changes, they are subtle, but the results are wonderful. Here, let’s put them side by side and we can play this like one of those “Spot the Differences” games you find on the back of a Lucky Charms box:

Gone is the only thing about the logo that I never really liked: the hokey, blue stroke around the Panther. (And the thinner black stroke around that, as well.) While it may only be a small change, it does a world of difference in making the logo look less cartoonish.

The interior of the panther’s head also saw some minor tweaks here and there, and while, ultimately, that may not have been necessary, the designers did an exceptional job with the new look. I especially like the new eyes and the way the blue creates the shadow around the panther’s left eye.

By far, my favorite part of the redesign, though, is the wordmark. The grungy, cartoonish (There’s that word again!) type used in the original wordmark was fine for a while, but over the last few years, it was beginning to look a little dated. Enter the new wordmark: a cleaner, more presentable version of the franchise name that still does a decent enough job in establishing its own personality. If the old script logo was you with nose piercings and red hair in college, the new script logo is corporate you with a long-sleeved dress shirt hiding that bald eagle tattoo on your bicep.

Overall Opinion

I’d still like to see how this whole thing works on the actual uniforms, but my initial impression is that the designers did an excellent job of changing just enough.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, it looks even more awesome on black…


Update: While I obviously disagree with a few of Uni-Watch’s opinions about this logo, I couldn’t help but notice one word he used to describe the old one: “cartoonish”. (There’s that word again!)

Winnipeg Jets: Just Say No to Clip Art

When I was a kid, one of the things I loved about sports logos was how certain teams managed to blend aspects of their sport and city into their design. For instance, the Milwaukee Brewers (Again with the Brewers? Yes. Again with the Brewers.) managed to work a baseball and a glove into their initials without it looking like four different designs were awkwardly stitched together to create a digital Frankenstein monster.

In hockey, the Hartford Whalers, New Jersey Devils and, of course, the iconic Detroit Red Wings logos come to mind. In logos like these, it always feels like care was taken to seamlessly blend multiple ideas into one beautiful piece of art.

That isn’t always the case, though, as you can see when you stare at the new Winnipeg Jets logo, which also sort of looks like what would happen if you were to forget to turn off one of your layers in Photoshop.

The Logo

As I pointed out before, the design elements of a logo all need to work together, not compete. This isn’t a club flyer, where you just throw a bunch of pictures together to make it look as cool as possible. And that seems to be one of the problems with the new Winnipeg Jets logo.

Forget, for a minute, that the fighter jet looks like it was ripped straight from a book of clip art— Actually, don’t forget that, because it’s frustrating when you compare it to the design of the maple leaf, which, in my opinion, is pretty great. Of course, not only did they bury the only part of the logo they got right below the clip art jet, they also contorted it into a futuristic starburst that makes it look more like a plane is exploding and catching on fire than a jet hovering above a maple leaf. Why change the leaf only for the main logo, anyway? (The isolated maple leaf is from the sleeve. More on that in a minute.)

And why stack to begin with? I’m all for combining elements, but the stacking of one on top of another for no real reason, other than you want them both in your design, is silly and amateurish. The jet winds up blocking too much of the leaf and the leaf winds up detracting from the jet. (Which probably isn’t such a terrible thing, considering the seven minutes of work that went into designing that element.) Also not helping matters is the fact that both the leaf and the jet are done in two-tone, which works fine separately, but creates a bit of a distraction when put together.

I tried to fix that, so you can see what the logo would look like if the leaf were one solid color (above), but I don’t even know that that helped. Again, find a way to get the two elements to work together or come up with a different idea, but just placing one on top of the other isn’t designing, it’s lazy.

(After writing all of that, I came across an article where a commenter points out that the jet’s wings and nose actually complete the maple leaf. Huh. Well, look at that. That commenter would be correct. Unfortunately, that commenter, along with the designers who created it, are the only people on Earth who make that connection when looking at the logo. Maybe add a little red to outline the plane? I don’t know. The gray against the red makes it extremely difficult for someone’s eyes to ever view the two as a single unit. Even knowing what it should be, I still have trouble seeing it. Interesting idea, horrible execution.)

As for the circle surrounding the planeleafthingie, my first guess was that it was supposed to make the whole logo feel a little like a hockey puck. And while you might consider that the laziest attempt at incorporating some aspect of the sport into the logo, at least they tried, right? Well, don’t worry. Apparently, they didn’t. No, the circles are simply patterned after the roundels used by the Royal Canadian Air Force, which means that, once again, we have another design element haphazardly thrown on top of another design element haphazardly thrown on top of a maple leaf that isn’t even Winnipeg’s to begin with.

Screw it. I see a hockey puck. I’m still giving them credit for that one.

(I still wonder why the plane gets to break the circle at the top, but the bottom of the maple leaf doesn’t. Is it also a compass pointing north? Did the designer think a plain circle would just appear lazy? It’s hard to be certain, really.)

In their defense defence, the Winnipeg franchise has never been all that good at incorporating multiple elements into one design. I do admit I’m a sucker for the hockey stick “J”, though.

The Shoulder Patch

Listed as their alternate logo, this tribute to the RCAF appears on the shoulders of the jersey. (At different points during this post you may have to stop and remind yourself that this is a hockey team and not a segment of the Canadian military.) As I said earlier, I love—LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!—the design of the maple leaf here. The rest of it is pretty nondescript, though. Could be a patch on a hockey jersey, could be a pin they sell at Hard Rock Cafe. Hard to love it, but I also found myself having to actively search for reasons to hate it, which is a plus, I suppose.

From Nondescript to Inexplicable Script

I’ve yet to see where and when this script logo will be put to use, but I can only hope the answer to those questions are “nowhere” and “never”. A futuristic script typeface might have made sense if it were used anywhere else in either logo, but by itself, for no apparent reason? Um, okay then.

As far as the font choice goes, this looks like something you might find on dafont.com. It’s a little too cheesy for my taste and I wish they would’ve pulled the letters together a little more. All that unnecessary space between each letter just winds up forcing the designer into gray overkill. Tightening up the kerning and maybe making the white stroke a little thicker could probably help with that.

Oh, and look! Another element just thrown into a design for no real reason. Who’d have thought? The way the maple leaf is used here makes it no more valuable to the overall design than the trademark.

The Jersey

Hard to hate on the jerseys. They both have a cool, crisp feel to them and I love that they chose not to use red anywhere except the maple leaf; it really forces your eye to the logo in the center of the jersey.

As with my taste in most hockey jerseys, I’m seriously digging the road whites here. My only issue is the decision to have the blue from the shoulders continue down the sleeves while still keeping the elbow stripes. It doesn’t necessarily ruin it for me, but it is a little awkward. Like the player recently broke out of restraints or something.

Overall Opinion

Apparently, this whole thing was designed by Reebok, which doesn’t surprise me at all, as you can almost imagine the logo sitting perfectly on the tongue of a basketball sneaker.

I do like that it has more of a modern feel to it; I just wish the designers would have done a better job of bringing everything together. To me, this logo is fine for a generic hockey jersey in the next Batman movie. For a professional club, though, the design, as a whole, is a little weak.

The good news, of course, is that when the Jets ultimately decide to change things up in a few years, Toronto can steal their maple leaf back, tweak a few colors, and maybe have themselves a modernized third logo to complete some kind of “Past, Present & Future” kit…

Logos, for the most part, found here.

Miami Marlins: Not Necessarily the Worst Thing to Ever Happen to Baseball

A few months ago, I wrote a little something for Marlins Daily about the Miami Marlins attempt at rebranding the franchise. (Yeah, I know. Starting a new blog off with old material is pretty weak. You’ll live.) Here’s an excerpt:

When this logo leaked, the first thing I noticed was that it looked like someone had melted South Beach all over it. We’ve got five colors going on here (orange, blue, white, yellow and silver, not counting the black foundation), which is just absurd. The silver is more of an accent color than anything, though, so it brings us down to a slightly more reasonable, yet still pretty ridiculous, four colors.

The blue and the orange are crisp, clean colors that you’d have a hard time complaining about, and the white is, well, white. I don’t know that there’s anything else you can say about that. But, with all that out of the way, it leaves us staring, dumbfounded, at Crayola’s newest creation: Unnecessary Yellow.

It goes on to talk about focal points and kerning and a bunch of other aspects of design that you’ve probably never even considered, so feel free to go take a look and learn yourself some stuff today. I even made sure to include a whole host of pretty pictures to keep you from getting bored and falling asleep at the keyboard.

Pretty Snazzy, Yo!: An In-Depth Look at the New Uniforms of Your Miami Marlins [Marlins Daily]