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Uni Watch DIY Project: Shell Game

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[Editor’s Note: Today we have a DIY primer from reader Elliott Josypenko, who’s been designing his own football helmets. Enjoy. ”” PL]

By Elliott Josypenko

A few months ago I decided I wanted to expand my football helmet collection. Being a fairly hands-on person, I didn’t see the point in simply buying new ones — I wanted to make some myself. So over the next few months, I set about designing, cleaning, sanding, painting, and polishing my own football helmets (I have completed two of them, with a third well on the way), and I’m going to show you how you can do it too. At times it has been incredibly frustrating — I’ve made more mistakes than you can imagine — but the satisfaction that comes at the end of the job is worth it.

Step 1: Designing and Sourcing. The first step is to pick a design. For many people this is obvious — it may be your high school team, your favorite NFL team, or a company design. I used Helmet Hut and the Helmet Project for inspiration.

Finding the right color paint is relatively easy, but finding the correct decals to make your helmet authentic may be much more difficult. There are a number of sellers on eBay who specialize in decal packs. Or, for a more unusual design, you can get decals individually made. If you see the design you’re after, buy it — you may not see it again.

The next step is to find yourself an old helmet to work on. Again, eBay is your friend here, but you could also see if your local high school is throwing anything out. The quality isn’t at all important — even cracks can be repaired with a bit of know-how and hard work. Once you have your shell, carefully remove and clean all the accessories (nuts, bolts, facecage, padding) and store them safely.

Step 2: Sanding and Reshaping. Once the shell is completely stripped and cleaned, its time to create a smooth surface. This can take a while, but it’s worth it. I would start with 240-grit wet-and-dry sandpaper to remove the worst wear, stepping up to 400-grit, working it all over the shell. This removes small scuffs and some shallow cracks.
Large cracks and chips can easily be filled with putty. Once you’ve applied it, leave it to dry and sand away, to leave a flat surface. If the helmet has a center ridge, putty can also be used to repair scars in that.

Step 3: Priming. Priming the shell is important because it levels out the surface and gives the paint a surface to stick to. Generally, I would go for a white primer, although gray or black may be sensible for darker top coats. The choice of primer type (enamel or lacquer) can be important, but if you leave it to cure for three weeks, I’ve generally found anything can be used. Auto primers are my choice for this.
Be sure to mask off anything that you don’t want painted. Use five to six coats, reapplied every 20 minutes, to give a thick surface. After a few days of drying time, you can level the shell, using 400- to 600-grit sandpaper, giving you a nice, level surface. Take care, though, since you can very easily remove more paint than you intend to. Take your time on this and be prepared to re-spray and re-sand to get that perfect finish.

Step 4: Painting. Choosing your paint is the interesting bit. I have a local auto shop that has over 500 colors, so I take along some photos of what I’m trying to achieve. In most instances, there are two or three different options that would be absolutely perfect.

I usually set up the helmet shell for painting by standing it on a tall soda bottle, meaning you can easily reach the edges of the shell. Again, just as with priming, apply five to six thin coats at 20-minute intervals to get a level finish.

Once you are happy with results, you need to leave it for a couple of weeks to cure.

Step 5: Color Sanding. For me, this is the really tough bit. Now that you have your top coat, you need to decide the best way to get it to shine. There are a number of different options available to you.

Applying a clear coat of auto lacquer can work, especially if the top coat is particularly good and doesn’t need sanding. I’ve also found that lacquer works particularly well with metallic paints.

Alternatively, you can level your top coat using a process called color sanding. This involves sanding the shell with increasingly fine wet-and-dry sandpaper. Start sanding the shell all over with 600-grit and work your way up to 800, 1000, 1200, 1500, 1800, 2000, and 2500, ending at 3000. The idea is to get a perfectly level surface and gradually make it smoother and smoother, so by the end, you are effectively polishing it. In practice, I’ve found this to be almost impossible. It takes hours and you need to be incredibly thorough. You also need to be extremely careful to make sure that you don’t remove too much paint. Too little and it’s not smooth; too much, and you need to start again. I’ve lost hours to my life trying to color sand!

Step 6: Polishing and Decals. At this point, it’s all about getting the shell shiny. Slowly work in a polish, such as Novus Plastic Polish, and buff to make the helmet shine. Once you’re happy with your work, re-install the padding, facecage, and chinstrap. Generally I would buy a new chinstrap and jawpads and use new nuts and bolts. Buying a new facecage is an option, or you can refurbish one just like you refurbished the shell.

The next step is to apply the decals. Get some good photos or video game images to use as references, and use landmarks like bolts and earholes to help guide your decal placement.
The very last step is a little-known equipment managers’ secret: I always finish off each helmet by coating it in a layer of floor polish. I spray on a coating of Future (also known as Klear in certain countries), which gives a very deep shine. Don’t use too much, as it can leave a waxy residue that’s difficult to remove.

Remember, a helmet that’s been reconditioned like this should not be worn — the sanding and painting make the shells ill-suited for competition. But they look great on the shelf.
Thanks, Elliot. Keep those DIY projects coming, folks.

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ITEM! Membership News


Wouldn’t it be cool if you could have a sheet of stickers based on your membership card design?

Now you can. All past, present, and new members can now order a sheet of stickers like the one you see above. It’ll include four stickers about the same size as your membership card, plus one larger sticker (6.75″ x 4.375″), manufactured by our friends at Sticker You. The high-quality vinyl stickers are water- and sun-resistant (and hence suitable for outdoor use, as I’ve learned from personal experience) but are also easily removable, with no gunky residue. Stick ’em on your desk or wall, stick ’em on your car bumper, stick ’em on a football helmet, stick ’em on your forehead — the possibilities are limitless.

The price: $15 for one sheet, or $26 for two. Those prices include shipping.

The rules:

• You must be a Uni Watch Membership Program enrollee.

• You can order stickers at the same time when signing up as a member (unfortunately, these will have to be two separate transactions, and your card and stickers will be shipped separately — sorry for the hassle), or you can order stickers at any time after enrolling.

• You can only order stickers based on your own card design. No mixing and matching, no changes to your design, no exceptions, no foolin’.

• For now, we’re limiting orders to two sheets at a time. If the process goes well, we hope to make larger quantities available.

Capiche? Good. Here’s how to order:

1a) To order one sheet of stickers, use this button:

1b) To order two sheets of stickers, use this button:

1c) If you you don’t like electronic payments, send a check, money order, or well-concealed cash in the proper amount, payable to Paul Lukas, 671 DeGraw St., Brooklyn, NY 11217.

2) After placing your order, send me an e-mail confirming your card design (especially for those of you who have more than one card).

That’s it!

All of this sticker-ordering info has been added to the membership sign-up page, so it’ll be there anytime you want to order stickers.

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Beefsteak bargain: If you’ve been on the fence regarding the upcoming Brooklyn Beefsteak event, here’s something that should help push you over to the meaty side: The organizers are offering a $5-per-ticket discount to Uni Watch readers. Enter the code “SIRLOIN11” when purchasing your tickets.

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The latest installment in the Permanent Record series is up now on Slate. Plus there’s a bit of bonus material on the Permanent Record blog, and there’s also new content today at the Butcher’s Case.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: Took a nap during last night’s Mets game and woke up to find a few dozen e-mails from people telling me about the logo you see at right, which apparently began circulating whilst I was dozing (click on it to see a larger version). Is it legit? I honestly have no idea. Yes, I’ve confirmed that it is. Is it any good? Remove the wordmark and put the logo on white background and it might not be the worst thing in the world. … Another NHL third jersey has been leaked, and this time it’s the Leafs. ”¦ Fourth graf of this story indicates that Francisco Cervelli, recovering from another concussion, will go back to wearing the Gazoo/S100/etc. helmet, which he wore last season but not this year, when he returns to action. At present, I don’t think anyone in the bigs is wearing the S100. ”¦ Remember Illinois’s double-striped helmets? No? Then learn about them here. … Okay, so I wouldn’t want to drive this car — but some of you probably would (from Mako Mameli). … Good round-up of NHL throwbacks here. ”¦ Lots of jerseys and other gear from Friday Night Lights are for sale (from Adam Yarnevich). ”¦ Remember the story of that fan-submitted Chiefs prototype? Anthony Trommello points out that it looks a lot like what’s used by Buena High School in New Jersey. ”¦ Nike has released its NFL base-layer set for next season. ”¦ Here’s a little backstory on those crummy new Ohio uniforms (from Patrick O’Neill). ”¦ Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Washington State is having fans vote on which uni the team should wear for homecoming. ”¦ Bears are apparently wearing orange this weekend. … I love this little sneaker character showing off his tread. ”¦ Did you know a high school team with Clemson-esque uniforms once snuck onto the field during warm-ups and pretended to be the Clemson team? Details here (big thanks to Beau Franklin). ”¦ John Parker reports that DeSean Jackson had a bit of XYZ trouble on Sunday. ”¦ “I know SI neglects hockey, but someone should have realized they were using the old NHL logo,” says Justin Kerr. ”¦ Ever wondered what Johnny Unitas sounded like in the huddle? Now you can find out (from Ben Fortney). ”¦ Some great 1950s NFL footage here (from Jerry Wolper). … Good article on baseball statues. … Wisconsin is repainting its end zones (from Alex Bauer).

Comments (198)

    NY Times Statue Article claims Colorado doesn’t have a statue outside of the stadium.


    May not be a real player, but it’s still a statue.

    I’ve received numerous e-mails from concerned patriots that the person depicted by the statue was born in Kenya and has a phony birth certificate…but you won’t read THAT in the New York Times, either.

    I grew up near Buena Vista, NJ and am actually going up there this weekend to play a round of golf with my father, but just for the sake of it being considered weird by outsiders, it is pronounced “Bewna Vista”.

    I’d known about Byoonah, but never knew about Byoonah Vista.

    Oh, those Pineys; it’s true what they say about people from 609.

    we also have a Greenwich that is pronounced Green-wich. I was very confused the first time anyone spelled Greenwich Village for me.

    Marlins logo is legit, that image is taken from t-shirt samples for next year; the block text wordmark is the same for every team.

    Should be in the 2012 Style Guide already

    At first I thought it was a stadium logo. But if that is in fact the team logo, then I feel bad for Miami.

    I have to say I’m quite surprised by the number of people (particularly on the Chris Creamer board) who like this. Often I can see why other people would like a logo design even if I don’t, but I’m struggling to find any positives out of this other than the stylized Marlin-esque wrap-around shape (which I’ll admit is pretty cool). I’m no stickler for tradition, but to me it looks like the logo for a tech consulting firm, not a baseball team. I think the biggest problem for me is using three distinct colors and then adding gray on top of it to create a 3D look. It just seems far too busy for a baseball logo, and if they go with black as a primary color as well it’s even more troubling.

    I think it would have been more effective if they’d gone for a full-on Art-deco design, since Miami is known for that in it’s historic architecture.

    @Fred: That’s an interesting take. I can see that design on a big banner on the outfield wall. It does look like a logo for a property developer, or a bank. It also brought to mind the old New York MTA logo. That said, I don’t dislike it, and the designer gets points for not following the recent trends in sports logo design.

    If that is legit then the Marlins are owed a hearty congratulations for owning the worst logo in Major League Baseball. #Fail #Fail #Fail

    Their only hope is to wear tequila sunrise ripoff uniforms. It’s just impossible to make all those colors work together on a “traditional” baseball uniform.

    That’s like saying the Blackhawks have to somehow make blue, green, yellow, and orange work into their uniforms. The only places they appear are in the crest (some also appear in the shoulder patches).

    My guess is that the uniforms will be primarily black and one of the other colors (My guess will be orange). Black cap, undershirt, shoes. Orange letters and numbers. The blue, yellow, and silver will be accent colors.

    It really does look like the logo of a county fair or a crosstown shipping company or something. It just seems amateurish for a major league sports team.

    The second option is even worse than the first. It makes me want to hope on a cruise to the Bahamas full of water downed drink and crummy food.

    The second one looks photoshopped to me… Check out the aliasing on the diagonal lines of the green fields.

    If you look closely at the second one, you can see where the original logo has been colored over. It’s fairly distinct on the lower element of the fish.

    FWIW, Sea blue, coral, and yellow/gold, Futura/Avant Garde-like typeface, very fitting of Miami, a modern Art Deco feel.

    Ych… Not sure I’m on board with this. The “M” typeface is very ’70s (as is the stylized fish derived from the current logo), and while aqua, orange and yellow is certainly a unique combination, I’m not sure I like it and it obviously remains to be seen how well-executed it would be on a jersey and cap. For example, will the numerals be in that same typeface, and will they be beveled like that, in that color pattern? Will the home jersey spell out “Marlins” in that typeface, or have that logo on the chest? Will the cap be black, and have that logo on it? If so, will black be a fourth color on the uniform? Will the inevitable softball top be black, aqua, orange or yellow?

    This does not bode well…

    I hope no one is getting worked up over the typeface, which seems to be just an element of a particular T-shirt design and not a new Marlins wordmark.

    To me it just looks very corporate, like the logo of a convention center, or a hotel chain, even a little like clip art. It just doesn’t indicate a sports team to me. It suffers from the same issues that the OKC Thunder logo has, I think.

    So my question is this. (If it’s been answered before, please guide me)

    How do you apply a flat decal to a curved surface without it distorting, gapping, bubbling up,etc. As someone who built model cars as a kid I never figured out an answer.

    Paul Stave

    One trick is to just unpeel a small corner of the decal, apply it, and gradually work your way across the decal by removing the backing little by little. That should help avoid wrinkling. Slow and steady!

    It’s not easy; football helmet decals will contour to the curvature of the shell, but you have to apply them carefully and press out any air bubbles. The challenge is to get them applied at the exact right spot at the exact right angle, because they typically can’t be removed and reapplied; you only get one shot.

    ha! bet your ass kek & bernard’s cars would have little “connelly 40” stickers after our next get together… wonder how long it would take them to notice…

    I’m more into guitars than football helmets, but I have been thinking about putting a Fender Jazzmaster together..


    Eliott–I emailed Paul about trying to figure out where to look for Miami University (Ohio) helmet decals. I’m a little bummed that my thoughts were the same as yours. If anyone knows a reliable place to order college football helmet decals, I would love to know. Otherwise, I will just have to monitor ebay. Fantastic article!

    Try this:
    Darrell Hallberg
    Assistant AD/Equipment Services and Special Projects 513-529-6307
    DHallberg at muohio dot edu

    Oops!!!!!!Back to my old tricks…lets try these:

    Darrell Hallberg Assistant AD/Equipment Services and Special Projects 513-529-6307

    Chad Burns Athletic Equipment Manager (Yager Stadium) 513-529-7093

    Andy Geshan Athletic Equipment Manager (Goggin Ice Arena) 513-529-9800

    TBA Athletic Equipment Manager (Millett Hall) 513-529-3102

    Jim Sliger Athletic Equipment Manager (Withrow Court) 513-529-3317

    Could be worse kevin.

    I found some Navy ones on ebay and got them shipped to my friend in Texas. He sent them over to Sheffield for me, but they got lost on the way.

    So now I’m back to stage 1. Boo.

    “I love this little sneaker character showing off his tread.”

    That’s a boat shoe, not a sneaker.

    “… That’s a boat shoe, not a sneaker..”

    Oh, fer kreissake. Yes, it’s a goddam sneaker. Just like an Air Jordan, pumpable, gilded, Space Age basketbal power footwear apparatus is a goddam sneaker. A sneaker is a canvas shoe with a rubber tread. Just because Sperry (the maker of the Top-Sider depicted in the ad Paul liked) wanted to appeal to a clientele found in yacht clubs, the term “sneaker” was never invoked in their ads. Now maybe – but only maybe – that “boat shoe” frummery might apply to the leather moccasin version of the Top-Sider, but they were less frequently seen than the original canvas product.

    I speak with ancient authority. At the age of 14, I threw over a brilliant career as a competitive little yachtsman bastard (Blue Jays and Lightnings) to begin an even more brilliant career as a little caddy bastard at the venerable Winged Foot Golf Club. Never wore another boat shoe.

    I always get a chuckle when someone on this site, of all places, argues that someone else is being picky.

    Nice polka-dot tie on the Bruins 1976-77 cover. Man, even in 1976, Don Cherry was a little eccentric with what he wore.

    As for the Bears orange jerseys? I thought those had been retired in favor of the throwbacks.

    I may be in the minority on this one, but I don’t know… I sort of dig that Marlins logo. At least from what I can see so far. Obviously, the execution on a uniform will be a big factor in whether it ends up being a “good” logo or not. If the Marlins do in fact go with some combination teal, orange, and yellow on their unis next year, that will certainly be a unique color scheme. (Wait, is that teal, or blue?) If it gets rid of the black jersey and majority-black color scheme they now have, I think it’s a step forward.

    Desean Jackson always has his pants unbuckled. Drives me crazy every game when his pants get pulled down on tackles.

    I think that Marlin’s logo is tremendous.It’s a firm break from the late 90’s-to-current “Cartoon Era” of logos, it’s ultra unique in the major sports, very distinctive. Maybe too many colors and too busy for some, but I like that they are moving forward graphically rather than looking backward [although I’m sure the style is lifted from some early eighties nightclub, but whatever, I don’t think a pro team has ever had anything like it].

    It may just be my computer, but it seems like the Nike NFL Base Layer link doesn’t work. I googled them and man they are quite gaudy. I am really worried about how bad the NFL will look next year.

    For one thing, it’s the base layer and not the uniforms. You’ll never see them and a lot of players aren’t even going to wear those unless the new uniform contract requires them to wear Nike undershirts.

    For another thing, those aren’t gaudy at all. They’re just undershirts in the teams’ primary colors with a wordmark and swoosh that will always be covered by the breastplate on the pads.

    The really notable thing is that the girdle has integrated thigh and knee pads so players will have to start wearing them again.

    I checked it out on nikeblog and they are totally fine. They aren’t gaudy and I think they actually look pretty decent. Of note was that the Bengals had orange and the Chargers powder blue. That may mean nothing though because the Bills were navy. In the comments on nikeblog someone mentioned Lurie is looking for a similar treatment for the Eagles as the Ducks. Not in all of the multiple combos but in the design of the uni itself with wings on the shoulders. Maybe a change of color to a brighter green as well. We shall see.

    The reason the link isn’t working is because the Nike Football Facebook page took the album down Yesterday (for what reason, I don’t know). Here’s the Jets version that I found on Google:


    Hopefully, Nike can persuade Roger No-Goodell to mandate the girdles, and not just because it’ll make the players look like actual football players again, but also because IMO, no amount of money is worth disregarding the safety of you, your teammates, and your opponents.

    Paul, the Astros will reveal their 50th Anniversary logo tomorrow before their game with the Rockies. No details leaked yet other than it includes all the Astros previous colors. That’s all Alyson Footer, Social Media Dir with the Astros, would tell me.

    “it includes all the Astros previous colors”

    So basically every colour in the Crayola box.

    As a HUGE Monopoly fan, I can’t wait to see the rest of the Marlins logo! (in full disclosure, the M isn’t nearly as close to the Monopoly font as I thought it was, but there is certainly similarity)

    The “Monopoly” font is a lighter weight of Kabel. The lettering on the Toronto Maple Leafs’ logo is a heavier weight of the same typeface. That Marlins M looks more like Futura.

    When was the last time a team went for a COMPLETE logo overhaul–not a return to or tweaking a current or retro design–and the reaction was generally favorable and not subject to large numbers of observers declaring it to be the most epic of fails?

    Not trying to be snarky here, I’m seriously wondering if there are any examples of this that anyone can point out.

    The Tampa Bay Rays also when they ditched the Devil. Their primary logo is now a sunburst, although they have kept the fish logo as a secondary logo.

    Tampa Bay Rays still sounds like a family-friendly rib joint on the I-75 feeder road.

    I’ve always been suspicious of that sunburst, too. Nothing against the sun (it gives us life), and nothing against Christian imagery, but the Rays’ gentle, understated sunburst, with all the clean lines stretching in all directions looks less like a representation of the carefree Florida lifestyle, and more like something from the letterhead of Bradenton New Hope Community Church and Bible Outreach Society (“where our family is your family”).

    Hated the old Devil Rays stuff. See the new Devil Rays stuff, and I find myself craving pork ribs and gospel music.

    Wait a second, and forgive me if I just realized this, when the Rays dropped the “devil” from their name and put the sun on their jerseys, were they kinda moving toward “we’re the sun rays now”? I know they thought the word “devil” in their name was causing them to finish last every season, but I didn’t think it was aname makeover, just a uniform image thing, “we’re still named after the fish, but don’t like the negative devil connotation.”

    As opposed to the NJD who have had great success with the name.

    If that’s true that’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard. Duke hasn’t fared badly, either.

    “Rays” is so unintangible. It sounds like they’re a bunch of guys named Ray.

    That’s what I thought – the sunburst to me meant the Rays (as opposed to Devil Rays) now stood for “Sun Rays” — but then why did they still have the Manta Ray on the sleeve?

    It’s the same kind of logic that confuses me about the Buffalo Bills. If they are the Buffalo Bills, then why is the logo a “Buffalo” and not a “Bill” (whatever that would be) – if it’s meant to be wordplay on Buffalo Bill Cody – then they actually are the “Buffaloes” and not the “Bills”.

    And the Cleveland Browns? Named after Paul Brown, right, but then what is a “Brown,” and why is the mascot a Dawg?

    The mascot isnt a dawg. I wish they would do away with that nonsense. Frank Minnefield and Hanford Dixon used to bark at the crowd and thus the dawgpound was born. The actual dawgpound is now in Lake Erie with the rest of old Cleveland Stadium.

    The real mascot is the Brownie Elf. Which was also used by the St Louis Browns

    The Tennessee Oilers-to-Titans switch, perhaps? They’ve done some stupid things with it but overall I’d say it was good.

    What would make it better IMHO if they could break away from the logjam of wearing either the Titan blue jersey/navy blue pants or the white jersey/Titan blue pants combos. I do remember that they wore the white jersey with navy blue pants on MNF last season in Jacksonville, but this seems to be a rare exception over the last 3 yrs.

    But by that token I recall much praise and few if any complaints about the 1982 ‘beach blankets’; virtually everyone agreed the Veeck-era unis had to go.

    Oh, there were complaints. My father, a die-hard White Sox fan hated them. Called them “softball uniforms”.

    I hated them too. My first baseball hat I ever got was in 1980- the Veeck-era hat.

    My dad loved Bill Veeck. Talked to him on the phone a few times.

    marlins logo: i like it at the moment, but don’t want to pass final judgement until i see it on a uniform. it’s new, it’s simple, it screams “miami”, and has character that i feel the new winnipeg jets logo should have. BUT, does it say “baseball” to me right now? i can see it as a beautiful logo for a florida airport or convention center. i LOVE the “not everything has to be an angry mascot” approach, which to me, could give it lasting power.

    i don’t know… is this whole comment a contradiction, or just parts of it? LOL or is my brain even more pissed at me than usual because of my “no soda, diet or otherwise” (day 2) headache?

    all i can say now is, i like it. excited to see the uniforms!

    I’m with Ryco.
    Said it before. Many times team colors–even logos—are about a community’s culture, image or history rather than the nickname or the sport involved.

    For example, if you go by team colors you’d think orange was a characteristic color of hurricanes, dolphins, buccaneers and ‘gators.

    Or…they all could have to do with Florida, maybe?

    As to the Marlins, let’s wait and see what the unis actually look like.

    Want a prime recent example?
    What exactly does wearing a uni based on the Marlyand state flag have to do with turtles?

    Not making any judgement whatsoever on the Maryland unis, just saying unis and colors don’t always need to be about bringing your team nickname to life.

    Terrible example. It was a deviation from the normal uniform routine and was used as a one time thing. Pride day? Something like that.

    I’m ok with 1 day uniforms. That’s fine, and I’m also fine with the uniform colors not corresponding to the logo. The Yankees has a great logo and great uniforms. No red or royal blue on their uniforms.

    I don’t mind the multi colors on the logo for Miami. I think the design simply sucks. The M looks too corporate and the fish appears to be…appearing from a random point in the M? They could do much better.

    To build on Ricko’s point, a couple of “classic” examples: Navy and orange have nothing to do with bears. Maple leaves aren’t blue. Or white.

    Chicago’s built on classic, non-appropriate team colors. In addition to the Bears, bulls are more likely to be black than red, White Sox are nothing but black these days (at least on the diamond), and Cubs are neither Cubbie Blue, red, or white.

    Come on, Fred. Do you just go looking for pissing contests?

    Christ, I simply pointed out the most visible example of a uni NOT based on the team nickname and you go off about “terrible example” because it was a one-time thing about “pride.” If anything, that’s making my point: Quite often a team’s unis—yes, even their regular unis as opposed to a one-off—CAN be about civic pride or history or tradition, not the team’s nickname.

    What I was getting at, my overall contention, was that the people here who get so wrapped up in how the Marlins’ uni ought to suggest the actual fish, and that any other approach is wrong, shouldn’t be speaking in such absolutes. There are other entirely valid concepts.

    Whoa. I definitely wasn’t looking for an argument so I apologize if the word “terrible” came off strongly.

    I don’t think too many people here were suggesting that the colors had to resemble a marlin. In fact, I don’t think too many people are attacking the colors. It’s the design I have a problem with. I think it’s too corporate and the fish looks out of place. I like the overall shape to be roughly symmetrical. This Miami logo leans a little to heavily to the left for me.

    I don’t have any problems with the colors. I don’t know what the uniforms will look like but I’m hoping they keep it simple and keep the primary colors to 2. I thought you had a bad example of uniforms bringing a team nickname to life. The MD Pride uniform did nothing to bring a turtle to life. It neglected it completely. I’m not sure how that ties into this discussion about the Miami uniform. Obviously their uniform will need to tie in their mascot somehow. If we’re talking about Miami Vice Pride day and they completely disregard the Marlin for the uniform, then the MD example makes sense.

    Okay, we’re good.
    Was just using Maryland’s unis as an example of uni that could be about “place” rather than nickname.

    It tied in because, up higher in the comments, some were talking about how the supposed new Marlins logo didn’t look suggest the fish, or suggest baseball. And I was asking, “Where is it written that it has to do either?”

    (This is one of those days, I think, when comments are gonna get disjointed and scrambled among different threads.)

    If they put just the M on the cap it would look perfect. If they splashed just the jumping fish across the jersey it would look good. If they put the fish jumping over the M on the cap it’s going to look stupid.

    Are cap logos trending larger in the last 20 years or so, or am I imagining it? Subtlety in uniforms is so underrated.

    At a certain point they switched from low crown to high crown caps and I think the logos have grown to fill the space.

    “Some great 1950s NFL footage here (from Jerry Wolper)…”

    Y’know, it almost would seem wrong if the Steelers and Iowa DIDN’T look virtually alike. Been that way for the better part of 60 years now.

    Of course, if your football-watching experience goes back only 10 years or so you wouldn’t be aware of that, I suppose, and just be irritated by the similarity, or appalled at how Iowa is “ripping off” the Steelers.

    It cracks me up that people online are actually freaking out over the Maple Leafs’ alternate, specifically how the “N” and “M” on the logo appears to be lower-case.

    My message to them: It’s the freaking font, people! That font (I have no idea of the font’s name) was in use going back to at least the late 1950s. If you scroll way down link, you’ll see the font in use on the New York Rangers’ “Blue Book” media guides from the mid-60s, before the Leafs started using it.

    I DESPISE mixed case fonts. It just says to me that the designers were too lazy to remember what an upper case N looks like. Case in point. My last name has an “i” in it. I usually write my name in all capitals, and yet lazy people who have to type my name into a computer or something after I’ve written it in all capitals sometimes come back with the letter L in place of the I. For some reason, they think I’ve written my entire last name in capitals except the the letter L which I decided to write in lower case because, what the hell, its the same size as the capital letters.

    How come the Maple Leaf’s alt designers didn’t take that one a step farther? They could have been the MAPIE LEAFS.

    Another example is Canadian Tire:


    That “lowercase” N has been part of the company’s trademark for as long as I can recall — and then some!

    The use of that style of lettering on the Rangers’ media guide reinforces my thought that it was an actual typeface, not a custom lettering job done by a graphic artist. But I’ve never been able to pin down the name of the ‘face.

    I actually hope yellow is as strong as orange in that color scheme. The Orioles and Giants already have the market covered on orange jerseys, so why not a bright yellow alt from the Fish? It would be different at least. (Of course, I’m in no way saying that traditional white and gray wouldn’t be enough, but we all know the softball top will be coming)

    Really? I am very certain we will see a Blue alt, Orange alt, and Yellow alt.

    C’mon, these are the merchandising whores of MLB we are talking about.

    Shocking that no one on here has submitted a uniform design based on that logo. Yet.

    (sarcasm tag fully engaged)

    Crass commercialism arguments aside, I think it would be cool for the Miami Marlins to have 5 jerseys, 5 pants, and 5 hats available… 125 total uniform combos.

    Yep, I wasn’t counting grey. So yeah, 6 jerseys, 6 pants, 5 hats (assuming those never come in grey).

    180 combos! Enough for one unique combo for every game the whole season and post season.

    Well, I guess it’s only a matter of time before teams everywhere try to start being the “Oregon of _____”, in this case, MLB. Do I hear carbon fiber uniforms, anyone?

    How come I have never heard of Jack Butler? I
    have never seen an NFL Films profile about him
    nor have I heard any football writers and pundits
    talk about him. It looks like he was one of those
    outstanding players on bad 1950s Steelers teams who just did not receive the proper
    recognition because the league did not get the
    attention that it receives today.

    To the untrained eye, those Maple Leaf third jerseys look an alful lot like their current set. Unfourtuatly you can only do so much with blue and white.

    That would be one of those uniforms that’s grotesquely attractive, like the Padres’ taco unis.

    My only major concern for the (alleged) new Marlins logo is the possibility of six jersey tops – without ever repeating a color!

    NY Times article forgot to list the statue for Charles Comiskey for the Chicago White Sox. They have 8 in total.

    It took me a few minutes to figure out what that Miami logo reminded me of – the “M” in that font is the sign for a subway station in quite a few cities.


    Really disappointed to see the Bears back in orange. They needed to either turn the orange hue down to burnt or scrap them entirely. They’re hideous, day-glo monstrosities.

    And I don’t care that they wore those unis during this bizarre, funny Bears victory – link

    Tend to agree with you…

    Are the Saints the only NFL team that does not currently wear either an alternate jersey or a throwback uniform?

    Not even close.

    Raiders, Chiefs & Browns just off the top of my head. I’m sure there’s a couple others.

    To be fair, the Browns have worn more or less the same jersey, with some tweaks, since their inception. They’ve changed their pants occasionally, but not the jersey.

    The Chiefs have worn virtually the same uniform as they currently do since they moved from Dallas to KC.

    The Raiders changed their uniforms in 1962 and have made one or two tweaks since.

    None of them really can wear throwbacks since there’s nothing really to throw back to.

    When the Browns last wore a throwback (IIRC in 2008 vs the Giants on MNF), the only differences between it and their normal uni was that the numbers were on the helmet, and the jerseys did not have any TV numbers. Also, didn’t the pants have a different stripe pattern than their regular ones?

    I think the pants went brown-orange-brown instead of orange-brown-orange like they do now. Like I said, minor variances in stripe width and placement, but other than the orange and brown pants experiments, no major changes since 1946.

    Browns actually do have one. It just looks so similar to the current one it’s hard to tell.

    Current teams without
    Redskins(Might have one in the works though)

    That “exit stage left” field goal attempt was responsible for the longest sustained laugh I ever shared with my father.

    I’m liking the colors in this Marlins logo, and perhaps the abstract fish, but that’s about it.

    Here’s a link I did awhile back when I heard they were switching to Miami.

    I agree about the abstract fish. Here’s a tweak I worked up based on it. We had kind of had the same idea about the waves.


    I just think it’s funny that they refer to themselves as USC. We all know who the real USC is they’re just South Carolina.

    Elliot, very well done piece. I’ve been doing DIY helmets the ‘easy way’ of late…buying the best looking, lowest priced used shells I can find already in the color I’m looking for, buying used masks and buying decals on eBay. I’m left with a great looking product, but you go the extra mile and really do it well. Color me inspired. What I’d really like to figure out is how to redip facemasks a different color. Any ideas on that?

    “Wisconsin is repainting its end zones”

    Turned pink, huh? Boy, look out link You better hope your repainting job is under warranty when you’re gonna need it.

    Nah, it’s cool if it turns pink, then their red uniforms will be dark enough that they won’t be subject to any lame Boise State rule should they ever become good/large enough to get into a BCS conference.

    You really can’t paint FieldTurf. They’re painting it as a touch up before they replace the turf next summer. I’m impressed it managed to stay as bright as it did throughout the entire useful life of the carpet as it is.

    I noticed at the Twins’ Labor Day doubleheader that the red in both the Twins and MLB logos on top of the limestone-roofed dugouts at Target Field are taking on a pinkish hue. According to the linked Wisconsin article red is a color that takes the biggest UV hit, but just after 2+ years?

    Re Marlins logo/unis, I’m with unionjack. Art deco really fits Miami. Maybe aqua and stainless steel logo…The example shown does in fact look way too ’70s!

    First thoughts on the purported Marlins logo? To me, it looks like it belongs to:

    A 1970’s era movie studio that made a couple of good films and a lot of crap, and failed sometime around the release of “Tootsie”.

    An obscure Mexican Soccer club

    A seafood restaurant located on the grounds of an all-inclusive adults only resort somewhere in the Caribbean

    It doesn’t look anything like it, but there’s something about it that reminds me of the Mexican National Team’s uniforms, particularly the black alts they’ve been wearing.

    And I guarantee that if this is the logo, there is a black alt lurking in Miami’s future…

    And I guarantee that if this is the logo, there is a black alt lurking in Miami’s future…

    Well, they’ve worn a black alt for years now, so why wouldn’t they have one with the new set?

    I mean all black — black cap, black pants, black everything. Black, with insane splashes of exuberant color, like those strange wipes of pastels behind the San Antonio Spurs logo in the 90s.

    Look at how Caribbean teams outfit themselves: lots of monochrome, lots of color. So put them in all blacks and throw some color around, like the New Zealand rugby team, gone to Mardi Gras.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing that, actually. A uni that’s identifiable the first millisecond you see it is a good thing.


    The Miami Marlins reminds me of an upside version of the Redskins secondary (out take) logo which I really prefer… this M comes up way short for me on the potential of what it could be and the reality of what this is.


    The Marlins new logo is HORRIBLE. It looks like the logo for a company that Jimmy Buffet would run from his island bungalow. It makes the Buffaslug and the Fishsticks logos look classic. It isn’t even worthy of a fantasy team. TERRIBLE work.

    I am so tired of every football uniform model standing with clenched fists, like they’re looking for a fight or just trying to look badass.

    At least these players aren’t wearing helmets with dark-tinted visors, like most uni models are (the better to make them look like cyborgs, not human beings)….

    But what do you think of the clothes themselves? I don’t have a problem with you expressing your opinion on Nike’s marketing —that’s as much a part of athletics aesthetics as the uniforms themselves— but I would like to hear your opinion on the clothes as well.

    “I am so tired of every football uniform model standing with clenched fists, like they’re looking for a fight or just trying to look badass.”


    yes…miss the days when they posed with beautymist instead of fists

    This is very interesting. Very few NFL players now wear the Pro Combat girdles, and when you see a player who does, you know it, because you can see the cellular pattern from underneath the pants. This should be a dramatic change in look, as far as, the pants go for the NFL.

    NFL players are not required, as of now, to wear girdle pads, thigh pads or knee pads.

    They are only “recommended.”

    I hear ya Ricko, although I have a feeling Nike will be trying very hard to get their Pro Combat compression padded apparel look(texture/cellular pattern) from the inside to the outside.

    I know that isn’t what you meant, Mike.

    Just noting that this isn’t a silhouette we can expect to see on everyone. Not unless there’s a rule change before 2012.

    They can call it a safety rule and require hip, tail, thigh, and knee pads and no one off the field would complain. Even Easterbrook would probably acknowledge that it’s a marketing decision that also improves the game.

    The “Le Shoe” picture comes from a book called “The 80s: A Look Back,” which was written by a veritable who’s who of the alternative comedy landscape of the day and published in 1979: link

    I know this because my parents owned this book and kept it on the very same basement bookshelf from which I took many of the names of my basement baseball league players that I posted about a couple of years back (link) I guess my dad thought the book was a good idea at the time, but then again he also voted for Anderson in 1980…

    Just saw this absolute beauty on the Twitter machine: link

    It’s clearly in the same template as the Marlins Googlesque logo, which Ron I says is from T-shirt samples from next year.

    Two clear positives: 1. The logo is absolute old-school gold. 2. The fact that the wordmark is above the logo here means that the stupid wordmark above the Marlins logo doesn’t actually include the wordmark (a la ‘Cuse.)

    If you could get a look at say, the Yankees or Giants templates, you could deduce whether those Marlin and Blue Jay logos are full logos or cap logos (my guess is they’re the latter).

    Paul- Just gone with article #3 on Slate. Any chance we can get the photo link format they are using on this site?


    I just scrolled back up to look at the Marlins logo with fresh eyes – major problem: It looks like the colors are washed out red, gold, and navy blue. It could just be the black background, but looking at it after a 4 hours layoff, it now looks like a mistake.


    I thought of that the instant I saw that picture. Surprised nobody else has said anything about that. Can’t get it out of my head. Thunder’s redesign was bad enough. Now the Marlins’ logo just looks like a Thunder knock-off to me.

    Royal blue and bright orange are more or less the default NBA color scheme, so it doesn’t bring any particular team to mind. Maybe a dozen different teams, but no one in particular.

    I would hate to see the current Marlins set go. They are one of my favorite unis in sports. Just something about the teal and silver, even paired with the black it looks good. Not sure if that is considered a guilty uni pleasure or not.

    Especially the earlier sets with the marlin on the top left corner of the ‘Florida’ word mark. As well as how the underscore swooshy thingy really flares out at the end.


    Thanks for posting. A clean look with flashes of yellow and black stripeage. I like it.

    As I learned from someone here, the first merger-mandated NOBs were yellow with no black outline, as you can see here on Bradshaw.

    Loved the atmosphere when the Cheifs played in that old ballpark, too.

    All I can say is wow, and not in a good way. I’ve been a fan of the FLORIDA Marlins from the very start, and have grown up with the team. The original teal was a little bright, but the evolution to black and silver was subtle but well done. Two championships, and lots of history (both good and bad).

    And then comes this today. I get that the name change is because the city of Miami forced it in exchange for stadium money. I don’t like that, but could live with it with the current color scheme. But this South Beach color collection and tiny fish just looks atrocious.

    In the meantime, I’ll be buying as much black F stuff as I can because I never want to wear any of this new stuff. It is that bad. And honestly, I didn’t expect anything better than terrible with Loria in charge. It all starts with him.

    “I’ll be buying as much black F stuff as I can because I never want to wear any of this new stuff. It is that bad.”


    don’t do it mike…don’t go to the light side

    Bobby Hebert just claimed on the news that the saints will be wearing throwbacks sunday vs houston….is that possible(he said it’ll be the black/mustard combo)

    My Dad says that’s good enough for him. Assuming that it’s true, what will the jersey top be? Black (like in 2002), or white (their original home top from the pre-Superdome days)? And will the helmets have a true Old Gold color to them, or will they just use their current helmets with the retro Fleur-de-Lis and grey facemask in place?

    It sounds right that the Saints will be wearing black, since even before I knew about this throwback game vs Houston, the Texans website stated that Houston will be in white jerseys for this game.

    Speaking of ballpark statues, someone stole the eyeglasses off the Ernie Harwell statue in Detroit. Mind you, this statue is inside the park, accessible only to paying fans. How someone could climb up the statue and steal the eyeglasses without being called out baffles me. I’m going to the game on Tuesday night, Ernie should have a new set of specs by then.


    Flipping channels & I saw a Yankee being interviewed with a hat that had the Yankee logo & said “2011 MLB Playoffs”…. Really? OK you clinched a spot that’s great but can’t you at least wait to wear a division champ or wildcard hat or something? What’s next? BCS game hats? We made the play in game hat? Fortunately there wasn’t a shirt to match, that I saw at least..

    Unfortunately… those hats are the official locker room hats given to the playoff participants whether they won the division, or secured the wild card spot.


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