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Is a Clever Design Automatically a Good Design?

Where do we draw the line between style and substance? Between endearing and enduring? Between a clever design and a good design?

I’ve been thinking a lot about those questions after seeing a uniform concept that was recently posted on Twitter by a Minnesota graphic designer named Allan Peters. He said, “To prove what a Minnesotan I am, I’ve rebranded the Minnesota North Stars.” Here’s the jersey design he posted (click to enlarge):

Peters’s tweet linked to a page with some additional visuals. But the core of the design is the jersey and its crest.

Obviously, I liked the colors right away. And I was wowed by how the negative space inside the stars formed an “N” — clever! I didn’t like it more than the North Stars’ original logo, of course — that’s one of my all-time favorites — but I still thought it was pretty good. I immediately retweeted the design, with a note of my own: “The Minnesota North Stars’ logo is near-perfect. But if it ever needed to be redesigned, this would be a pretty good option.”

My retweet got about 900 likes (for context, it’s fairly uncommon for anything I post to crack 100), with lots of people commenting on how great the design was and how they liked the use of negative space. It was a pleasure to see so many people appreciating this good piece of work.

The first sign of pushback came from DIYer Wafflebored, who had this to day:

That surprised me. So I looked more closely at the design. The chopped-off stars on the left and right, which I hadn’t fully processed before, suddenly jumped out at me. It wasn’t that I hadn’t previously seen them, but I hadn’t really thought about them. They looked weird, wrong.

Wafflebored continued:

That’s an excellent point. Using negative space to create a recognizable shape, whether in the FedEx logo or in this North Stars concept, has a certain wow factor. There’s that sense of surprise and revelation, that endorphin rush. It’s fun!

But is that the same thing as a good design? In this case, is that wow factor worth it if you have to chop off big chunks of those two stars in order to form the “N”? Isn’t that really the tail wagging the dog?

Interestingly, Twitter-er Johnny Woods then came up with a more subdued version of Peters’s concept:

This version is simpler than the original. It doesn’t have the same wow factor (although there’s still a good negative-space effect). But I’d argue that this one is much better. There’s no sense of the tail wagging the dog, no weird elements like the chopped-off stars. I think this one would have a much longer shelf life. By comparison, Peters’s original now feels more like a novelty, a circus trick. Or at least that’s how it seems to me.

I don’t mean that as a harsh criticism — circus tricks are fun, after all (that’s why people go to the circus!), and Peters is a pro who’s worked with lots of big-name clients and certainly doesn’t need my validation. Still, I was curious about what he might think of this critique, so I got in touch with him, showed him what I’d written up to this point in this blog entry, and invited him to share his reaction. Here’s how he responded:

For the past week, I’ve been spending my free time working on a collection of clothing called U.S. Made. While exploring a pattern of stars, I noticed an italic “N” hidden in the geometry. It was there all along and all I needed to do was to chop off the ends of two of the stars. I posted this discovery to Dribbble, Instagram, and Twitter, which started a conversation with a few fellow designers. Fraser Davidson had the idea of connecting the mark with the North Stars, and I thought that was a brilliant idea. That resulted with the most successful tweet I’ve ever had [the same one I retweeted — PL]. It was very exciting. 

Do I think the logo I created is a circus trick? No. I think it’s a smart logo. That’s why people have been drawn to it. It combines two juxtaposing elements in a way that seems natural and inevitable. It’s one of the best logos I’ve ever created and I’m very proud of it. It was a passion project for me. 

How do I feel about some people not liking the logo I created? When you have this many eyes on anything, people will have differing opinions. That’s just human nature. Logos are subjective. Of course I wish they all loved it, but that’s never going to happen.

A brand is so much more than just a logo. It’s everything you think of when you think of the brand. With the North Stars, there’s so much positive nostalgia attached with the original logo that it’s hard to say anything is better. It just feels good when you see the original. It brings back memories of the players and those special moments spent watching their games.

I’m a little disappointed that he didn’t address the critique of the partial star, and also didn’t say what he thought about Johnny Woods’s simpler version of his concept. But I’m nonetheless pleased that he responded to my invitation to share his thoughts (and that he was a good sport about it all). I also really like his description of the logo as seeming “natural and inevitable” — a nice phrase.

Anyway: Lots of good food for thought here. What do you folks think? Discuss.

(My thanks to @CalebTheSpy, who was the first of many people to bring Peters’s concept to my attention.)

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Kobe memorials, continued: Lots of new uni-related tributes to Kobe Bryant yesterday. Here are the ones that crossed our radar (thanks to all contributors):

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Super Bowl Preview reminder: In case you missed it on Wednesday, the annual Uni Watch Super Bowl Preview is now available over at InsideHook, and it’s a doozy. Enjoy!

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Click to enlarge

Hockey jersey reminder: We’re continuing to take orders over the next week and a half for the first-ever Uni Watch hockey jersey. You can place your order here and get more info here.

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ITEM! Lots of Uni Watch merch on sale: Teespring is running one of its periodic 10%-off sales. From now through the end of Sunday, you can get a 10% discount on anything in the Uni Watch shop or the Naming Wrongs shop by using the checkout code SNOWFLAK3. So if you’ve been on the fence about the January Pin Club pin (or any of our other products), here’s a chance to save a little coin.

I will match this 10% discount on our Uni Watch hats. From now through Sunday, they will be priced at $35.99, instead of our usual $39.99.

My thanks as always, for considering our products.

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The Ticker
By Lloyd Alaban

’Skins Watch: The Chiefs’ appearance in the Super Bowl is leading to increased scrutiny (WaPo link) of the team’s fan base using the tomahawk chop, wearing headdresses, and other forms of Native American cultural misappropriation (from Kary Klismet). … More on that same theme here and here (NYT link). … The Wisconsin Association of School Boards has defeated a resolution that would have required schools to retire their Native American team names and mascots (from GJ Marmet).

Baseball News: Here’s our first look at the Giants’ jerseys with the Nike maker’s mark and ballpark 20th-anniversary patch (from Ryan Chung). … The NHL’s Anaheim Ducks wore Angels-themed warmups last night (from Ross Drucker). … The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, affiliate of the Brewers, will host a Video Game Night on July 8, featuring uniforms adorned with logos and lettering rendered in 8-bit computer graphics style (from Kary Klismet). … Beautiful find on eBay: a Pirates game-used warmup coat from 1905-06, worn by OF/SS Dutch Meier (from Michael Clary). … The KBO League released several of its clubs’ spring training logos (from Dan Kurtz). … A few days ago we reported on the George Washington-themed inaugural season logo of the Fredericksburg Nationals, affiliate of the Nationals. Turns out they have a Mary Washington-themed inaugural logo too (from Scott Rogers). … Pitt has revealed their road unis (from Mike Stephens). … The Dayton Dragons, affiliate of the Reds, have a new stadium name/ad (from @JasonRL78). … When the Orioles toured Japan in 1971, they wore their regular NOBs but it looks like they had additional NOBs rendered in katakana added below their uni numbers.

Football News: 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo wore a home red jersey with the Super Bowl patch on it for Media Day, instead of the white road jersey his team will wear on Sunday (from Christopher, who didn’t give his last name). … Employees at a Kansas City engineering office arranged themselves to look like the Chiefs’ logo. … Reps. Eric Swalwell of California and Sharice Davids of Kansas wore 49ers LB NaVorro Bowman and Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes jerseys, respectively, while challenging each other to a friendly Super Bowl bet (from Adam Franz). … Renderings have been released of three proposed designs for the redevelopment of Hawaii’s Aloha Stadium (from Kary Klismet). … Also from Kary: The San Diego City Council has unanimously approved San Diego State University’s plans for a new football stadium, but with a condition that 10 percent of the project site be used for affordable housing. … Blaise D’Sylva begins his NFC helmet tour with the NFC East. … Reader Randy Grover found these pictures of the 1894 Oregon medical school football team hanging at the Oregon Health Sciences University Hospital in Portland.

Hockey News: Several news outlets have speculated the new expansion team in Seattle will be called the Kraken, but the league hasn’t confirmed that. As you may recall, Paul’s Seattle NHL team-design contest last winter had several Kraken-based entries. … The Kings wore these Lunar New Year-themed warmups last night. Cross-listed from the baseball section: The Ducks wore Anaheim Angels-themed warmups last night (from Ross Drucker). … The Minnesota State High School League will allow a local team to wear a patch to honor a local police officer who continues to recover from being shot (from Dan Bodurtha). … The Quad City Storm of the SPHL let fans paint the ice ahead of their Saturday Hockey Fights Cancer game (from Charlie Whiteman). … Reader Aron Burke‘s nephew had a sweet-looking Golden Knights-themed birthday cake for his birthday.

Pro Basketball News: The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington has a Kobe jersey in its collection, but it’s not on display. That may change, according to that article. Bryant was one of the first founding donors to the museum, a status that required at least a $1 million donation. … Rock band Thrice had a concert earlier this week and lit the stage purple and gold. Thrice is from Irvine, Ca., where Kobe visited and worked out at the local university regularly (from John Holland). … The Nets and Pistons went color vs. color last night. The Nets wore their City alternates and played on their matching court, producing a jarring black and white effect we’ve discussed before (from Andrew Cosentino).

College Hoops News: Boston College’s NOBs are tiny and had spacing issues (from Matt Fowler). … BFBS for Memphis on the road last night against UCF. The game also featured a confusing scorebug (from Timmy Donahue). … Confusing scorebugs for Dayton/Duquesne, South Carolina/Arkansas, and USF/Tulane, too.

Soccer News: The Columbus Crew is considering changing its colors and name (from our own Alex Hider). … Several MLS clubs’ new shirts have leaked. Check them out on Josh Hinton’s Twitter feed. … Manchester United are wearing their change shorts at Manchester City to avoid a kit clash in their EFL Cup match. … Man United defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka suffered a torn number. … New shirts for Colombian side Independiente Santa Fe (from German Cabrejo). … Here’s a rundown of all the branding updates for 2020 for teams in the USL Championship and USL League One, which are tiers two and three on the US soccer pyramid (from Kary Klismet). … Atlético Madrid has purchased an expansion team for Ottawa in the Canadian Premier League (from Wade Heidt).

Grab Bag: The Austin Herd of Major League Rugby are now the Austin Gilgronis, complete with a new logo, new ownership, and a new home (from Sy Hart). … Popeye’s is now selling clothing modeled after its employees’ uniforms (from Timmy Donahue). … New marching band uniforms coming for Yorkville (Ill.) High School. Kary Klismet asks, “Is it me, or does the illustration of the new band uniform kind of look like it was drawn by Patrick Nagel? That’s an ’80s reference that probably none of the younger readers would get — OK, Xer!” … @OlegKvasha found these Omaha Mavericks-themed cookies made for a kid’s birthday. … Cook County, Ill., is holding a design contest for a new county flag (from Mike Chamernik). … SUNY Empire State College has chosen the first mascot in school history, Blue the Bluebird. The bluebird is the official New York State Bird. The police department in Brantford, Ontario, is holding a design contest to create a new logo for its canine unit (from Timmy Donahue).

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The winner of yesterday’s membership raffle is prolific Ticker contributor Kary Klismet. Congrats to him, and my repeated thanks to reader Mike Wissman for sponsoring this one. — Paul

105 comments to Is a Clever Design Automatically a Good Design?

  • JamesG | January 30, 2020 at 8:45 am |

    More on the Austin Gilgronis. Almost sounds like a porn star actor’s name. Anyhow, this article contains how the name came about since it isn’t really a word. https://www.rugbypass.com/news/the-austin-mlr-team-have-rebranded-and-fans-cant-get-over-the-absurd-new-name

    • Jaime | January 30, 2020 at 12:24 pm |

      I saw the name change on the Austin American site yesterday. I understand about trying to be profitable, but since the new owners are naming the team after the drink they are marketing, I think it’s just lazy and gross.

  • Random reader | January 30, 2020 at 8:51 am |

    Typo in the entry about the Orioles in Japan: a katana is a sword, I think you meant katakana.

    • Paul Lukas | January 30, 2020 at 9:01 am |

      Yup, already fixed. Thanks!

      • Todd | January 30, 2020 at 7:19 pm |

        Probably “F ロビンソン,” katakana reads “Robinson.”

  • John Owens | January 30, 2020 at 8:54 am |

    The North Stars logo prototype is awesome. I don’t understand the criticism. Why can the N only be negative? Maybe it is covering up those parts of the stars. Conversely, why do all stars have to look alike? Maybe they are rising and setting stars.

    Its simple, fun, and a great concept. It is better or equal to 90% of all the logos right now. Let’s not overthink things because one dude is like “I don’t like it because I don’t like anything new or fun.”

    • Paul Lukas | January 30, 2020 at 9:00 am |

      Actually, nobody said they didn’t like anything new or fun (and Wafflebored, who offered the first critique, is pretty much the epitome of fun design, so that’s a really unfair and inaccurate thing to say about him).

      Your basic response (about the stars, etc) is good! No need to put words in people’s mouths, mischaracterize their positions, or insult them. Thanks.

    • Eltee of DC | January 31, 2020 at 12:12 pm |

      The answer to todays lede is NO.

      Clever does not always equal good. It is just a part of what makes a great design great. For more on this I could not recommend more highly the best Logo Man I ever knew (not jerry west, the other logo man).

      Here is what he said about what great logos should do,

      https://entrepreneurshandbook.co/the-7-step-paul-rand-logo-test-5c7b546af17b

  • Clint Richardson | January 30, 2020 at 8:58 am |

    This isn’t meant to negate the tributes to Kobe whatsoever, so I hope it isn’t taken that way.

    There was a huge uproar in recent years when NFL players wanted to change their last name or number mid-season (or post retail jersey purchases). How are these NBA player uniform changes any different?

    • Eric | January 30, 2020 at 9:17 am |

      The NBA has a similar policy (no in-season number changes) but has decided to waive it in this instance.

  • Eddie | January 30, 2020 at 9:00 am |

    The Kobe Gigi heart is nice, but I just wish it also mentioned the other 7 people that died in some way as well.

  • Munch Suchland | January 30, 2020 at 9:01 am |

    I noticed the chopped stars immediately. I don’t hate it but I don’t love that part of it. The redesign would work much better, in my opinion.

  • Tom | January 30, 2020 at 9:03 am |

    I don’t get the concept of changing a number *from* 8 or 24 *to* some other number to honor Kobe. Whey wouldn’t a player want to keep that 8 or 24 to keep the spirit of it alive?

    From the examples above, I’ll say I’m not a huge NBA fan, so how I am I to know that Mason Plumlee now wearing number 7 has anything to do with honoring Kobe? I’d be more inclined to say, “Hey, look at Mason Plumlee wearing number 8. Maybe he’s doing that to honor Kobe.”

    Mystifies me.

    • arvis | January 30, 2020 at 10:32 am |

      Yeah. There’s retiring the number to honor the player, but then for another player to “honor” the guy by *not* using his number, I think it needs to at least be a variant of that number. Thinking of 9 => 99 (Howe => Gretzky), then 8 => 88, 24 => 42 might make more sense. Something where you can look at the number and actually SEE the connection.

      • Reagan | January 30, 2020 at 10:59 am |

        Robinson Cano did the 24 -> 42 for his entire career. He was named after Jackie Robinson, but obviously never got the chance to wear 42 with it being retired league-wide, so he inverted it just like his name inverted Jackie’s last name into his first name.

    • McSean | January 30, 2020 at 10:35 am |

      It’s a good point that a casual fan won’t notice any significance, but I think it’s basically to unofficially retire the number league wide, similar to how many Latin American baseball players avoid wearing Roberto Clemente’s number.

    • Ryan M | January 30, 2020 at 3:13 pm |

      I find it most interesting that players and teams are honoring Kobe by both wearing and changing from his number(s). That would certainly be interesting–to take a look at how individuals and teams arrived at their decisions to do one or the other.

    • Mark in Shiga | January 31, 2020 at 5:31 am |

      I’m with you on this one, Tom. I remember learning about Roberto Clemente and his amazing life (and untimely death) when I was young primarily because Sammy Sosa, one of my heroes, chose number 21 to honor Clemente.

      I prefer to honor people by going out of our way to use their numbers and names: Sosa’s 21; my niece who was named after her grandmother. We name buildings and facilities for people we admire; we don’t permanently ban things from bearing those names.

  • Andrew Ross | January 30, 2020 at 9:07 am |

    Isn’t it complicated/expensive for a player to change their number? I thought the jersey manufacturers wanted to sell all of their stock of the old number before a player was allowed to change their number. I can understand why a manufacturer, for PR reasons, might not want to kick up a fuss if a player wants to change away from 8/24, but I’m still puzzled at all the quick number changes.

    • RS Rogers | January 30, 2020 at 9:18 am |

      Given the circumstances, who would want to be the person who said “no” to a player seeking to pay tribute to Kobe with his jersey number? I mean, literally, what individual person involved in the process would say “no,” knowing that his or her decision would likely become a public scandal, most likely attached to the individual’s name? A coach? A team executive? An account rep with the manufacturer? A senior executive with the manufacturer? A league employee tasked with managing retail issues? Say “no” and one tweet from the player in question would rain down instant global job-losing infamy on you. I wouldn’t make that choice, would anyone? Even if that meant my employer eating a few tens of thousands of dollars in unexpectedly obsolete merchandise.

  • Brian Weingartz | January 30, 2020 at 9:07 am |

    Confusing score bug for South Carolina and Arkansas, not East Carolina and Arkansas. My daughter graduated from East Carolina and attends graduate school at South Carolina so I’m on top of this.

    • Paul Lukas | January 30, 2020 at 9:17 am |

      Fixed.

  • RS Rogers | January 30, 2020 at 9:10 am |

    I’ve never seen anything like the Kobe tributes before. I wonder, if Roberto Clemente’s death took place today, would we see such ubiquitous outpourings of tribute throughout his league, across other sports, and at all levels of play from amateur to pro? Is this response based on the sort of impersonal factors of Kobe’s greatness as a player, profile in the culture, relative youth, and the suddenness of his death? Or is it based on something unique to Kobe as an individual, such that if another player among the greatest ever to play his sport died in an air crash near retirement, we’d see a more typical public display of tributes mainly limited to his team, and maybe the other pro teams in the same city?

    And culturally, the conflicting way Kobe’s numbers are treated is interesting: NBA teams and maybe the league are retiring 8 and 24 from use, and some individual players who wear 8 or 24 are switching to other numbers to sort of personally retire 8 or 24 in tribute. But at the same time, other teams and individual players are wearing 8 and 24 as tribute. Sort of feels to me like an instance where they can’t both be right: Either retiring the number or wearing the number is the best tribute to Kobe, but it’s one or the other, not both. Had Kobe’s death happened before MLB paid tribute to Jackie Robinson by both retiring 42 league-wide and wearing 42 league-wide, would tributes to Kobe have been more consistently either retiring 8 and 24 or wearing 8 and 24 but not both? (I’m not questioning the sincerity of anyone paying tribute to Kobe by either wearing his numbers or refraining from wearing his numbers. Just pointing out what seems to me to be a sort of cultural confusion about a particular public ritual that I think used to be settled but now seems to be in flux.)

    • Greg | January 30, 2020 at 10:43 am |

      I think much of what we are seeing is just the manifestation of the social media culture. Because everyone has an avenue to express themselves to the entire world (even if say, only 50 people actually notice it) there is a desire to make use of said platform to express ourselves. I am not trying to belittle any of the sadness or grief here. But say 20 years ago, had this exact thing happened, you might get some press releases from people who had a profile high enough to warrant a press release covered by the media. That would probably be it. And especially given the nature of the NBA as an avenue for players to promote their personal brand, these guys are wired to think in the context of how they individually will mourn or honor Kobe. In the past it would make sense simply for the Lakers to do some sort of uni memorial, and given Kobe was an all time great though not the unequivocal all time greatest, nor a pioneer like Jackie Robinson, nor did he even die under circumstances like say Clemente or Tillman, it is odd for other teams to flat our retire his number, or do anything beyond a momentum of silence / one game tribute. His death is tragic, shocking, and sad, and I think the reaction to it speaks more to how we communicate in society in 2020 rather than to his “greatness” or however you want to qualify his place in sports history. Kobe was certainly very high profile, and passed under such shocking and tragic circumstances, but I think today this just how the reaction will be when any high profile athlete to passes away suddenly and unexpectedly.

      • ChrisH | January 30, 2020 at 12:49 pm |

        “But say 20 years ago, had this exact thing happened, you might get some press releases from people who had a profile high enough to warrant a press release covered by the media. That would probably be it.”

        Not exact, but similar…
        In 2001 Dale Earnhardt, arguably the all-time greatest in his sport, died suddenly and unexpectedly.
        I don’t recall any cross-over memorials outside of the auto-racing world, aside from the Kannapolis Intimidators (in whom Earnhardt had a stake in) retiring the #3.
        IIRC, NASCAR formally had their moment of reflection/souvenir hat and pennant salute at Rockingham, RCR rebranded the #3 and TV coverage commentary went silent at lap 3 for the rest of the year, but then that was that. Aside from annual(?) tributes at Daytona, the longevity/variety of remembrances thereafter were fan-driven and far more personal than orchestrated.

        • Jay H | January 30, 2020 at 3:27 pm |

          I was thinking of this, but the world is much more connected than 2001. Social media, smart phones, etc didn’t exist. Each race up until 9/11 had some kind of Earnhardt tribute usually in prerace activities. Still it took what 15 years for the 3 to return? He’s still remembered and was arguably the sports face with Jeff Gordon.

          Had he died in the 2021 Daytona 500 I think more tributes would have popped up. To even get the news of his death it was watch the local news broadcast. It’s all tragic, but I find Earnhardt’s more emotional as you saw it live, it’s on replay. Kobe was a bigger star, but in a sense he was out of the limelight.

          Two other points is death is much more common in racing with 4 other drivers dying in the same yearish period. Also a hugely significant day happened 7 months later that is the lasting impression. After 9/11 much of the sports world was focused on patriotic aspects and the tragedy of that day.

    • Lloyd Alaban | January 30, 2020 at 2:10 pm |

      It’s funny but I’ve thought of why Kobe had such an impact all this week. I wouldn’t say I’m distraught over Kobe’s death, but I also can’t say I’m not more sad than usual this week. I’ve been in this fog/haze of “why can’t I work today” and “is this really real” and work has taken like way longer than it should have. Even compiling the ticker this week felt emotionally draining while reading through all the Kobe stuff. It took way longer than it should have lol. It’s like the week is dragging along. I’ve spent *hours* reading headlines on the internet since Sunday and it still doesn’t feel real. Everything from Kobe highlights to tribute videos to crash site pictures. Hell, I spent half an hour on Reddit reading about helicopters just to get a better idea of what happened. I read the coroner’s report. Like seeing the phrase, “Kobe’s body” still feels like some kind of horror movie.

      I’ll admit basketball (along with soccer) is one of my favorite sports to both play and watch, so I might be biased here lol. Also, since I live in San Jose, I got to see Kobe and the Lakers disproportionately more than others around the nation (my team was the Warriors growing up, and of course they’re the local team. The Lakers play in the same division, so I got to see a lot of Kobe and Shaq growing up).

      I was a teen during the Lakers’ first three-peat. I remember very, very clearly watching game six of the Western Conference Finals in 2002 where the Lakers drained three after three (and got a ton of help from the refs lol) after they were basically going to lose that series. Then they came back to beat the Kings in game seven. Kobe — even after all the elbowing — and Shaq were able to engineer a comeback against the best teams in the league. It was crazy to watch.

      Simply put, Kobe was invincible. Immortal. Untouchable in a way that no other player of his generation before or after can be. I spoke to my cousins and a lot of my friends (who are all huge basketball fans) after the news hit and I guess they put it all the same way. Kobe was insane at basketball. He dropped 60 on teams regularly. He would regularly destroy the Warriors whenever they would play each other.

      Add to the fact that he was such a polarizing figure, both on and off the court. I’ll focus on the court and I’ll leave the controversial stuff for all the historians to sort out. Anyway, here in the Bay Area (and at my high school lunch table), Kobe got the reputation of a ball hog. Maybe it was the biased Warriors media, or the biased Warriors fans. But that’s how a lot of us felt. Dude couldn’t pass the ball to save his life. The public kind of fed into that. Also, when the Shaq/Kobe feud really boiled over, the sports media here kind of took it as Kobe showing off his prima donna side. Yeah, he was a great player, but *man* all that drama *insert eye roll here*.

      I grew up watching Kobe play I remember having arguments on the basketball court after school about LeBron and Kobe and who was going to be better. My main argument was that “I didn’t like Kobe because he was a Laker and I’m a Warrior fan.” That was basically it. Even back then I had tons of respect for the dude, but I *hated* the Lakers. I hated how they bought all the stars from my early childhood who were about to retire just to win another championship. I hated that I had to watch them every Sunday instead of the Warriors (even though they were absolutely horrible). Hated the Lakers and by extension Los Angeles, because when you grow up in NorCal you’re taught that everything SoCal is bad (although we can all agree that Disneyland is awesome lol). I absolutely loved it when “the greatest team in the world, ever” got their asses whooped in the 2004 Finals by the Pistons. But most of all, Kobe was a Laker. I hated the Lakers, so by extension I hated Shaq and Kobe. Why? Because that’s what Warriors fans do. Purple and gold unis bad, navy and orange unis good. Paul calls it rooting for laundry. It might sound silly, but I still do. I’m sure a lot of us (all of us?) on this site have a similar story.

      The resurgence of Kobe (around mid-2000s until the end of his career) coincided with me going to college. I think that’s when I grew up and was able to think more critically of not just sports, but everything around me. I kind of grew up and realized that you can hate a team but like individuals on that team. When the Lakers went on that winning streak of Conference Finals, I came to realize just how good Kobe was. YouTube was just starting up around then, and I had the opportunity to watch his 81-point game in detail after the fact. The shooting was amazing, and his ability to read defenses was even more amazing. His footwork — how he’d be able to get into the paint with people all around him — was one of the best I’ve ever seen, still.

      Whew, OK that was a bit of a tangent. But anyway, ask any person of my generation (us snowflake millennials lol) who grew up watching basketball and you’ll hear a story about Kobe. Guaranteed. You either really hated him, or you really liked him, because he was so good at what he did. If you loved him, you gushed over his ability to shoot and all the rings he got. If you hated him, you berated him for not being a team player and taking every shot — even dumb ones he shouldn’t have taken. But you still had to admit he was an excellent shooter and possibly one of the greatest players of his generation (In the convo about *really* great, there’s Kobe, LeBron, KG, and that’s pretty much it).

      And if you’re a Californian like me, you probably have some kind of story that relates to Kobe, however many degrees removed you might be. My half brother lives in Gardena, about 20 miles or so from the Staples Center. He went to his makeshift memorial on Monday. My girlfriend used to go to UCI, and Kobe would work out there regularly. Kobe visited Disneyland many times, just like all of us Californians. You run into *tons* of Lakers fans here. We all have some connection, somehow.

      Now multiply that by all the people in the world who follow basketball. Basketball was just getting global (like really global) in the early 2000s because of Stern’s push into China and Asia. By then, Kobe was the face of the league. Much like how LeBron is the face of the league now. Kobe still remains the most popular player in China (and think of all the Chinese players who played in the league) and in my parents’ home country of the Philippines, where basketball is huge there.

      Kobe had a global appeal (dude spoke multiple languages), and he had a generational appeal too. But whatever generation or part of the globe you came from, you could agree that Kobe was invincible. Immortal. Beyond human even. Like that clip where Kevin Hart tries to tell him a joke on the bench and he absolutely ignores him. Or the time where Matt Barnes tried to make Kobe flinch and he just stood there. Of course those two things happened. Those are the most Kobe things ever to happen on the court. Dude was an immortal machine.

      And to think that his life could be just ripped away just reminds us basketball fans that even “immortal” people can die, at *any* time. That’s part of the big impact. For me, it reminded me (at the risk of sounding overly melodramatic) of my own mortality. If the Grim Reaper can take Immortal Kobe, then he can take anyone.

  • MJ | January 30, 2020 at 9:11 am |

    Errata:
    1. The handwritten Orioles’ NOB are tendered in katakana, not Katana.
    2. The 1894 football team is from their medical school, not the university at large.
    3. The score bug was SOUTH Carolina/Arkansas, not East Carolina.

    • Paul Lukas | January 30, 2020 at 9:18 am |

      Got it.

  • Scott T | January 30, 2020 at 9:15 am |

    Paul, all due respect, but you’re overthinking this. Logos aren’t necessarily about the sum of individual parts, but rather an overall composition. The shock and horror of a couple of chopped off stars, to me, doesn’t detract from the overall composition which really works. It’s simple and to the point, yet very unique. The original design in this article may not be absolutely perfect, but it’s fun and it looks good (think: Brewers original ball-in-glove logo). It’s a nice composition and unlike anything else out there. It works, don’t overthink it.

    • Paul Lukas | January 30, 2020 at 9:20 am |

      I agree that it’s clever, I never said anything about “shock” or “horror,” and it’s possible for us to disagree without you accusing me of “overthinking.” I find the stars problematic; you don’t. Perfectly reasonable difference of opinion.

      What do you think of Johnny Woods’s simpler version?

      • Scott T | January 30, 2020 at 9:35 am |

        The simpler version works on a jersey, but I’m not sure about it as a stand alone logo. I don’t necessarily care for the horizontal stripe ending in space.

      • Ryan M | January 30, 2020 at 3:28 pm |

        The stripe seems as forced as the stars. Granted, there are a few teams that use such a horizontal stripe on their sweater, but most don’t, so it seems like you’d only be doing so for the negative space effect–to me, that’s not a whole lot different than altering the space of a couple stars to get it to work.

        That being said, I might change my tune if I could see Johnny’s logo rendered in a style similar to the Canadiens’, with more than one color.

    • Dan Pfeifer | January 30, 2020 at 1:52 pm |

      You know, it’s interesting that you brought up the Brewers logo, because that was the case I was going to make that I think Paul is right.

      I don’t think clever is automatically good, and to me, the Brewers ball-in-glove is the best example. Here’s my case: At some point, with thousands of repeated viewings, cleverness wears off.

      I’m a Brewers fan, but I’ve never been nearly as high on the ball-in-glove as everyone else. Yes, at first glance — first — it’s clever. But when you start thinking about it, I start to take issue with it:

      1. It’s composed of lowercase letters, which I see as diminutive. I don’t want my teams to be diminutive; it makes them seem like they’re “lower.” I want them to be upper, bold, AUTHORITATIVE. It was worse when it was surrounded with the lowercase ‘milwaukee brewers’ type; I was happy when that usage went out of vogue.

      2. It’s a ball-and-glove, which represents baseball, yes. But all 30 teams play baseball and use gloves. Other than incorporating a ‘b’, ow does it relate to the name … Brewers? It doesn’t refer to brewing or beer at all. Couldn’t the ball & glove then been used for the Braves, too? And how does it relate to the uniqueness of Milwaukee? It doesn’t.

      3. This is why I really liked the 2000-2019 set. Folks complained that it looked like a beer logo … which I can’t understand because the team is named the ‘Brewers’. It should look like a beer logo! And folks said it looked like the Miller logo. OK. The park is (was) Miller Park and the Miller Brewery is almost a long fly ball away from the stadium. Miller is enough a part of Milwaukee culture that folks here give you dirty looks if you order a Bud product. Why not have a logo complimentary to that? Plus, a white serifed ‘M’ on a navy hat was an allusion to a team even better than the ball-and-glove logo teams — the Milwaukee Braves.

      4. As I said above, at some point, the cleverness wears off. In fact, it can become annoying. Whenever I see the FedEx logo now, I see that dumb arrow. If it’s on the left side of the truck, then it’s annoying, because it’s technically pointing backward (think about the way they have to make flag stickers and patches facing both directions … you can’t do that with the FedEx logo). Now that I see the word ‘MOM’ in the Wendy’s logo, it makes me kinda want to eat their less, both because it feels a little psychologically manipulative, plus, I don’t have a great relationship with my mom. The ball-in-glove was clever for me the first time I figured it out … at about the age of 8. I got over it. And by the early 90’s, it looked like an out-of-date piece of late 70’s design. I was done with it and wasn’t upset the Brewers went to the navy, gold and green.

      Then I liked the 2000-19 set even better. And I wasn’t happy with the recent move back.

      I feel like those feelings exactly echo what Paul is saying: Clever doesn’t necessarily mean good. We can be more thoughtful.

      And that speaks to the final thing I want to address in your post: I will never get too upset with someone for over-thinking. In fact, I’d like to see more people be more thoughtful. I don’t think Paul’s overthinking at all. I think he’s giving it the level of thought more of us should be giving it. Thought is what differentiates us from every other species. It should be the thing we use the most. Let’s encourage over-thinking, not discourage it.

  • Wade Heidt | January 30, 2020 at 9:17 am |

    Really not liking the large 3 stripes over the right shoulder on the MLS kits that have leaked.

  • Rich P | January 30, 2020 at 9:24 am |

    I can’t decide which of the Uni Watch Hockey jerseys I like better. Yesterday I was all about the gold, today I like the green the best. Great design. I may have missed it, but is the lettering inspired by the old Penguins design?

    • Paul Lukas | January 30, 2020 at 9:25 am |

      Rangers!

      • MJ | January 30, 2020 at 11:55 am |

        The fact that it is modeled on what the Rangers wear is a minus for this Flyers fan. That said, the UW design is excellent and objectively, the Rangers have a great design, even if I cannot stand the team.

    • Lou | January 30, 2020 at 9:47 am |

      I had the same issue. I decided to go with the gold as I think it is the most unique and really stands out.

      • Jet | January 30, 2020 at 5:00 pm |

        For those who are turned off by the influence of the Rangers’ design, you can always justify your purchase by saying it was based on the 67-68 Penguins jersey.

        -Jet

  • Jon Duchoviner | January 30, 2020 at 9:28 am |

    Mary Washington?

    • Paul Lukas | January 30, 2020 at 9:32 am |

      Yes. Mary Ball Washington (George’s mother) is one of the team’s mascots.

  • Devin Clancy | January 30, 2020 at 9:38 am |

    “I’m not in favour of anything that sucks the life, uniqueness, and character out of a design.”

    I’m always really bothered by this kind of subjective criticism given as if it’s a statement of objective fact. It happens way too much in design criticism.

    If you’re going to say something like this, it’s not really valid or understandable without some basis to back it up. This reads like a shallow opinion and kind of mean.

    • bd | January 30, 2020 at 4:14 pm |

      Agreed, it’s very weak, and oddly dramatic criticism. Taste and subjectivity play a role in design criticism, but at some point there needs to be some backbone of underlying principles.

      The issue I have with the proposed North Stars logo is the scale of the stars relative to the negative space. In order to create the N, the stars have to be as big as they are, giving them too much weight in the design. The N feels puny.

      The two star solution is weaker overall in my mind, the second star seems more out of place in this context and the stripe is only there to solve a problem created by removing the side stars. Ultimately, a team called the North Stars only needs one star in their logo.

    • Dustin | January 30, 2020 at 10:17 pm |

      This is what initially stood out to me when I read Waffleboreds comment. The first part of the critique was objective and the second part was jarring and felt mean spirited. I only know Wafflebored from his projects here on Uni Watch but I initially thought, “this can’t be the same guy.” If that comment was in the comments section here at Uni Watch it could get Paul’s comment of “Your basic response (about the stars, etc) is good! No need to put words in people’s mouths, mischaracterize their positions, or insult them. Thanks.”

  • Danno McK. | January 30, 2020 at 9:54 am |

    The “collection of clothing called U.S. Made” link is blank:
    collection of clothing called U.S. Made

  • DaveBlarg | January 30, 2020 at 10:06 am |

    I agree 100%. The FedEx logo is excellent because it stands on its own even before you see what’s happening in the negative space. This North Stars mock-up is fun and clever, but there is nothing visually pleasing except the negative space.

    • Egon Schiele | February 1, 2020 at 4:38 pm |

      I 100% disagree. The negative space I didn’t even see until reading the post. Those four stars in the cardinal directions is pure beauty.

  • Steve | January 30, 2020 at 10:12 am |

    I have seen Allan Peters’ work for years on Dribbble, and I can’t say I’m a fan. Sure, he’s obviously got some talent, but I’m surprised this “N”-star design didn’t have an “ESTD. 19xx” or “MPLS MINN” or “TRDMRK” on it, as it seems just about every design he creates has that type of element on it. 

  • Hudson Slaby | January 30, 2020 at 10:18 am |

    Kraken is a terrible name.

    • RS Rogers | January 30, 2020 at 10:38 am |

      I agree – but Krakens would be terrific. Enough with the singular and mass-noun team names!

      • Greg | January 30, 2020 at 10:53 am |

        Yeah, I think Kraken, or even Krakens, is just one of those in the moment names that really won’t stand up over time. Much like the Mighty Ducks. Fortunately they could easily fall back on Ducks. Sports franchises are supposed to last for generations, ideally you want a timeless name that still works 50 years from now. Looking at a team like the Dodgers (relocation aside), does a Dodger (trolley dodger) really resonate today? Nope, but for them professional sports wasn’t the big business it was today, so we can accept the very time specific naming convention as almost quaint and pastoral reflection on the founding of MLB. Given that Seattle is creating a team in what may very well be the pinnacle of professional sports as an industry, people won’t look back on Kraken as a pastoral reminder of old timey hockey, but a foolish in-moment trendy marketing grab. And I’d further argue the “moment” for Kraken is already like 5 or 10 years past as the pirate movies have lost their pop culture relevance.

        • Martina | January 30, 2020 at 12:38 pm |

          I feel like you’re kind of arguing against your own point though when you bring up the Dodgers though. I feel like that’s a great example of how names that otherwise would sound silly aren’t perceived as such only because of time. Kraken might sound silly for 25 years but it probably wouldn’t in 75.

        • Jay H | January 30, 2020 at 3:43 pm |

          Eh, the NHL is filled with bad names from its recent expansion efforts. Wild? Blue Jackets? Predators? Golden Knights? None of these sound good 20 years later and I cant see them growing in me. Texans is another blah naming. Thunder? Pelicans? Ray’s? Modern sports is flat out bad at naming so I would expect a terrible name for Seattle.

        • Tornaitbird | January 30, 2020 at 4:07 pm |

          As an Angelino, some of my friends and I joke that the Dodgers are are supposed to be the “Traffic Dodgers”.

          Also, at one point in time, between the 1930’s and the 1950’s, Los Angeles had the world’s largest trolley network, which was unfortunately ripped up at the behest of Henry Ford and General Motors… because “let’s sell all of these cars!” Therefore, if GM and Mr. Ford hadn’t done that, the “Trolley Dodgers” name could very well make sense to this day.

        • Ron | January 30, 2020 at 1:57 pm |

          Denver’s NHL team was almost called the Rocky Mountain Extreme. That would have held up realllllly well after a few years.

        • Greg | January 30, 2020 at 3:50 pm |

          Martina, I might not have properly explained my thoughts on the Dodgers. We can look back on that now with nostalgia and quaintness to old time baseball, when it was much different than it was now. A simpler time in American history when sports were not overloaded with business and marketing. A time when teams names were often unofficial (the AL Washington franchise alternated between Senators and Nationals not particularly out of team branding, but simply what the fans and press called them). Whereas now teams are branded and marketed very much, with loads of resources put into what they will be called, their logos, uniforms, etc. In a few decades I have a hunch we would scoff thinking something the ownership spent all this time and came up with such a buzzword name like Kraken, thinking it would stand the test of time, or was even good to begin with. It has that trying too hard feel to it, whereas something like Emeralds or Evergreens would simply be thought of as an allusion the character of the region. Even Sockeyes, which I dislike, has more staying power than Kraken. I just think about the Vegas Golden Knights, and the name tries too hard on multiple levels, they’ll be known as the Las Vegas Knights eventually and people will laugh thinking about the original name.

        • Mark in Shiga | January 31, 2020 at 5:38 am |

          I just think about the Vegas Golden Knights, and the name tries too hard on multiple levels, they’ll be known as the Las Vegas Knights eventually

          This is already happening with Japan’s Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, who are almost always called the Eagles with the “Golden” disappearing.

      • Winter | January 30, 2020 at 2:00 pm |

        Is there more than one Kraken? When they say “Release the Kraken”, is it just the kraken they had handy, and they potentially could choose from other kraken?

    • Wade Heidt | January 30, 2020 at 12:28 pm |

      I’m not sold on the name being Kraken until I see the official team announcement for the name.

      Also, would not be happy if it is Kraken.

  • Arvis | January 30, 2020 at 10:26 am |

    At first I didn’t even see the N. Now I can’t unsee it.
    I like the design, though something doesn’t sit right with me about how it sits on the jersey. The jersey looks really bare for some reason, and not in a good way. Maybe an outline around the logo would help it out ; it doesn’t feel fully “there” as it is.

    If you look at the 1991 uniform:
    https://www.gamewornauctions.net/products/1990_91_Bobby_Smith_Minnesota_North_Stars_Stanley_Cup_Finals_Game_Worn_Jersey_1991_Stanley_Cup_Finals_Video_Match-7518-171.html

    The logo has these subtle undertones and lines in it which give it definition. Something like that might help this four-star design.

  • Ian P | January 30, 2020 at 10:33 am |

    On the North Stars logo my first impression is that the uppermost, yellow star reminds me of the Satanic and/or Wiccan Pentagram.
    I guess I’ve spent too much time around heavy metal bands.

    That being said, I’m a huge fan of the use of negative space, and I like the logo overall.

  • Perry | January 30, 2020 at 10:39 am |

    That Columbus Crew story now has an update linked to it — the club is now saying that neither the name nor the colors will be changed. Whew!

  • RS Rogers | January 30, 2020 at 10:51 am |

    For a logo design to work, it needs both clarity in terms of communicating something about the thing it symbolizes and distinctiveness in terms of having some degree of uniqueness in its overall appearance. An observer would only ever consider a design to be “clever” if the design was significantly distinct from other designs. If a design is obviously derivative of or highly similar to other already existing designs, the new design just won’t register as “clever,” even if it’s actually a very good design. Cleverness is thus almost a proxy for a design that achieves one of its two main objectives. So, yeah, almost by definition, clever designs will usually be judged to be good designs.

    That said, negative space comes at a cost: It reduces the clarity of a logo. Not everybody sees the arrow in the FedEx logo, at least not without having it pointed out. Which is OK, because the FedEx logo works just fine as a wordmark without the arrow; the arrow is sort of like a bonus, an Easter egg or a cherry on top of an otherwise delicious sundae. But for something like the North Stars concept or the Whalers logo, the negative space is vital to the logo working at all, so if any observer doesn’t see the symbol in the negative space, the logo is a complete failure for that observer.

    The four-star North Stars concept does a good job of making the message of the negative space blaringly obvious, so it checks both the clarity and the distinctive boxes. The way the stars on the side are “broken” makes the N impossible to not see. It’s clever, and it’s a very good design. It’s also not a design I would choose for a team I ran. Maybe as a secondary or shoulder logo, but there’s a flatness to it, a rigidity and angularity, that looks out of place on a hockey jersey to me. If I’m looking for a logo for my farm-machinery company named North Star, I’d adopt this concept in a heartbeat and I’d expect it to be the company logo for at least the next 50 years. But it just doesn’t have the characteristics that make a great sports logo for me. It’s close, a good first draft, but it’s not ready for front-of-sweater embroidery to me.

    • mike 2 | January 30, 2020 at 12:04 pm |

      I think that’s exactly it – the good negative space logos like FedEx or Hartford Whalers (or my personal favourite, the Pittsburgh Zoo) work as logos without the treat in the negative space.

      Anyway – my biggest takeaway from today is that its great to have a discussion about design that doesn’t consist of “boring” and “meh” and “snore”, where we actually critique the design elements and why they do or don’t work, not just give hot takes like most of the internet. One of the great things about this site.

      • Paul Lukas | January 30, 2020 at 12:12 pm |

        the good negative space logos like FedEx or Hartford Whalers (or my personal favourite, the Pittsburgh Zoo) work as logos without the treat in the negative space.

        Beautifully stated, Mike. I think you’ve just hit upon the standard we should apply when evaluating this type of design: It should work *even if you don’t realize the hidden neg-space element.* The Styczen Standard!

        • mike 2 | January 30, 2020 at 12:50 pm |

          Oh no no no, I can’t take credit for this. I was just summarizing and agreeing with RS Rogers above me.

    • Tom V. | January 30, 2020 at 2:38 pm |

      Regarding the flatness of the logo, and the fact it looks like a secondary logo…

      Those can both be fixed with some simple beveling of the stars to make them pop off the jersey, add some color (grays I’m thinking for the bevels) maybe add a drop shadow and there you go, a few timeworn ways to turn a flat secondary logo into your main logo!

  • walter | January 30, 2020 at 10:58 am |

    Paul, would you agree that the Seminole Tribe’s blessing of behavior by Florida State and their fans that other Indian tribes have sought to disparage is problematic? Network cameras are right there when FSU hurls the burning spear into the midfield logo, while the crowd does the tomahawk chant and wears Indian war paint. Television viewers see this and make the connection that it is somehow appropriate for other teams, as far as I can see. Also, though seeing a Chiefs’ or Redskins’ fan in an Indian headdress can be painful, I don’t doubt the sincerity of such people when they claim to be making a tribute, for the mere reason that our culture has become really hamfisted at the art of making tributes. Solemnity and stoicism are lost arts in the 21st Century, when the victim of a roadside accident can count on a memorial of stuffed animals, dead flowers, and heart-shaped silk pillows to accompany their makeshift cross. The short version: It’s a teachable moment.

    • Paul Lukas | January 30, 2020 at 11:01 am |

      would you agree that the Seminole Tribe’s blessing of behavior by Florida State and their fans that other Indian tribes have sought to disparage is problematic?

      I’m not going to tell the Seminole Tribe what they should or shouldn’t give their approval to.

      • walter | January 30, 2020 at 11:11 am |

        Fair enough.

    • Greg | January 30, 2020 at 11:15 am |

      Excellent point. In another context, I think the people of Pittsburgh, and the steelworkers that historically worked in the region, legitimately see the Pittsburgh Steelers as tribute to honor both the people and the industry, rather than just a mascot taking advantage of them. So for any Native American named team to actually work, there needs to be sincerity in the fact that the franchise is actually honoring the culture and people. Do fans of the Chiefs, Redskins, Indians, etc who dress up actually do so to pay tribute to a group of people and their culture, especially given how their culture was treated for centuries by western culture? The answer to that is most certainly no. But there lies an opportunity for said franchises to work with Native American tribes, to ask them to come to the table and use said franchises as a platform to educate and honor their culture, to pass along to the fan base how they can passionately show their fandom and simultaneously show reverence to that culture.

      • RS Rogers | January 30, 2020 at 11:56 am |

        For an example of a team that does exactly what you propose, see the MiLB Spokane Indians. The team has had a very successful relationship with the Spokane Nation of Native Americans, and the success of that relationship for the team is such that it puts most other teams with Indian nicknames into very stark and negative relief.

        The Spokane example illustrates that the Redskins, Indians, Braves, Chiefs, etc are making an intentional choice not to engage with Native communities in a respectful and dignified manner, and the teams are making that choice knowing that it comes at some cost to the team’s corporate welfare. So it’s a political choice to be deliberately disrespectful to a segment of Americans. Which is an outrageous and nigh-disgusting thing for any American institution to do. The negative aspects of team nicknames, mascots, and fan behavior are not an accidental, inconvenient, or unwanted holdover legacy of a different time, but the deliberate and intended outcome of a choice the teams in question are making right now. Teams could to as Greg proposes, and teams know from Spokane’s example that doing so could benefit the team without risking the loss of brand identity and fan loyalty, and they actively choose not to do so.

    • Tom V. | January 30, 2020 at 2:30 pm |

      I think the question deserves an answer, but I’m not sure it’s the right question.

      So the answer to the question (or not the right question) is that there needs to be an education of the public as to exactly why certain tribes approve of what others do with their image, versus why others don’t approve, and that some teams generally represent the entirety of a certain population, where as other teams are specific with the portion of the population they represent.

      So I do think FSU could possibly be a little less tacky with their displays (but that’s up to the tribe) where as teams that generally represent a whole (Indians, Braves, Warriors) sort of go over the line with massive generalizations about what the folks they represent actually are.

      So on another note this whole thing got me thinking at lunch about Chief Nokahoma. It is pretty clever in it’s concept, but beyond that it is pretty cringy overall.

  • Greg | January 30, 2020 at 11:01 am |

    Glad someone pointed out that that logo, while clever, isn’t necessarily great or lacking in flaws just because it has a clever use of negative space. On first glance I saw a close arrangement of stars that wasn’t particularly pleasing. As I looked at it I picked up the negative space N and the reason it was unpleasing, the cut off points of the stars. The criticism by waffleboard is well thought out, the design isn’t great, it simply takes advantage of a design element (use of negative space) that people tend to enjoy. And that design element is probably a bit overrated simply because we appreciate the cleverness of making it work, above the actually quality of the overall design. The Whalers logo is so great because even without the negative space H, (which I never picked up as a little kid when the Whalers were still around) the W with the tale is a really good logo on it’s own. This North Stars logo doesn’t really stand on its own without the negative space cleverness.

  • walter | January 30, 2020 at 11:08 am |

    Is a clever design automatically a good design? NO. Exhibit A: The New Jersey Devils’ insignia. It’s got an “N”, a “J”, horns, and a pointed tail. But, just what is it? A blob, as far as I can tell. At least the Milwaukee Brewers’ logo is ultimately a baseball glove, and the Quebec Nordiques crest was ultimately an igloo.

    • bd | January 30, 2020 at 4:04 pm |

      The Devils logo is itself. It’s a distinctive, immediately readable silhouette. You picked up on all the things it’s supposed to suggest. Maybe the shape isn’t appealing to you, but the idea that a logo has to also be some other type of representational imagery in order to be successful is wrong.

  • Bryan | January 30, 2020 at 11:35 am |

    Not crazy about how the top (“north”) star in this concept looks upside-down, relative to what I’d consider the typical orientation of a five-pointed star. Seems to me that the main star should draw the eye north in this context by having one point of the star on top.

    I spent three days in Nashville last week and the three-star Tennessee flag motif is everywhere. None of the three are oriented in the usual way or seemed to have alignment with the others. Correct me if I’m not seeing it right. Just couldn’t get used to it.

    • RobYaz | January 30, 2020 at 12:25 pm |

      I agree, the offset stars bother me more than the half-stars. I noticed that before seeing the mention of the half-stars.

  • Samuel Lam | January 30, 2020 at 11:40 am |

    The 49ers red jersey worn yesterday features a different number font than the actual jerseys they wear for games.

  • CoachBatt | January 30, 2020 at 12:19 pm |

    I’m not sure if it was mentioned in yesterday’s ticker… but in the Supe preview Paul noted that the last blank nose-bumper team was the Vikings from back in the 70’s.

    Actually, the 2000 Football Giants featured blank nose bumpers during the 1st year of their “throwback” rebrand that season. They reached Superbowl XXXV against the Ravens with those blank bumpers. I initially thought they left them blank purposely to keep with the old-school feel!

    They wouldn’t add the “ny” for a few more seasons.

    My apologies if this was previously pointed out!

  • Eddie | January 30, 2020 at 12:38 pm |

    The USA Network uses negative space and I don’t think it’s that great of a logo.

  • Matt P | January 30, 2020 at 12:39 pm |

    Seattle Kraken would be a great name, but more red and black? Please no. Blackhawks, Coyotes, Flames, Devils, Hurricanes and Senators have that scheme covered and then some.

  • TIm | January 30, 2020 at 12:53 pm |

    Typo alert? “SUNY Empire State College has chosen the mascot in school history, Blue the Bluebird.” I think this is missing the word “first”.

    • Paul Lukas | January 30, 2020 at 1:01 pm |

      Got it (and thanks for reading all the way to the end of the Ticker!).

  • Padday | January 30, 2020 at 12:57 pm |

    My initial reaction to Waffleboard’s criticism was an eye roll and a sigh of “well of course it looks cumbersome etc. because it’s clearly not a finished piece but rather a proof of concept. It needs some polish and a bit of experimentation to help mitigate some of that gawkiness, but even the first BiG Brewers concept (https://onmilwaukee.com/images/articles/ol/oldlogo/oldlogo_story3.jpg) looks not just insanely corny but pretty wonky and unbalanced”.

    But then the response by Peters describing it as his “passion project” and similar comments made me balk a little. If that’s what he considers the final perfect form of his concept then maybe I actually do agree with Waffle.

    Anyway, put me down in the, “this is great AND it needs serious work” camp.

  • DJ | January 30, 2020 at 1:11 pm |

    Turns out they have a Mary Washington-themed inaugural logo too

    Martha, not Mary

    • Paul Lukas | January 30, 2020 at 1:18 pm |

      Actually, it’s Mary. George’s mother. One of the team’s mascots.

  • Daniel Tarrant | January 30, 2020 at 1:45 pm |

    Two points:

    1. As a huge “This Is Spinal Tap” fan, I can’t let the lede go without pointing out that “there is a fine line between clever and stupid.”

    2. Paul may very well declare this to be the wrong time and/or place to bring this up (and I’ll respect that if he does), but is anybody else at least a little surprised that in the #MeToo era, almost nobody in the media is bringing up that Kobe Bryant was an accused rapist? And while it’s true that charged against him were dropped, that’s only true because the accuser decided not to cooperated with authorities and then received what we can presume was a large cash settlement from Bryant?

    This is not to say that he’s not presumed innocent until proven guilty, but an actual legal conviction has hardly been required for a number of celebrities from being found guilty in the court of public opinion.

    This is not to say that Bryant wasn’t able to redeem himself to some degree, but it’s just odd that nobody is bringing up the fact that Bryant may not exactly be a guy worth honoring had he not been rich enough to make criminal charges go away.

    Just a thought. Maybe it’s “too soon” but the moral aspects of honoring somebody to such a great extent who was at least accused of a serious sexual crime seem like it’s worth a mention when discussing this particular aspect of the Uni-Verse.

    • Geoff P | January 30, 2020 at 2:07 pm |

      The first paragraph of Paul’s post on Monday regarding Kobe:

      Kobe Bryant died yesterday. I’ll leave it to others to address what he meant on a cultural or historical level, or even on a basketball level. Here at Uni Watch, we’re more concerned with how he fit into the uni-verse and how the uni-verse responded yesterday to his passing, so that’s what we’ll address today.

      So on this site, we (in the grand sense) are really just concerned with how people are responding to this in the world of design/uniforms. I’ve seen many people on other sites discussing his cultural impact, including the accusation you reference. I haven’t been seeking them out as I was never a big fan of Kobe or the NBA in general, but I have seen everything from Op-Ed pieces to Facebook screeds discussing this aspect.

    • Tim | January 30, 2020 at 5:24 pm |

      It’s indeed been brought up. It’s also been brought up that he reconciled himself within his faith, and became a better Catholic and a better father as a result of it. He took his daughter to church/received communion right before they got on the Helicopter on Sunday.

    • Paul Lukas | January 30, 2020 at 5:53 pm |

      Actually, quite a few media outlets have brought it up. A Washington Post reporter was *suspended* for bringing it up (and then quickly reinstated). I’ve seen lots and lots of articles about his “complicated legacy” and such.

      • Daniel Tarrant | January 30, 2020 at 7:45 pm |

        Well, I was careful to use the term “almost nobody”with regard to having brought it up and yes I’ve seen euphemisms like his “complicated legacy” but it seems that few people have the balls to state that we as a culture are willing to not just forgive but honor rapists if they’re good at sports.

        It will be interesting to see how things go when OJ Simpson dies.

  • Aaron | January 30, 2020 at 1:49 pm |

    The North Stars concept logo is very clever but not that aesthetically pleasing. The criticism by Wafflebored has some merit. I would submit that the original crest paired with the simpler 2 star concept as sleeve stripes would look fantastic.

  • Geoff P | January 30, 2020 at 1:58 pm |

    The link for the Patrick Nagel GIS is doing some weird acrobatics on my browser. Hovering over the link makes me think that it’ll work fine, but clicking on it goes to some “cannot find that address” page with “https://https//www.google.com” in the address bar. No idea what’s up, but I had to do some URL surgery to get to the actual page.

  • Jet | January 30, 2020 at 4:58 pm |

    I didn’t like the N. Stars logo before I scrolled down to see Waffleboard’s critique.

    Is it clever? Very.

    Is it good? I don’t care for it. Seems more forced than natural.

    -Jet

  • Tim | January 30, 2020 at 5:27 pm |

    Note on the Seattle Kracken. Many have suggested locall this is an awful name for the Hockey Franchise given the drug use/trade in Downtown Seattle. Many commenters saying it sounds too much like the Seattle Crackheads.

    Just imagine that Uni design contest…

  • Tim | January 30, 2020 at 5:28 pm |

    It’s indeed been brought up. It’s also been brought up that he reconciled himself within his faith, and became a better Catholic and a better father as a result of it. He took his daughter to church/received communion right before they got on the Helicopter on Sunday.

  • Justin | January 30, 2020 at 6:57 pm |

    I used to love the North Stars logo, uniforms, and team name. When they moved to Dallas I was really hoping they were going to call themselves the Lone Stars. Obviously, you can’t pluralize lone star, because then it’s no longer alone. But, for that matter, you really can’t pluralize North Star, either. The North Star is a real thing, and there is most certainly only one of them, too.

  • Scott Steffes | January 30, 2020 at 9:26 pm |

    Best thing about design is that it is subjective. Draws various perspectives, connections, ideas, ect….

    The North Stars logo is creative but the first thing I noticed was the chopped stars. It drew my eye. It feels like a specialty jersey vs. an everyday jersey. If I were giving it grade I would say B- : seems a bit corporate.

    I do enjoy the story about how it came about, but at the end of the day it is viewers choice of aesthetic when critiqued.

    I say – keep being creative, keep loving what you do and don’t let the heat bother you. Part of the gig.

    Love the healthy banter

  • Ed in CA | January 30, 2020 at 11:16 pm |

    I hereby suggest that the term “Nike maker’s mark,” when being used in reference to their mark that is being used to deface any article of any uniform other than a cleat, hereafter and in perpetuity be re-named “Nike skid mark.”

    If puns are the lowest form of humor, scatological humor must be number two.

  • Egon Schiele | February 1, 2020 at 4:37 pm |

    Don’t normally comment, but here we go. In regards to the North Stars redesign, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better hockey sweater. As you say Paul, it “has a certain wow factor. There’s that sense of surprise and revelation, that endorphin rush. It’s fun!” But not only that, it’s memorable and has a certain level of enjoyment when you see it, which is the fundamental question of design. It has to feel good. The second version — with the white stripe — that seems like negative space for the sake of itself. It doesn’t have that same immediate response.

    I think many of us can agree that symbolism is actually overrated in the design world, but in this case, I think it works as well as it can. The ‘N’ is neat, sure, but what I love about it is the reference to the “North” in North Stars. The stars make up your cardinal directions (with the North obviously highlighted by it being yellow). The removal of a point of the star is actually nice because it makes it more directional. Plus, as someone from Chicago who knows that stars don’t need five points, the removal of two of the points doesn’t make it not read as a star. Of course it’s a star. And this modification actually also makes it read almost like snowflake which is great for Minneapolis. Just as the emphasis on the team being the north stars. There’s a lot of pride there. Look at Toronto’s “NORTH” chevron jerseys. It’s something that actually means something to the folks who live up there.

    I suppose you can call this design ‘clever’, but i would argue it’s only clever because it is well executed, new while also being timeless. It has that ‘wow’ factor because it communicates everything you want a logo to communicate without words or other needless symbols. In fact, it communicates everything with the absolute least amount of information: always a sign of great design.

    I, for one, love it. Wish more (any) teams would trust their fans will like beautiful things. Just as the Yankees just need pinstripes and the iconic NY, the northstars just need a yellow star (what’s up Polaris!) that we all know is the north.

  • Dr. von Yinzer | February 1, 2020 at 11:42 pm |

    I understand all the arguments and they are all reasonable. However, I think the original logo is very strong. Certainly, you can be guilty of over-design and I absolutely agree that not all use of negative space is a good use of negative space. However, this is an example of a good use of negative space, IMHO.

    It is all academic anyway, of course. However, I think this would have been a very popular logo — similar to the Hartford Whalers logo.