Thaumatrope

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  1. Thaumatrope

    2019 Minor/Indy/Summer Collegiate Baseball Changes

    The name isn't entirely made up as there's such a thing as pig iron, which is an unprocessed form of iron. It's not a huge stretch to go from pig iron to iron pigs. That being said, it's hard not to look at Lehigh Valley in the light of Brandiose's more recent work and wonder if this was the start of their descent into the absurd.
  2. Thaumatrope

    2019 Minor/Indy/Summer Collegiate Baseball Changes

    Were they actually referred to as "sod poodles" or is that just Brandiose brand free association a-la Baby Cakes?
  3. Thaumatrope

    2019 Minor/Indy/Summer Collegiate Baseball Changes

    I think think they could have gone with Sod Dogs and had better buy in from the community. It's one thing to go with an odd or obscure aspect of local culture, but at this point I'm pretty sure Brandiose just pulls adjectives and animals out of a hat.
  4. Thaumatrope

    2019 Minor/Indy/Summer Collegiate Baseball Changes

    This man is a GD American hero. Here's hoping others follow suit and start using the power of trademark registration to keep Brandiose in check. I'm all for novelty and experimentation, but we passed that point years ago.
  5. Thaumatrope

    2019 Minor/Indy/Summer Collegiate Baseball Changes

    Agreed. Not only that, but massive wildfires are projected to increase in frequency and severity going forward. While California gets a lot of attention due to the number of people effected by fires, the entire west experiences frequent (and devastating) wildfires. It's worth noting that we've already seen one sports brand emerge from this new wildfire reality: the Arizona Hot Shots of the AAF, and it would not surprise me to see more going forward (Smokejumpers anyone?). However, I would argue that the days of fire-related brands (especially relating to wild fires), being "safe" is probably coming to an end. Then again, we've managed to have Hurricanes and Quakes at various levels of sports without incident, so it's possible this will blow over as well.
  6. Thaumatrope

    NHL 2018-19

    The Winter Classic was an improvement only because they did away with the grey outline and went all the way back to the original logo. There's still a great deal about the original that would benefit from some refinement. While not perfect, the crossed sabres logo from 2000 - 2006 was a great start towards a more contemporary version of the buffalo and cross sabres logo...it's a real shame that it was cast aside in the transition to the buffaslug. While I agree that the current Maple Leafs logo was as well executed as one could hope for, I don't think it was the right move for the organization or the brand as a whole. Obviously this is just the opinion of one person (who is not a Leafs fan), but I find text in logos to be a huge crutch that has become largely superfluous as sports brands exist on an increasingly international stage. I have similar feelings about the New York Rangers, and it was something that really frustrated me about the roundel fad at the turn of the decade. If you have to literally spell everything out in your logo, perhaps that's a sign that it's not communicating as effectively as it could. Ultimately the Maple Leafs have decided to double down on that aspect of their identity, and if that's something that they want to make a key part of their identity, so be it. That being said, the blue maple leaf is a powerful icon all on its own. Why not embrace Toronto's identity as a global city by making the Maple Leafs a global brand, something that transcends language and borders?
  7. Thaumatrope

    NHL 2018-19

    Great points. Having spent much of my life in New England I have seen the quasi-religious fervor that some brands can become invested with. At the same time we're not dealing with religions or nations, but privately owned corporate entities that can be bought, sold, moved, or folded. What's more, these entities participate in an incredibly volatile and unpredictable industry in which an organization's success or failure can come down to the bounce of a ball. To what degree does a team's performance and history outweigh the quality of a design? The Hartford Whalers are a great example. By just about any metric the team itself was a failure, but the design continues to persist. One could argue that the logo was their single greatest accomplishment as an organization. Meanwhile you have their successor organization winning a Stanley Cup and choosing to wear the Whalers old uniforms. Sports branding is a strange creature indeed.
  8. Thaumatrope

    NHL 2018-19

    Very well said on both points. I think one of the biggest challenges with doing design work for pro sports (especially for existing teams) is that every aspect of the brand can acquire an immense amount of equity, to the point that even subtle changes can be greeted with hostility. Ideally a great design manages to breath new life into a brand while remaining true to the team's history, but it's an incredibly fine line to walk, especially when you factor in the collective sense of ownership that comes with generations of fans. What I find deeply disappointing is when organizations "regress" back to old designs without making an effort to address some of the fundamental issues with the original design. The Buffalo Sabres are the organization that immediately comes to mind. There's no arguing that the Buffaslug was a disaster and the "goat head" logo it replaced was not without it's issues, but to simply add a grey outline to the original sword and buffalo logo simply exacerbates the issues with the original logo. The point being, that like all good design, it ultimately comes down to balance. Preserving the equity in the brand while simultaneously allowing it to grow and evolve with the changing world around it. Edit: Oh...and not making the same mistakes over and over again out of some misplaced sense of tradition.
  9. Thaumatrope

    Seattle NHL Brand Discussion

    I'd have to read the quotes again, but the impression I got from the London Knights was that they were open to an "agreement", which suggests that they weren't looking to surrender their claim to the name, but rather allowing Vegas to use it under specific conditions (one if which likely being the exchange of funds). In contrast, I have a hard time seeing the Thunderbirds being able to reatain their identity in the event that the NHL team adopted the same name. Having two teams in the same market, in the same sport, with the same name just seems too confusing. By way if comparison, when the MLS Sounders came into being, the USL Sounders dissolved. If the Thunderbirds identity was to ever be used it would have to be under similar circumstances.
  10. Thaumatrope

    Seattle NHL Brand Discussion

    Agreed. If the team is going to incorporate red, I'd love to see it as part of a scheme like the one above. Alternatively, a double green color scheme could be a very unique and regionally appropriate color scheme (especially if the team opts for a name like Evergreens or Emeralds).
  11. Thaumatrope

    NHL 2018-19

    I was actually thinking about this the other day. As you pointed out, everyone is watching the games in color, so why not embrace color on color matchups? The only challenge I can see is how to schedule each team in order to avoid having to take multiple jerseys on the road. My understanding is we ended up with dark uniforms at home because the vast majority of third jerseys were dark, and teams wanted to wear them at home. It got to the point that it was easier to just have the visiting team wear white as that was the most consistent. Logisticaly the easiest thing to do would be for the traveling team to set their travel color for a particular set of away games, and the home team pick their jersey color accordingly. However, this would require quite a bit of coordination and would have the home team deferring to the visiting team.
  12. Thaumatrope

    NHL 2018-19

    At the risk of annoying the other posters in this thread, I just want to clarify a few points: I don't miss the third jersey designs from 1995, I miss the spirit of experimentation they represent. That's the gist of what I'm trying to get at. Across the board it seems like most teams in the NHL have become very averse to taking risks (I would love it if folks like @andrewharrington could weigh in on this). Instead we are treated to repeated permutations of the same stable of designs. Even when teams try something new they seem to do so very cautiously, opting for wordmarks or adaptations of existing logos or themes. Experimentation is all about iteration. You try something, you don't get the results you were expecting, you modify your experiment, you try again. Failure doesn't mean that something can't or wont work, it just means that it didn't work under the conditions of that particular experiment. I would even go so far as to argue that every major design "failure" that gets mentioned in these conversations (Mooterus, Buffaslug, Robosperm, etc.) contained the potential for a truly great design. For example: the idea of incorporating a constellation into the Dallas Stars identity is brilliant, but the design itself was forced and the incorporation of red was an unnecessary dilution of the brand. The failure was one of execution, not concept, and walking away from it completely is like throwing the baby out with the bath water. I think this is where we part ways ideologically. What does it mean for something to "take"? There are so many factors that can contribute to whether a design is embraced by a community (the performance of the team being a big one) that it's foolish to assume that a design's popularity is in any way a reflection of it's aesthetic merits. I can't speak for other designers, but I'd love nothing more than to slaughter every single sacred cow. History is a crutch. Rather than looking at what could be, everything becomes an exercise in how to reiterate what has already been said and done.
  13. Thaumatrope

    NHL 2018-19

    At the risk of being belligerent, I think you're misrepresenting my original statement (see my previous quote with emphasis added). If memory serves, the 95 jerseys were in large part an experiment on the use of the sublimation process in jersey design, and the design brief actively sought to push the boundaries of what was possible. The fact that only two of the five jerseys saw use beyond that season is pretty telling. However, I would argue (and quite strongly) that the spirit of experimentation that was dominant in the 90s (but continued well into the 2000s), is painfully absent in the league today. There's no denying that experimentation can result in failure. The Buffaslug and Mooterus are both great examples of doomed designs that tried to push things too far...but I'd argue that the world is a richer place for those failures. CBJ's current primaries started off as an alternate jersey and I'd argue that was a fantastic improvement. The Ranger's Lady Liberty jerseys are a great example of how an alternate jersey can allow a historic franchise to expand their brand without risking decades of equity. The point being: the league seems to be so afraid of another Buffaslug that they're willing pass up on the opportunity for another Lady Liberty. Obviously, as a designer I'm biased, and tradition caries a lot less weight for me than it does for a lot of other folks. But experimentation is ultimately a pillar of design, and without it we drift into stagnation and decline.
  14. Thaumatrope

    NHL 2018-19

    I wasn't a fan of white yokes prior to the Adidas jerseys, and I'm really not a fan now. The dimpling really stands out on the white and at a distance makes the white look dingy. Meanwhile, is anyone else disappointed with the crop of alternate/special jerseys that have been released so far? With the exception of Winnipeg and Carolina everything we've seen so far is either a re-release of pre-Adidas alternates (CBJ, Avs, Caps, Flames), a throwback/fauxback (Canes/Whalers, Kachina Coyote, Devils, Blues), or a retread/mashup of a previous design (Ducks, Flyers, Sharks, Islanders). When you consider how the alternate jersey program started back in the heady days of 1995, the current crop seems downright conservative (read: boring). To be clear, I'm not advocating for the return of Burger King and Wild Wing (at least not in an official alternate jersey capacity), but I would have preferred a bit more experimentation than what we've been treated to so far. Even the two (truly) new jerseys feel unpolished in their execution. Back when Carolina released their alternate someone mentioned that it was designed in house. Is Adidas not providing design/branding support? That would certainly explain a lot.
  15. Thaumatrope

    NHL 2018-19

    I don't know if I fully agree with that. Yes, there is no small degree of circle-jerkery taking place on the platforms you've mentioned, but they're also far more connected to the mainstream than they were just a few short years ago. The fact that I've seen Gritty discussed on digg suggests that he's not only transcended the hockey community, but the sports community as a whole.