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Everything posted by andrewharrington

  1. To expand for those curious, a natural fiber like cotton is naturally hydrophilic (absorbs water) but that water doesn’t have anywhere to go because the evaporation rate (drying time) is slower than the absorption rate, thus the cotton becomes soaked and stays wet until the evaporation can catch up (essentially not until you’re done sweating or it stops raining or whatever the case is. As mentioned, though, Cotton can be blended with other fibers and/or treated to become more hydrophobic (repels water). Essentially what happens is the treatment doesn’t allow the cotton to absorb as much water, resulting in a cotton that dries faster. Similarly, a cotton blended with a synthetic contains less cotton and therefore also absorbs less water. Cotton blends are softer than their full synthetic counterparts. Synthetic fibers are naturally hydrophobic and absorb very little water compared to natural fibers, but that’s not ideal either because they don’t naturally absorb the water off the skin and as a result you end up very drippy underneath the fabric. Synthetic fibers are often treated with a hydrophilic coating to help pull the water off the skin, and because they’re naturally hydrophobic, the water tends to sit on the outside of the fiber where the sun and air can evaporate it. Wool is by far the most interesting. As a natural fiber, it’s hydrophilic (even more absorbent than cotton), but because it’s essentially a hair, it’s not hollow and it’s able to hold the extra moisture in the center of the fiber. The outside of the fiber is actually quite hydrophobic (that’s why a wool hat or jacket takes much longer to become soaked, and why sheep and goats are well-adapted to rainy environments). Because the fibers hold water in the center, wool is also very fire resistant. The structure of the fibers combined with the hybrid moisture control give wool unique thermal properties as well. The fibers are crimped so they don’t lay flat against one another. Rather, they create tiny air pockets throughout the fabric. Wool is a good insulator because these air pockets can trap heat very well. Conversely, the air pockets can also keep you cool in warm weather because as you sweat, the wool absorbs the sweat (but because the water is stored in the center, the wool doesn’t feel as wet on your skin as cotton), and the airflow through the pockets is cooled by the moisture in the fibers.
  2. Well, there’s your problem. You keep saying “abandon the button down” when it’s really just making the button down better. Try looking at the glass half full sometimes. I’m going to number this not to be facetious, but to keep it all straight without having to wrestle with formatting. 1. It’s not exaggerating anything. It’s eliminating the problems while keeping the look unchanged. You can’t tell me that Auburn jersey looks noticeably different from one that has an open front. 2. It is a reason, but it’s not a good one because there’s no way to support it other than saying, “It’s always been that way and I like it that way.” Aesthetics come after function in the hierarchy. If you can integrate the function without changing the aesthetics, then great (see Auburn’s jersey). If not, you have a bit of a challenge on your hands, but in that situation, I’d still prioritize the function and find a way to minimize the aesthetic disruption. 3. Buttons, zippers, and laces were a part of other sports’ traditions, too. They wised up when they found a better way. If the appearance of buttons all the way down the shirt is that important, then there’s still room to make them softer, less intrusive, flush to the jersey, more durable, etc. The design of the Auburn jersey still offers players the ability to open the collar or button it up. I’m going to disagree that on-field jerseys should be designed as if they are commercial products, though. Commercial interests driving the on-field product is kinda toxic in my opinion (not to mention counter to the most basic goal of design). A jersey should be designed for its primary use, which is on the field. In my opinion, if it works for a baseball player, it’s probably going to work fine for a fan. If not, then leave the commercial version “fan-friendly” with the open front and functional buttons, but either way, the commercial side should be the one conceding in that situation, not the other way around. 4. I’m unclear what you mean by “unbuttoned jerseys on the field.” If you’re talking about a completely open button down on the field, I’ve never seen it and I don’t think it should be a thing (y’know, traditional aesthetics and all ). If you’re talking about leaving the top few buttons open, you can still do that with a henley. 5. We’re talking sub-professional for sure (anywhere from college to youth), but all professionals start as sub-professionals, so I’d expect a lot of the same feedback going up the ladder. I wouldn’t characterize it as a problem in the sense that it’s putting players in imminent danger, but it’s very clearly an annoyance. I don’t have a tally of how many people I’ve talked to, but this is definitely the thing that pops up most often (I’d estimate roughly half of the people I talk to). It’s easy to dismiss it as “not a problem from where we’re standing,” but I think that proves the point. We’re the ones standing, they’re the ones playing and saying, “This could be better.” 6. It sounds easy, but “a bit of extra time” is more like several hours figuring out where to best split it, measuring it, positioning it, clipping the art, overlapping it, figuring out the best way to instruct someone how to line it up properly, etc. Then, in production, you have to produce and sew two pieces down instead of one, make sure they line up, are positioned correctly, etc. I wouldn’t say it takes twice as long as sewing down a non-split script, but it’s close. In addition to the extra time, there’s more waste because it’s easier to mess up. 7. I’m still not grasping this point. It is most definitely not a huge aesthetic overhaul, as evidenced by the Auburn jersey above. 8. I’m hoping this is just worded funny and you mean arrogance on the part of the sportswear industry, not arrogance on my part. At any rate, if there’s a tangible benefit (especially with little to no aesthetic disruption), I don’t see it as a change for its own sake. It is, in the most literal sense, a change for the sake of making a baseball jersey that’s better suited for the players who wear it. We were fine with cars for ages before rear view cameras, lane assist technology, and adaptive cruise control, but all those things (while technically not “necessary”) make the practical experience of driving a car better. This is no different. Just some food for thought...
  3. Here’s a good example: imagine this, but ideally without the lower (non-functional) buttons. Same look, better function.
  4. The Mets’ look there isn’t quite what I’m describing. That’s more like a traditional crew-style henley, where I’m talking more just stopping the standard placket above the lettering. A henley placket with full-length piping would look exactly the same as a button front with full-length piping while eliminating all the unnecessary negatives that come with buttons and a split front. I’ve yet to hear a *good* reason for the persistence of buttons and/or a split front. I think the fact that lots of players have them sewn shut speaks for itself. It’s an antifunctional relic, and one that could easily be remedied with no aesthetic sacrifice (I’d even argue the jerseys would look better). I’m not sure where one would find “data” on that. All I can offer is practical evidence (other than that of MLB players having their plackets sewn shut). I talk to a lot of athletes. No one has ever told me they prefer wearing a button front jersey, but several have told me that they love not having buttons on the front because it hurts when they slide or dive (mainly baserunners and infielders). Two people told me they broke fingers on their throwing hand because they got caught in the placket, and equipment managers often tell me it’s an annoyance to repair buttons every day. From a production standpoint, individual letters aren’t too bad, other than the fact that you often have to purposefully set the wordmark off-center and/or flub the kerning due to the split. Scripts are actually quite a bit more work to adapt to a split-front in both design and production. To me, it still comes down to a common sense solution that makes the product better without changing the traditional look.
  5. They completely trampled on the traditional aesthetics of the sport once already (twice if you want to count the colored top/every team needs at least four jerseys/take advantage of every summer holiday revolution that’s been happening for the past 20+ years). This would pale in comparison to either of those things. The henley placket is very much a traditional baseball look I definitely didn’t imply that front piping should go away, either. You can can still have placket trim on a henley, either stopping it at the end of the placket or continuing it all the way down the front if you please (still kinda faux, but at least the unnecessary flap and buttons are gone). Collar trim like what the Giants wear would remain completely unchanged. Aren’t comfort and the elimination of unnecessary aesthetic compromises both objective improvements, no to mention how much easier it would be to apply the lettering?
  6. Isn’t metallic gold a common motif for pretty much every 50th anniversary?
  7. Orange looks great with both of those colors. I’d love to see eggplant and jade as co-dark colors with orange and white as the contrasts.
  8. If anything “radical” happens on a league-wide scale, I hope it’s the elimination of full button fronts in favor of the henley placket. There’s no logical defense for button fronts in 2020 with the textiles available today. Many players already have their plackets sewn shut, effectively converting the jersey into a pullover. I definitely don’t want to see 70s patterned v-necks and monster sleeve bands, but I think the short henley placket is a good evolution from full button fronts. Jerseys swallowing up ground balls and front lettering that has to be compromised because of the split? I’d be glad to see those become a thing of the past.
  9. It was set on a concentric arc to the “Oklahoma” lettering. It’s tough to tell because the word is so short, but you can definitely see the letters are rotated at different angles relative to one another.
  10. I think somewhere in between the old size and the current would be nice. Rather than add an additional gold outline for a white background, though, I think simply changing the white outline to gold would be best on white (similar to how the fleur itself gets changed from black to gold for a black background).
  11. I tried to pick two photos with the players roughly the same height, but I didn’t anticipate the auto shrinking of the landscape photo. I still don’t think outlines are the best answer, though. I can understand wanting a black edge on the mark, but at that point, why not just use a solid black fleur on gold? You get the same impact without the fuzziness at a distance (especially if they continue with the lighter gold). If you really need white in the fleur, I think using it to build dimension and form is a better move than simply outlining the shape. Heck, I’d rather see a white fleur with a heavy black outline than a black fleur with a double outline.
  12. Referees don’t use names (they use numbers), so that’s negligible. It’s likely an efficiency thing. No one needs to be spending time setting letters on an arc for summer league. The reason you typically only see this in basketball (or on baseball vests) is because there’s less area in the upper back on a tank or vest, whereas sleeved jerseys have a fuller back/shoulder area to apply a name. The most room on a tank or vest is around the waist, and it’s conducive to straight names, which are easier to set.
  13. Russia used square constructivist-style numbers for the World Cup of Hockey, and the Czechs had numbers with square tops and round bottoms (to mimic their crest):
  14. I can tell how this is going to go, so unless it becomes more productive, I’m going to exit this debate after I respond. 1. The Giants are not relevant to what we’re talking about. There’s no false equivalency to be made there. I only used the Giants as an example of a heritage football brand that’s understandably resistant to build a more contemporary identity. If you’re curious, I do like their look, but I think it could be better. 2. The Saints’ logo has three outlines. The only time it has fewer is on a black background. Personally, I don’t agree they make it noticeable or recognizable. Here’s a good example: The old logo is indisputably clearer and better defined from a distance (despite the photo itself being much less focused). There’s a reason outlines aren’t used as often in non-sports identities; most of the time, they’re just a crutch rather than a functional solution to the problem. 3. We’re just going to have to agree to disagree on gold. To me, the new one looks washed out, dingy (especially under the Superdome lights), and most definitely not shiny or realistic. The flat screen print equivalent is equally unappealing, or at least it was back when I worked on NFL stuff. 4. No other team uses gold numbers on their white jersey. That’s essentially the definition of recognizable. Maybe you meant to say readable? In that case, the heavier trim and the darker gold is what made it work. Either way, it was much more unique and it worked fine from a functional standpoint. 5. Why does it matter? It’s design. Coordination amongst the elements is everything. Of course, that does *not* mean everything has to match, but it helps when certain elements coordinate with others. The uniform had balance and flow when the pant stripe complemented the helmet stripe. The current gold pants make it look like they couldn’t afford the ones with the matching stripe. 6. Old gold is simply better in every way with no exceptions. You will never change my mind on this. 7. If it was done well, I would not think it was gimmicky. It doesn’t need a lot, but it needs something. Lastly, I’m not complaining. The Saints are the epitome of “just fine” and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. This is the first time I’ve ever written a critique on the Saints, and it’s because you specifically asked for debate. However, it doesn’t really sound like you want debate; you come across like you just want people to agree with you, for what it’s worth.
  15. The problem with the Saints’ look is that it’s so extraordinarily mediocre in every way. They have decent bones, but one little detail can and does flatten out every part. You say it’s clean, but I find it clunky, messy, and undercooked. They have a truly great logo. It’s an absolute, near perfect icon in concept, and it used to look fantastic as a single color or single outline graphic. Now they insist on adding several outlines to clutter it up. That’s not clean. They used to wear a beautiful old gold color. Now they insist on muting it and taking away all the richness. They used to celebrate gold all over the place (pants, helmet, numbers, stripes). Now they insist on black pants, black numbers, no stripes, etc. Black is certainly one of their main colors, but in my opinion, their identity was much more unique (and, well, saintly) when there was a greater focus on gold and white. They used to have a nice pant stripe that coordinated well with the helmet stripe. Now they insist on a solid black stripe that doesn’t really coordinate with anything (or no stripes at all in the case of the black pants). That big honkin’ collar is the least clean thing I’ve ever seen. Same with the unnecessary, redundant logos on the sleeves and pants. This isn’t NASCAR. The real travesty, though, is that the Saints’ look has very little character or personality. It’s a stock catalog look (heck, it’s even plain by catalog standards) on a team that has so much interesting inspiration at their fingertips. As a team representing a city with such a rich, unique history, they’ve missed a huge opportunity to bring in details of the French architecture, the food, the music, etc. It would be one thing if they felt like an untouchable heritage brand the same way the Packers, Bears, Colts, or Giants do, but they’ve never felt that way to me, and I think they really need to reinvent their look in a tastefully distinctive way. All it would take is some experimentation with color and (possibly) stripes, and just a little custom decoration in the same vein as what the Pelicans (and before that, the Hornets) employ.
  16. I’d assume they would switch the logo, but I honestly don’t know what their plans are. I’m not sure it matters, though. There are several teams across sports who have had a primary logo they didn’t prefer to use. For a hockey team, whatever is on the front of the jersey usually becomes the de facto primary (unless you’re the Rangers).
  17. For what it’s worth, every single time a team briefs a project (in any sport), some variation of “inspired by the past/built for the future” is in the brief somewhere. It’s a natural byproduct of internet comments becoming a primary means of critiquing design, and it’s resulted in a “follow the formula or risk stoking the ire of Twitter” mindset throughout the industry. No one wants to take a risk when there’s so many dollars and reputation points on the line.
  18. Well, anything red, white, and blue is “inspired” by the U.S. flag. What makes something blue and bronze *more* inspired than something red, white, and blue? Isn’t it equally inspired, just by a more obscure piece of federal imagery? The very first identity I drew up when we worked on that project had a tile wordmark. What a shame no one thought that was a good idea back then. Sports design is full of missed opportunities.
  19. It’s notoriously difficult to protect the design of plain letterforms and typefaces. They’d have to show the court that their F is so unique or so associated with the school that the end result would inevitably cause confusion, and both color and proximity factor into that. UF would have a good proximity argument, but I think they’d lose on color, because FT would argue that there’s no way in heck anyone would ever mistake a garnet-colored logo as belonging to UF.
  20. I associate it with Wilson, but it’s entirely possible that it was originally Russell’s. I’m sure there was a lot of borrowing, possibly also some teams that simply insisted on using the same numerals after a manufacturer change (much the same way we have Nike branded Colts and 49ers jerseys, currently on-field, using Wilson block numbers), and of course, even though manufacturers typically employed a stock block style, they also used other typefaces. Maybe it was era-specific, or maybe it was even some dude at the Broncos who didn’t like the weird 6 and 9, and Wilson made a unique variation for them. I think it would be really interesting to talk to someone who used to work at one of the big players in a previous generation of uniform manufacture.
  21. Whether they have serifs or not (and regardless of anyone’s personal opinion on the vibe that is projected by the presence or absence of serifs), it still comes down to the form, proportion, and cohesion with the other numbers in the set. Naturally, I have a short list of critiques, but overall, I think the Yankees do pretty well here: The arm of the 3 is a little short, creating too much negative area in the number. The 4 feels a tiny bit too heavy, and the elbow is maybe a touch too stubby. Lastly, I’ve never liked the chamfered inside corner on the ends of the 6 and 9. Despite this being the easiest (sometimes only) way to identify Wilson’s block number set from other manufacturers’ sets, it’s always stood out as very strange and clunky since the other numbers all have square inside corners on pieces like that. On these, I would say the same thing about the arm of the 3 and elbow of the 4. I would also point out that the flat bottom of the 2 makes it look too wide, and the slant of the 7 is a little extreme, making it also look quite wide in comparison to the others. The overall aesthetic of these, though, is just not something I’m into, at least not the way it’s employed in MLB. Removing the serifs can add a clean, elegant quality to a number set, but I think that elegance is lost again when all the corners are double chamfered, like you’re taking away one pocket from the formal shirt but adding two more somewhere else. They look very “local screen print shop” to me. That’s not inherently bad if a couple teams are using that look to support the vibe of the brand they’ve built, but it feels a little cheap when so many teams do it.
  22. Pant stripes, though great looking, would not be accurate for the championship era:
  23. Actually, yes, this is an important clarification. I should have said they didn’t screw up the basic design of it (because they knew what would have happened if they did), but they did indeed screw it up with all the little adjustments, every one of which made the helmet worse, with the possible exception being the thicker stripe. I don’t hate the brown mask (I preferred grey paired with the traditional look) but the red-orange, the matte finish, and the carbon fiber texture are not welcome.
  24. Source? The one thing they didn’t screw up in the redesign was the helmet, and everyone involved very clearly acknowledged that the helmet will never change when talking about the redesign in the media. There’s absolutely no way they will have a white helmet next year. I’ll Venmo you money for a beer if I’m wrong.