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Hamilton Tigers


the admiral

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Nothing remotely groundbreaking here. I've seen a bunch of H-Tigers logo concepts that don't make much of an attempt to clean up the Arial in the crossbar, so I went ahead and did that.

 

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Team colors are bright orange, lemon yellow, and midnight blue, a little greyer and greener than standard-issue navy blue, I think. I've always liked orange and yellow together, and I think the blue sets them off well. For Hamilton, there's not a great deal of Local Flavor to mine while staying true to a Tigers theme, but safety orange and yellow sort of conjure up ports and shipping, in a way. Archer's the font because slab-serifs make for good neo-retro and the S's look like they have li'l tails on 'em. The orange border is white on orange backgrounds.

 

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Scripts go on the helmets. I always thought it was silly to stick the primary on the helmet in such a small application when you can use that real estate to better incorporate the script into the identity. "Hamilton" appears with "Tigers" in the wordmark as often as possible for obvious Ti-Cats and Detroit-related issues. I particularly like the blue-background version with orange and yellow alternating letters. Reminds me of candy corn. I'm the only guy in the world who likes candy corn.

 

 

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Numbers are slightly modified varsity serif; if 2 and 5 weren't already flips of each other, I made them that way. I'm confident in lemon yellow jumping off orange more than athletic gold. Sleeve numbers being smaller, I thought it was best to go navy-yellow-orange on white just to bump up the legibility a bit.

 

The lettering is more complex: highly modified condensed block, doing pretty much the same thing I did with an old Washington Nationals concept of mine, which was really high crossbars and other little quirks. I wanted it to be as idiosyncratic and contrived as possible without being unreadable. J, K, and Y in particular are based off my own broken penmanship, where my uppercase Y has always looked more like a giant lowercase cursive Y. I like that the K is all 45- and 90-degree angles, like some sign shop has been doing it this way forever and kept at it. The lowercase letters in names like "MacKaye" are elevated and underlined because I thought it looked cool. I broke another rule of mine with the letters, which is that triple-layer numbers can have triple-layer or single-layer NOBs, but never double. (Another rule is that the NOB can never have more layers than the number. I'll never break that.) With this highly stylized lettering, three layers was getting to be a bit much, but single-layer navy blue on white looked too close to Philadelphia, so I figured I'd get the orange in there and embrace the design flaw. Overall, I'm pursuing a theme of doing things you're not supposed to do, all the way down to putting an NHL team in Toronto's backyard in the first place.

 

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I went with barberpole as so many Tigers concepts do, but chose to shore up the orange/blue side of the NHL rather than the black/yellow. Tigers are orange, after all, and it separates them from the CFL Ti-Cats. With the Islanders being royal-white-orange and the Oilers being royal-orange-white, the Tigers in orange-navy-yellow wouldn't be redundant the way a black/yellow team would be with the Bruins and Penguins. Home and away aren't exact palette swaps of each other: another rule of mine I broke.

 

The other catch is that I designed this with a white-at-home league in mind -- no more a pipe dream than the NHL in Hamilton. However, the Tigers would dance the same dance as the Ontario Hockey League by switching from white at home to orange at home halfway through the schedule so that the home fans can see the barberpoles in all their gaudy glory. That means roughly 75% of their games would be played in the stripes, making it kind of a special treat to see them in white, not unlike the Dallas Cowboys in darks.

In terms of miscellaneous branding, I suppose the goal horn would have to be of the ship's-horn variety as opposed to train, what with the harbor and all. Goal song "Eye of the Tiger"? Too on the nose? I fear so. Overall, I think the idea here is to cultivate sort of a Different Team For Different People vibe, as you'd have to make a pretty conscious choice to follow the old-timey-but-loud upstart Tigers over the timeless-but-austere establishment Maple Leafs.

I'm sorry for borrowing Blue Jackets names and for using an ancient template. I hate Edge ducktails and such a concept wouldn't work with barberpole anyway.

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Really? I tried to make it simpler than the old Tigers sweaters, which had much more striping:

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Maybe the yokes and cuffs are overdoing it, but I really like the way the shoulders look on Michigan hockey (which yeah, I took cues from, but no more than the original Tigers logo). As long as the design is functional, I think there should be a team or two with out-there design like this, especially in contrast with Toronto. Of course, I can't exactly mock it up in real life.

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