JoeDGemma

Tiny Wordmarks on College Hoops Unis

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I tweeted about this earlier but figured I'd bring the discussion here, has anyone else noticed over the last decade or so the wordmarks on many college basketball uniforms getting smaller and smaller while the numbers get larger and larger? You end up with this weird hierarchy where the uniforms just look so unbalanced. Here's a few examples of what I'm talking about.

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You rarely see this issue in the NBA and I think it has to do with most of these wordmarks being made for applications other than basketball unis and then being forced onto them as opposed to NBA teams who build their wordmarks with uniform application in mind. Maybe I'm crazy but this trend has been driving me nuts. You have so much real estate on the uniform and you choose the most important element to be the jersey number?

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Yeah, you're right. It's a case of the wordmark not being basketball specific. When these jerseys are designed, the wordmark is typically designated to be 2", 2.5", or 3" inches tall. So if your wordmark is too wide when it's three inches tall, it gets bumped down a half inch in height. These longer wordmarks end up getting tiny in order to fit on the front of the jerseys.

 

Makes sense to me that the width should be the set value, so the height can vary. But what do I know, I've only been ordering basketball uniforms for college teams for eight years.

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The easiest solution, to me, is to go vertically arched with a more condensed font and get as close to the armholes as possible, but these problems arise at colleges with long names.

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(Ignore adidas' abomination of shorts)

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Those uniforms actually simulate the stupid undershirts that the football players wear that create the cummerbund effect.  Who thinks that's a good look?

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12 hours ago, BBTV said:

Those uniforms actually simulate the stupid undershirts that the football players wear that create the cummerbund effect.  Who thinks that's a good look?

 

The football player thing kind of makes sense in that it creates an enticing material for defensive backs to grab to cultivate pass interference calls.  In basketball it looks like they've got thick sashes around their torsos, but in the poorest executed way possible.

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18 hours ago, JoeDGemma said:

I tweeted about this earlier but figured I'd bring the discussion here, has anyone else noticed over the last decade or so the wordmarks on many college basketball uniforms getting smaller and smaller while the numbers get larger and larger? You end up with this weird hierarchy where the uniforms just look so unbalanced. Here's a few examples of what I'm talking about.

spacer.png

You rarely see this issue in the NBA and I think it has to do with most of these wordmarks being made for applications other than basketball unis and then being forced onto them as opposed to NBA teams who build their wordmarks with uniform application in mind. Maybe I'm crazy but this trend has been driving me nuts. You have so much real estate on the uniform and you choose the most important element to be the jersey number?

Yes? Isn't it?

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I don't remember this being a problem until the mid to late oughts when Nike outfitted teams in the tournament in those jerseys that were almost universally devoid of any extra flourishes or designs, but were supposed to be worn super tight to the body, but because it was 2007 the shorts were still enormous

 

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the size and font choice for the wordmarks of those uniforms at the time were irksome, almost like they were designed to be understated and dull and void of any characteristics that'd tie it in with the school.

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On 2/15/2021 at 12:40 PM, DG_ThenNowForever said:

Did someone say something about the mid-2000s and baggy shorts?

 

5ecf2a5ecabb9.image.jpg?resize=400,707

 

If I'd had a drink in my mouth, I'd have done a spit take. These are hilarious.

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You should check out the word mark on the jerseys of Southwest Baptist University Bearcats women's basketball team from Bolivar, Missouri, NCAA d-2 school.

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On 2/17/2021 at 6:17 PM, 1991 said:

You should check out the word mark on the jerseys of Southwest Baptist University Bearcats women's basketball team from Bolivar, Missouri, NCAA d-2 school.

Team Photo

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On 2/14/2021 at 3:47 PM, JoeDGemma said:

You have so much real estate on the uniform and you choose the most important element to be the jersey number?

 

The most defining feature of a basketball uniform is a unique number. By rule, it needs to be instantly legible so a player can be identified. Any other markings on a uniform are not important as long as one team contrasts with the other.

 

If you remove a number's outline (if it has one) and there's not enough contrast to see it against the main color of the jersey, it's illegal, regardless of what the NBA wants to create.

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On 2/15/2021 at 12:40 PM, DG_ThenNowForever said:

Did someone say something about the mid-2000s and baggy shorts?

 

5ecf2a5ecabb9.image.jpg?resize=400,707

 

 

I read the story about this specific game - the player's own shorts (which were long, but not THAT long) were blood-stained, and this was the only available pair he could wear. They look like they are for someone a foot taller than him.

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On a semi-related note, I've noticed a similar phenomenon in college softball 59f75ed1bdd7c.image.jpg?resize=750,956

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Not as common as it seems to be in basketball but hardly a rarity.  As far as I've noticed, button-up jerseys don't get paired with too small wordmarks/scripts too often, if at all.

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I wonder when/why softball developed its own unique aesthetic as opposed to being more similar to baseball.

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On 2/15/2021 at 11:40 AM, DG_ThenNowForever said:

Did someone say something about the mid-2000s and baggy shorts?

 

5ecf2a5ecabb9.image.jpg?resize=400,707

 

At this point he's just wearing pants,

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3 hours ago, Discrim said:

On a semi-related note, I've noticed a similar phenomenon in college softball

[PICS]

 

Not as common as it seems to be in basketball but hardly a rarity.  As far as I've noticed, button-up jerseys don't get paired with too small wordmarks/scripts too often, if at all.

 

It's the same thing: not enough real estate on a jersey for a long wordmark. You're more likely to see it in softball because the wordmark is the same for each jersey size. If the wordmark is too big for an extra small women's jersey, then it's going to get downsized.

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On 2/14/2021 at 7:07 PM, BBTV said:

Those uniforms actually simulate the stupid undershirts that the football players wear that create the cummerbund effect.  Who thinks that's a good look?

 

The 18-22 year olds wearing them

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Minor league baseball is not immune to the "annoyingly tiny uniform front design," either. I don't know if it's something specific to these chintzy-looking Russell jerseys or not.

HotRods.0.jpg5949de2ac55c4.image.jpg?resize=1200,819

"Hot Rods" is not even that long of a name that space should be an issue.

In contrast, here are the River Bandits and Avalanche back in the day, taking plenty of real estate even with longish team names:

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On 2/19/2021 at 8:31 PM, slapshot said:

 

The most defining feature of a basketball uniform is a unique number. By rule, it needs to be instantly legible so a player can be identified. Any other markings on a uniform are not important as long as one team contrasts with the other.

 

If you remove a number's outline (if it has one) and there's not enough contrast to see it against the main color of the jersey, it's illegal, regardless of what the NBA wants to create.

I understand the functionality of uniform numbers, but it doesn't have to be one or the other.  There's plenty of examples of basketball uniforms that balance a strong wordmark with a legible number font. My point is there is a trend in college basketball specifically where for some reason we are shrinking team names down to near illegibility for seemingly no reason. UNC is a great example. A decade ago, they had a uniform that was legible, functional, and visually balanced. Now, the lettering feels overpowered by the number, though they aren't the worst offender of course. 

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