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May 17, 2014

Saturday: Humble Beginnings and Cautionary Tales

We all start somewhere. Here at HJC, we critique each other's work. We grade our creativity and execution, we improve, and we do it again. The point is that we help each other improve our skills. We aren't paid for this. We do it because we are passionate about it, and enjoy our work.

I began submitting concepts to HJC in Spring of 2012. My first concept was for the Nashville Predators, my favorite team, using the Milwaukee Admirals color scheme and heavy reliance on the Paint.net tutorial from the HJC's Tutorials Page. It was a sloppy, primarily fill-tool concept that is embarrassing to look at now. My next few concepts weren't much better, but over time I paid attention to Ryan's assessments and improved my work. I'm not the most naturally-gifted designer, and I don't have Photoshop, but I'm miles ahead of where I was just a little over two years ago, and peer-critque from HJC and hard work are the reasons for that. Many of the concepts today are from artists who are still improving. They may not have very high grades on our 10-point scale, but with work, they could be some of the better designers here before you know it. Today's post even offers a cautionary tale, an example of what happens when you stop listening to others; when you stop improving.

Here are the last of the Jokerit Competition entries:

Andy B.


Brian C.


Kevin P.


Stuart R.



Let's move on to today's concepts:

Dallas Stars Concept - Coby S.


What I like: I'm a fan of Dallas' current color scheme and striping (even if it is similar to the Rangers home jersey) so I'm glad Coby left that mostly untouched. The beveling in the star is interesting.

What I dislike: The logo is too small, and in my opinion, inferior to their current logo. The sleeve numbers should be on the sleeves. Also, they are too small and upside-down. The name and numbers on teh back are off-center. There are some loose pixels around the back collar and some places where the stitching is missing. You also need to add some identification to your concepts, otherwise it would be very easy for someone to steal your work. A gray background would help with presentation. As is, it's hard to see some of the details of the jersey with the white background.

Overall: Keep working. Everyone needs to improve. (5/10)


Minnesota Wild Concept - Coby S.

What I like: Sleeve numbers are done correctly here.

What I dislike: The Wild's bear-head logo is too good to not use, even as a shoulder patch. I much prefer it to the baseball-esque wordmark, although the wordmark isn't bad. Take out the vintage white from the logo, as it doesn't appear anywhere else on the jersey. I prefer the way Minnesota's away jersey uses red numbers with green outline. The name and numbers are off center.

Overall: Better than Coby's first concept today, but not an improvement over the Wild's new away jersey (which I think looks brilliant) (5.3/10)


Cobalt Silver Kings NHA concept - Stephen T.


What I like:  I like the idea of doing an NHA series. I just wish this had something to do with the team he, in name, is making a concept for.

What I dislike: This design has nothing to do with the Cobalt Silver Kings, except for the logo. Nothing. This is just a couple recolored Pittsburgh Penguins Winter Classic jerseys with a Cobalt logo. It's not like Cobalt didn't have interesting jerseys to draw inspiration from. What were you expecting? Something new from Stephen T? Preposterous. My expectations for his concepts have hit rock bottom, but rock bottom continues to find a new basement with him. I'm beginning to find it difficult to even review his work, because it continues to fall on deaf ears. The NHL shield needs to be taken off. It's not an NHL concept. Isn't that the whole point of your series, Stephen?! The letters and number are off-center on the back. Stephen didn't even bother to color in the back of the sleeve dark blue on the light jersey. If the Silver Kings really did come back, they would wear helmet logos, because that's a thing that all teams do! Stephen, if you don't want to take the time to double-check your work and come up with something creative, why bother taking the time to send this in? Also, there's no need to show us the same pair of pants/gloves twice. I think everyone here pretty well understands that teams only use one set of pants of the same color.

Overall: No creativity, no passion, no effort. I'm not even going to bother rating this. (N/A)


Renfrew Creamery Kings NHA concept - Stephen T.


What I like: See above.

What I dislike: Once again, Stephen takes no inspiration from Renfrew's original jerseys when making this concept. I would have liked to see a different logo used here, too. I know the Creamery Kings used this, but it just looks like a pile of sticks. It hardly even looks like an 'R'. If that wasn't possible, then you almost have to use a light-colored chest stripe to make the logo readable. As is, you wouldn't be able to make it out from the stands during a game. I think a black helmet would work better for the red jersey. Speaking of helmets, did you know that every professional hockey team puts logos on them? You should, too. What I said about the pants/gloves above applies here as well. I would have to work to find a name/number font that matched the logo worse than the old Captials font matches the Renfrew logo. Also, neither of the jerseys he submitted in today's post have any secondary logos of any kind. Do you know who does that in the NHL? No one. Literally no one. When I make a concept, it takes me all of 3-5 minutes to put shoulder patches on a concept. No excuse for it.

Overall: Less effort than a Sergei Kostitsyn backcheck. (N/A)

If Stephen was a beginner that would be one thing, but he's been submitting work for years now; as long as I can remember. It's time to step up the quality of your work, Stephen. There's no excuse for these design-recycling shortcuts and execution errors. If you're not going to take anyone's critique seriously, then this whole exercise is just elementary show-and-tell, and if that's all this is to you, then WHAT IS THE POINT? To our newer designers, this is a cautionary tale. If you stop putting in the effort to improve, your work ends up like what we've been seeing from Stephen from the past few months.


Dallas Stars concept - Jared L.


What I like: The colors look great together. this is a jersey that could work well for a high school or minor team.

What I dislike: It's too amateur for the NHL. The logo isn't very professional, and it would need sleeve numbers and an NHL shield to pass muster in the NHL. I recommend using programs like Paint.net and Adobe Photoshop to create concepts instead of a template generator off a website. I would tell you to put ID on your concepts so no one can steal your work, but because you used a website's jersey customization tool to make this, I'm not sure you could claim this as your own.

Overall: Build your skills on Paint.net (which is free) or Photoshop. We have tutorials that will help you improve. (4/10)


Detroit Red Wings concept - Jared L.


What I like: See above.

What I dislike: Again, see above. This is very similar to the previous concept. A different design would have been welcome.

Overall: Build your skills with graphic programs. Jersey builders like this won't yield professional or creative results. (4/10)


Los Angeles Kings alternate jersey concepts - BPoe96


What I like: I prefer the Kings in purple. Purple just makes too much sense for a team named the Kings to not use it. 

What I dislike: These were sent in separately, but because they are essentially the same design in 3 colors, there is no point in reviewing them individually. Recoloring a jersey doesn't make it a new concept. Each design (or color) has it's problems. Purple: the name is unreadable; sleeve numbers are a lighter shade of gray than the logo/back number. Black: sleeve number color doesn't match here, either; you also left the inside of the jersey around the collar white. Gray: gray/black/purple fight for color dominance here; needs balance. Stitching overlaps striping on all jerseys.

Overall: The purple one is the best of the three. (6/10)


Columbus Blue Jackets concept - Ryan (HJC)


What I like: Ryan doesn't post as often as he used to, so it's always good to see some concept art from him. I like the striping pattern. Ryan makes the hem stripes meticulously follow the curve of the jersey. That's good detail. The number/name font works very well. I detest the font on their home/road, so I'm glad to not see it here. Ryan puts logos on the pants and helmet. Please take note of that. Execution and presentation are flawless.

What I dislike: The effort to bring back the old Columbus logo is valiant (because the original is bad), but comes up short for me. It needs some red in it. It just looks odd in only white on blue. I think making the outline red would improve it. Taking the most of the stars off and the "electric yellow" has helped clean it up, though.

Overall: Good, well executed jersey design; just not sold on the logo. (8.5/10)


Did you see anything that you think deserves Concept of the Week nomination? Get to the comments section! Do you have a differing opinion on some of the concepts featured today? Keep your mouth shut Let your voice be heard! I'm off camping, but I'll respond when I get back. Be sure to vote for COTW and our Jokerit Competition next week. If you don't, your team may become suddenly interested in John Tortorella, and nobody wants that. See you all back here next week!

5 comments:

TG said...

On one of Stephen T.'s concepts you said that Every NHL team has secondary logos. In fact, almost half of all NHL teams don't use shoulder patches on their home or away jerseys, and some of them, (Canadiens, Devils, Red Wings, etc.) don't have any secondary logos of any kind.

Caz said...

I was including helmets/pants in that as well.

Steve Maurer said...

Last week I defended Stephen, but not any more. Quantity over quality works every time. It's not worth sending in if it's been done before, at least for me.

I'll go with Ryan's Blue Jackets concept for COTW.

jared lammi said...

I can't get paint.net ... ;( what am I going to do now?

Caz said...

Jared, Paint.net is a free program. If for some reason you can't use that, there's Microsoft Paint, it's not as good as Paint.net but you can get a lot more creative than you can with a website's jersey builder that relies on their templates.