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January 4, 2015

Sunday: In with the New

Hello HJC readers! It's the start of a new year here at HJC. Today marks the first official 2015 post for the blog, as January 1-3 featured concepts that were still grouped together with the December artwork. Soon, we will pick who will win the much-coveted Concept of the Year trophy for 2014! From here on out, all entries are in competition for COTY 2015.

Today's post features some fresh designs. We have a concept for a Las Vegas Expansion franchise, a hockey jersey using lime green, a redesign of the still-new Winnipeg Jets, a Buffalo Sabres alternate that hopes to right the wrongs of the nastiness they currently wear, and much more!

Before I get to the concepts, I have a topic I want to propose to our readers: How do you feel about the Winter Classic? (rant ahead)

Personally, I'm conflicted. It gives us jersey nerds something to discuss, conceptualize, and refine during the year, but the game itself does't resonate deeply with me. My failure to connect on an deeper emotional level to the game than I do any other NHL game could be because I never grew playing hockey, watching hockey, or even skating. There's no well of nostalgia to draw upon. That could be the whole appeal of the game, and if so, It'll never mean as much to me as it will others. 

Beyond that, I just want to see some new teams in the game. I was happy that Barry Trotz finally got some national media exposure. Trotz is an even greater man than he is a coach. He deserves more recognition than what he gets. However, the ratings for this year's Winter Classic were at an all-time low. That doesn't mean the bottom has fallen out, and the game needs to be abandoned, but it could be the start of a trend of diminishing returns for the league. What the game needs is some new teams. Yes, teams like Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Washington, and Philadelphia have star-power and large fanbases to draw ratings from, but the league can't keep rotating these same teams in the game and expect to draw the same buzz. 

I would love to see Nashville in a Winter Classic contest with St. Louis, but I know it's not likely to happen. There are a lot of other teams who are deserving to be in an event game, that aren't getting the chance. If the league really wants to grow it's fanbases, why not get these teams some national exposure by putting them in a nationally televised event game? (if not the Winter Classic, then a Stadium Series match, or Heritage Classic game for the Canadian teams)

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!


Also, don't forget that our World Cup of Hockey logo contest is ongoing! You have until Friday, January 9th to get your entries in!

Check out these sweet, sweet reminders

COTW Dec 28-Jan 3 vote (ends Friday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
World Cup logo entries (due Friday @ 11:59pm Eastern)

This week's gif reward for voting is brought to you by American collegiate sports! Okay, it's more of a combination of two sports gifs, in Vine form. Just watch it.

Las Vegas "Black Knights" Concept - Grant G.

Positives: I think something on the darker, or edgier side would work for a Las Vegas team. 

Negatives: There's a lot of empty white space at the bottom of the image file. That's not me leaving an unusual amount of space. The logo is too large, and needs a thicker white outline to make it stand out better. I don't think the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign works as a shoulder patch. The striping is mostly just fill-tool work. Using black/silver/white is LA's thing. 

Overall: If this was an ECHL team, I wouldn't bat an eye, but this concept doesn't seem to have an NHL-level feel. If that makes sense. (6.5/10)


Nashville Predators Concept - Mario A.



Positives: Mario is trending in the right direction as an artist, which is all you can ask for, really. Issues of pixelation and overall quality are getting better. More originality is helping.

Negatives: No one wants that old Preds logo back. I love them, but that logo is horrific. The shade of gold here looks sickly, and leave silver to the Sabres. On the white jersey, one sleeve reads "66" and the other reads "69" because the 6's were inverted. The name is too close to the yoke, and spaced too far away from the numbers. There are loose pixels around the logo, and pixels that were never colored-in around the collars. Black is used on the collars and collar inserts for some reason. You want to avoid using colors that aren't used anywhere else on the jersey.

Overall: Trending up, but more miles left to cover. (6/10)


Seattle Sounders (MLS) Concept - Daniel L.


Positives: Should Seattle ever be granted an NHL team, I believe that the expansion franchise should look to the Sounders for inspiration. I don't know a great deal about soccer, MLS, their jerseys, etc. but I believe that this set is what Daniel used for inspiration. 

Negatives: The black jersey needs more blue, and the gradient effect featured on the black jersey (see link above) has been lost in translation. Executing an effect like that is difficult, though. This set needs a dark jersey, though. The green jersey doesn't work as a light sweater; just not enough contrast. Daniel misspelled "HOCKEY" twice here. Heavy pixelation makes the details difficult to discern.

Overall: Some tweaks are necessary for a natural translation. A light jersey chief among them. (6/10)


Buffalo Sabres Concept - Alexander D.


Positives: If you had told me the premise of the logo design here, combining these two logos, I wouldn't have thought that would work on any level, but I am surprised it doesn't look terrible. I respect Alexander trying to create a more organic striping pattern.

Negatives: The name font is just a standard serif font, which may look okay for the text you're reading now, but doesn't work for athletic wear in general. The logo is far too large. There are some irregularities in the striping pattern. Organic designs need to feel fluid. The red stripe definitely interrupts the flow. The background is too busy. If you're going to use a logo as a background, you need to make it more opaque. 

Overall: Organic shapes agree with the logo used, but needs more refinement. (6.75/10)


Quebec Nordiques Concept - Griffin B.


Positives: There's not much to this set, but what is there isn't done poorly.

Negatives: Nothing about this really says "Quebec" or the "Nordiques" in a way that is overt enough for anything more than a dedicated fan of hockey to recognize. The Fleur-de-lis is not a Nordiques logo, it's a decorative flower symbol used for a lot of things. It's not automatically identified with the team. That's part of the reason why the Nordiques never used one as a primary logo. There aren't any sleeve numbers. On a Nike jersey, the name is placed in the yoke. This could use some hem striping, or anything to liven it up.

Overall: Sins of omission. There just isn't much here. (5.5/10)


Philadelphia Flyers Concept - Tyler F.


Positives: Execution on the design itself isn't bad. It's fairly clean. Designs like this are always going to be appealing. They look good, but they're also very safe. Not a ground-breaker. No contrasting namebar! (full disclosure: I liked that design element a lot when the Flyers debuted it, but now it's gotten old on me and feels pointless)

Negatives: The black used on the logo is a different shade from the rest of the jersey. There are some loose pixels around the logo outlines. The jersey reminds me of a conglomeration of the Rangers and Bruins, something I'd be willing to bet Philly would like to avoid. The Flyers logo is an organic design. Building a linear and geometric jersey design around it puts the two aesthetics at odds with each other. Yes, I am aware how picky and obsessive that sounds. It's just a thing with me.

Overall: It's neither great, nor terrible. Solid, but safe. (7.25/10)


Winnipeg Jets Concept - Dylan N.


Positives: I would love to have an inaugural-season Jets jersey, but the thing is, I've never had great love for the Jets jerseys. They aren't bad, but they just aren't that memorable. Dylan "Man of the Year" Nowak (see last week's post) seeks to fix that here. It's definitely more memorable. Side panel striping normally doesn't go down smooth, but this is a case where it works. Silver is used more effectively here; my main complaint with the Jets' current set. Everything is executed perfectly.

Negatives: There's a lot of color on the white jersey. It's a little too much for me. The yoke would be better left white, in my opinion.

Overall: The white jersey, sans blue yoke, would be one I would put in my collection. (8.5/10)


Buffalo Sabres Concept - Christian L.


Positives: It's no secret that the Buffalo Sabres third jersey, introduced last year, is not greatly loved. I hate it, not like I hate the Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers initial Reebok Edge sets, but close. The task of salvaging it has been a hill many artists have died on. This one of maybe two or three that I think have succeeded, but in that exclusive company, this is the best one. I really like the tapered striping on the arms and side panels (two good uses of side panel striping in one day?!). Colors are balanced well, with just the right amount of blue, gold, and silver used. The sublimated striping is a great effect, too. I just love how this jersey just goes for it, and yet doesn't assault your eyes. Faultless execution.

Negatives: I don't care for the thick gray outline around the whole set, especially with so many silver elements in the jersey.

Overall: If only this the jersey Buffalo came with...(9/10) COTW nomination from me!


That's all for this week! Give us your opinions on today's artwork, thoughts on my Winter Classic rant above, and anything else on your mind. No personal stuff, though. Just keep that inside, man. Here's looking forward to another great year on HJC!

6 comments:

Taylor Roy said...

I'll second Christian for COTW

Alan John Herbert said...

Dylan N's Jets concept for the COTW!

Dylan Wonka said...

I lost interest in the Winter Classic I believe after the Pittsburgh Washington one. For the first four I was all over it. I was so interested in the jerseys (and concepts) and just the whole event design. I was interested in all the merch design and everything leading up to it. I would watch the ice being made and the practices the day before. It was awesome.

Like you said, they started to lose me with the repeat teams. I know I know they need these teams to draw in a bigger crowd, I know that, but to keep me interested personally, I want to see the most variety of teams. And to the people saying they can't have it in hot places, well the SS series proves that wrong. I love snowy Winter Classics but not all of the games have been snowy, and I want new teams.

The other thing that completely killed it for me is the SS. This year not as much because the 'Series' is one game. However, I thought the outdoor game, the Winter Classic was such a great game to watch. The only outdoor game of the year. Last year it just felt like another game to me. I know to Ryan and all of the fans for Detroit and Toronto it didn't feel that way, but to me it did.

Of course, if your team is in it, the game probably is awesome to lead up to.

After that small rant I do have to say, the fact I went to the first Winter Classic makes me not care as much, other than the fact I don't remember much of it. Terrible view and freezing at every part of my body as a kid, I couldn't concentrate.

I'm not sure if I could get the same feeling about the Winter Classic that I used to. I'd like to see the Stadium Series gone first of all. Then a game that involves teams that haven't been in yet. I propose Colorado and St. Louis. (I hear those teams might face off next year in a SS game). And you know what, I know some aren't a fan of straight throwbacks, but I'd like to see a Winter Classic again with jerseys the team wore in the past.

Longest comment ever, but I needed to vent.

Scott Garland said...

I'll second Dylan N's Jets concept for the COTW.

As far as the Winter Classic, I agree a lot with Dylan Wonka on this. I comment on an older post about it being not that exciting because of the teams. I'm a Wing's fan so I was in love with everything about last year's game, the lead up to it, the jersey's, the conditions.. It seemed special, and how it should be. But I do agree thinking there needs to be different teams. This years game was really good though, I watched the whole thing and it turned into a great game.

It makes sense with the League wanting there to be big name teams, with the elite players to sell tickets, and air-time on NBC to draw an audience. However, I still feel there can be a really good game with other teams. There's teams like Tampa who are very much so on the rise of being an excellent team that would be really awesome to watch, and even teams like the Islanders, Ducks, Stars or Rangers who are or have been pretty damn good teams recently that would make for interesting games for them to be featured. Granted some of them had SS games last year but even so.

I do like the SS and the Heritage Classic games, however I feel like they sometimes take away from the hype of the Winter Classic. One of each, Winter Classic, Stadium Series, and Heritage Classic per year makes sense to me.

SportsUniformConcepts said...

Caz, that's not true about no one wanting the old Preds logo back. me and all of my friends love it. i hate the new one and the jerseys they're on. the old one just screamed badass. but to each his/her own.

Phil B. said...

Here's my two cents about this. Participating in two outdoor games over the course of a few years is fine so long as you don't host two (Which Boston is rumored to do next year). Chicago has now been in 3 and hosted two. Enough Blackhawks. Pittsburgh was in 3 as well as the Rangers.

What annoys me most is that the Rangers essentially had two free home games at Yankee Stadium. A New Jersey and a Long Island team playing home games in The Bronx? Seems suspect. Turns out that they were road games for the Blueshirts to avoid losing a City tax break.

Did I enjoy the Islanders Rangers stadium series game? Absolutely. But no more Rangers, Blackhawks, Bruins, Flyers, Capitals, Penguins, Red Wings or Kings. Give me Minnesota. Give me St. Louis. Give me Colorado. Give me more Canadian teams. Give me the Islanders! Enough of the same old teams.