This week, I'm going to do something different. Over the years, you have heard my perspective on a great many things concerning athletic design, hockey in general, and many other topics. This week, I'm going to bring you a different perspective entirely.
My wife is a professional designer. She does video, animation work, print, graphic design. You name it, she can do it. I have no qualms in confessing she is the better designer of the two of us. As we were watching a hockey game together last week, she began giving me an in-depth critique of the Anaheim Ducks logos. Her views gave me a fresh perspective on many logos as we began to discuss the strengths and weakness of many teams' branding around the league.
During the month of May, I am going to post her critiques of every NHL team's primary logo, from the perspective of a professional in graphic work outside of the realm of athletic design. Keep in mind that she has only a cursory knowledge of each team's history, and is evaluating these logos on their strength as a logo in the context of modern design alone.
Let's start with the Pacific Division:
Los Angeles Kings - "I hate this logo. So much could be done with the Kings. It's just a shield with a crown and a monogram. There's no color. I associate silver with "second place" so why not use a color associated with royalty like purple, red, gold, or blue. The crown logo is too complicated. It needs to be simplified. If it is going to be used, it needs to be the main logo because of all the fine details. I feel sorry for whoever has to stitch that."
Calgary Flames - "It's very predictable, but works well. Sometimes taking the obvious route works best. The letter 'C' naturally lends itself to a flame in motion, or being easily manipulated in other forms; it's highly versatile. My criticism would be a personal bias: I don't particularly like teams branded after fires and disasters. Also, red and yellow together is one of my least favorite color combinations, as it is too aggressive. It can work for a sports team, though. It does bring a sense of excitement, hype, or urgency."
Edmonton Oilers - "I'm conflicted on this logo. I want to like it, and part of me does, but part of me doesn't feel like it looks like a hockey logo. The letters remind me of the 1970s. I like the colors. I wish there was a more obvious tie-in to oil drilling than just an oil drop. It's very clean, simple, and straight-forward, though."
San Jose Sharks - "Oh look, its a shark with a hockey stick. This logo is very literal; almost like it came out of a sports logo generator. I feel like they could have done something more creative with the shape of a fin. I'm ok with the colors; it fits. The white space makes it feel asymmetrical. I prefer the version of the logo without the triangle background; just the shark. The logo has good action to it."
Vancouver Canucks - "I'm not a fan of this logo. I don't understand the orca. There are too many things happening here. I understand that the orca is supposed to be part of a 'C' but there's too much going on. The color palate works well, but blue is overused in sports. I wish that they would use the "Johnny Canuck" logo. It's just too similar to other teams in the league that also use 'C' logos as their primary (Calgary, Columbus, and Montreal). I do like the typeface they use for the Vancouver wordmark paired with the primary."
I hope her critiques may have given you a fresh insight to logo design. Next week will be part two of this series, evaluating the Metropolitan Division primary logos.
You know. Say it with me. Let's DO. THE. THING.
Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche NHL Throwback Series Concept - Dylan T.
Positives: The Avalanche wearing Nordiques jerseys for a game would be interesting. I wonder what it would be like if the Avalanche played a game in these against Montreal in Quebec City. That could be cool, though I would understand if Quebecois would reject the idea. The jersey is executed pretty well. Presentation is interesting.
Negatives: If you're my age, you remember when popular classic albums were put out on cassette tapes. Then those same albums were put out on CDs. Then those same albums were put out on MP3. Problem is, the album never sounded better than the original vinyl cut. That's how I feel about jersey concepts like this. Every time a new manufacturer starts making jerseys on a new template, we start seeing old jerseys reinterpreted onto these templates within the week. It's just not anything I couldn't have easily pictured in my mind, and 99% of the time, it only presents a worse version. Showing the back of the jersey is helpful, though I understand that with the template used, that may not be an option.
Overall: It's executed well, but depending on how vivid your imagination is, it can quickly become redundant as a concept. It's essentially a worse version of an old jersey. (6.5/10)
Detroit Red Wings Alternate Concept - Dylan T.
Positives: I actually liked Detroit's Stadium Series jersey this year. This concept borrows heavily from that design. Execution and presentation are good. The simplicity of the jersey doesn't make the Adidas stripes stick out so shamelessly.
Negatives: I'm not usually in favor of pairing chest stripes with shoulder yokes. It's ok here, but I prefer the diagonal chest stripe with no yoke of the original. Showing the back of the jersey is helpful, though I understand that with the template used, that may not be an option.
Overall: If Detroit has to have an alternate, this is a good option. It's respectable. (7.5/10)
Colorado Avalanche Concept - Taylor R.
Positives: If Colorado is going to continue insisting on using black for all their equipment, the least they can do is use more of it on their jerseys so that it makes more sense. Taylor balances the colors in the Avs palette well. I really like the curved nameplate and yoke. Using the new shoulder patch was the right choice. The yeti foot logo needs to fade away.
Negatives: I would like to see something a little more organic from the striping pattern.
Overall: A simpler, and more attractive set for Colorado. (8.5/10)
Ottawa Senators Concept - Taylor R.
Positives: If you make a Senators concept, and you don't use the logo Taylor used here, I just keep scrolling. Taylor uses Ottawa's best two logos, neither of which the team currently uses on their jerseys because Ottawa makes no sense. Colors are balanced well. Taylor makes good use of the gold here. The logo pattern is also used in the striping. The black is kept to a minimum to balance out the equipment. Execution and presentation are very good.
Negatives: My only issue is manufacturer branding. We should probably be phasing out all Reebok branding at this stage. Also, the Reebok logo appears on the red jersey, but not the white one.
Overall: This is essentially my ideal Senators set. (9/10) COTW nomination from me!
Brooks Bandits Concept - Ryan C.
Positives: It's not often you see an AJHL concept on the site. I enjoy reviewing concepts for a team I've never reviewed before. Execution and presentation are very good. Colors are balanced well. Striping isn't revolutionary, but is very solid. Numbers and names are easily readable from a distance. League and manufacturer branding is realistic.
Negatives: If you're going to include socks and helmet, might as well include the pants.
Overall: Very solid and professional set. (8.5/10)
Rouyn Noranda Huskies - Ryan C.
Positives: Again, I appreciate Ryan designing a set for a team we don't often see here. As a writer, sometimes you get tired of reviewing the same popular 15 teams over and over again. Execution has no flaws. This is far more professional than the gradient-heavy jerseys they have been wearing.
Negatives: It could use some more drama. Just angling the striping pattern would be enough. It's just a bit bland.
Overall: A solid, if unspectacular set. (8.25/10)
Pittsburgh Penguins Concept - Lucas D.
Positives: I appreciate that Lucas is trying to do something fresh. There is a clear creative vision here. The torso striping follows the angle of the logo background, and it looks great. We don't often see someone take on a stand-alone white jersey, but Lucas is very successful with that here. I even like the numbers relocated to the shoulders. Lucas's presentation has also improved recently.
Negatives: I would just leave the name black. That would make it easier to read against the white jersey. The arm stripes don't follow the same angle that the torso stripes do, which like a slant rhyme in poetry, leaves you feeling dissatisfied.
Overall: This is a creative concept. It could make a really interesting alternate. A few adjustments could make it perfect. (8.5/10)
San Jose Sharks Concept - Lucas D.
Positives: I think it's only a matter of time before San Jose phases out the orange trim in favor of their original color palette. That's fine by me. This would work well as an alternate. Presentation has improved and execution is solid as usual.
Negatives: It's splitting hairs, but there should be some cuff stitching. I have used this template many times, so I know the stitching lines for the cuffs are included. You just need to use them.
Overall: A solid concept. It's clearly inspired by San Jose's original set, but doesn't come across as mere template translation. (8.5/10)
New Jersey Devils Concept - Tyler M.
Positives: One of these days, after the world finally recovers from the second Trump administration and much of the coast has sunk into the sea, the New Jersey Devils will do something truly radical, and give us an alternate jersey. Execution is good. I don't recall ever reviewing any of Tyler's work. Usually when I review artist for the first time, execution is the biggest issue. Tyler is either more experienced than I know, or has greater attention to detail than most new artists.
Negatives: A big problem here is just the template it's on. This is, in my opinion, the worst hockey jersey template. as it encourages the use of the worst of Reebok's design cues: yoke outlines, collar outlines, lack of hem striping, etc. The arms are awkwardly stumpy. Of course, none of that is Tyler's fault. I would recommend using a different template, though.
Beyond template complaints, I think the jersey is top-heavy. You have a yoke, arm stripes, and a chest stripe, but nothing going on at the hem. I'd take off the chest stripe, and add some striping to the hem.
Overall: There's some potential here. Like I said, I don't recall reviewing Tyler's work before, but I look forward to seeing more from him in the future. (6.5/10)
That's going to wrap it up for post 2000! HJC has been around for quite some time now, and here's to 2000 more posts as HJC continues to foster the creativity that continues to aid in driving the athletic design industry forward. This is quite a momentous achievement that reflects on the stability of the site's leadership and organization, and the quality of constructive criticism and writing. It's been an honor to be a part of it.
One new aspect of the site is our new voting polls! Why don't you make good use of them and send in your COTW vote?
We also have a new competition posted, creating new jersey for the Springfield Falcons who are being relocated to Tuscon! Be sure to get your entries in!
COTW April 24-30 vote (ends Friday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
Tucson entries (due Fri, May 13 @ 10:30pm Eastern)