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Tuesday: The Inevitable Nike Rant

Welcome back to HJC for another Tuesday post. As stated from the title, let's go straight to the elephant in the room:

Source: Nike News

There's no roundabout way to say this: these are trash. To put things in perspective, on my HJC concept grading scale, the highest rating here I would give goes to Sweden, with a C-. The rest are D- to D+. In today's post, I gave every single concept a higher grade. The average HJC concept I review gets a C. Yes, I firmly believe the lone concept of an average amateur is better than 13 attempts from Nike professionals. Nike has truly designed terrible works of art. Concisely, these jerseys are ugly.

What's particularly disappointing here is that I'm beginning to see a trend similar destroying my own design field, which is architecture. Specifically, rejecting that good design is that which reveals its ontological nature.

Ok, I'll have to be more precise here. To understand what an ontological nature is, we have to go all the way back to ancient Greece (yes, this is still relevant to Nike in 2017, bear with me here). The renowned philosophers (those Plato and Aristotle guys) developed the idea of "Forms." These Forms are the perfect versions of things within the universe, while the actual objects themselves are merely shadows of their perfected Form, embodying its nature, albeit in a flawed way. For example, take the chair you're sitting on reading this. Your chair has a seat for you to sit on, and supports or legs that hold it above the floor. That chair has the quality of "chair-ness." However, your chair doesn't make you perfectly comfortable, and the supports aren't in a perfectly ideal configuration, so your chair imitates the Form of "chair-ness." With this worldview, the Greeks applied their philosophy to their art. So to them, good art was art that took its subject and most clearly revealed its nature. So if a carpenter is making a chair, the best one would be that which is closest to the Form of "chair-ness," in other words, the very nature of what it's supposed to be. And since Western culture was built on the foundations laid by Greek precedents, this is the thinking, conscientiously or not, that permeates what we consider good art and design.

This is precisely the problem with these Nike designs: they don't reveal their ontological nature of the Form of a hockey jersey.

Source: Nike News

This is a glorified long sleeve t-shirt that Nike is somehow going to get away with charging $150 USD more for. Not noted on the above graphic, the numbers will be printed on, rather than stitched, which makes it all the more cheap and unauthentic. With all the emphasis on less material, why even bother wearing a jersey at all? Why not paint numbers on the pads?

This is why Nike's hockey designers are so bad: they're oblivious to the very essence of what they're designing, and it's why they're rightfully being maligned by hockey fans everywhere.

As for the tacky triangle things or whatever on the arms, this is a problem related mostly with modernism in art, but especially an endemic within the Nike design team. Hockey sweaters have a history of over 100 years. There's an entire history of design here, of trial and error, and at this point some teams have jerseys that are practically sacrilege to change. But Nike, like much of the modern art movement, has cast all of history aside. In their minds, history is based on irrelevant, antiquated ideas, with the only reasonable approach being the enlightened modern approach, which is to pull something out of a context-less vacuum. Not surprisingly, it's resulted in some ugly jerseys that don't look anything like a hockey jersey.


Ok, I'll step off of my soapbox now, so let's return to our regularly scheduled content.

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Let's get on to the concepts!



Cole W- Kelowna Rockets




Cole starts off our concepts with the Rockets of the WHL. Right away, I can tell you didn't double check your concept; it's labeled as a Kamloops Blazers in your description. I do like the design on the home, though it's hardly changed from a former iteration of the team's look. The colors leave a bit to be desired. The prominence of the green of the stripes, the red numbers, and black pants is too even, leaving those elements dog fitting each other instead of playing nicely together. The away isn't particularly better, though the pants tie the jersey and socks together. The numbers on the back look too large as well. The execution miscues and lack of creativity really hamper this part of your series.

Grade: C


Noah B.- Adelaide Crows



Our first of two Noahs today, Noah B. brings the Adelaide Crows of the Australian Football League off the field and on to the ice. This was a good approach of translating the football look to a hockey look; the stripes around the torso on the football jersey brought on to the sweater's sleeves was the right way to do it. What's resisting becoming a hockey uniform is that logo; the contrasting shade of the blue of the bird's head is too close to the normal shade. It looks like a mistake. Also resisting is the text, which is not legible enough to belong on the main crest. Triadic color schemes are hard to get right, and I'm not sure these are the best shades to make that happen. A side view of the pants would be quite helpful; I'm not sure what you're trying to do there. It looks like a single red stripe. If so, it really needs a matching yellow stripe to join the pattern.


Grade: C+


Noah K.- Bowling Green State University Falcons


Our second Noah and last concept of the day, Noah K. shows us an alternate sweater for my alma mater based on the school's marching band uniforms. This was a great place to find inspiration from, and I can see you made a straightforward translation of the design, but to really make this work for hockey, you could have taken some liberties. For one, the stitching at the shoulders where the white and orange meet doesn't work; it's quite arbitrary where the line's been drawn. Look at how Vegas or Pittsburgh do it; either of those would work fine here. While we're on the sleeve, the color balance is off. The white and brown are too equal here. By moving that orange and brown stripe closer to the cuff, the white can be the secondary color of the jersey, and the brown goes down to tertiary. And I know it's not how FMB does it, but the main logo desperately needs a white outline to keep the bird from fading in with the orange background. The name on the back, and consequentially, the number on the back need to come down, those aren't ever applied that high up. Kudos for matching the font used by the football team, it's a minor detail that makes a nice touch. Overall it's a fantastic idea, but the execution needs polishing.

Grade: C


That'll do it for today. Enjoy the rest of your week, and keep your stick on the ice.
Tuesday: The Inevitable Nike Rant Reviewed by Ben Shaffer on November 07, 2017 Rating: 5

1 comment:

NoE38 Concepts said...

The shade of blue isn't a mistake. The team uses navy, and There is some in the logo. As for the logo, I agree completely, I just don't have any logo-making skills to change it to something better.

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