Tag Archives: uniforms and logos

A look at the visual identity of sports teams, especially the Penn State Nittany Lions, Washington Nationals, Capitals, Redskins and Wizards. Also, branding and design.

UniWatch: DC is 14th best dressed sports city

Once again, Paul Lukas of UniWatch has ranked the uniforms of the big 4 sports leagues and is now organizing it by city. In the past, I’ve tabulated those rankings myself, so I’m glad he spared me the work.

Lukas broke the rankings into two tiers — 3 or more team cities and 2 team cities. He also considered the venues of the teams as part of the overall aesthetic.

D.C. (Nationals, Capitals, Redskins, Wizards) came in 14th (again) out of 20 3 or more cities. Here’s the UniWatch list:

Boston
Pittsburgh
Chicago
Philadelphia
San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose
New York/New Jersey
Toronto
Detroit
Dallas
St. Louis
Los Angeles/Anaheim
Miami
Twin Cities
DC
Phoenix
Cleveland
Houston
Denver
Tampa/St. Petersburg
Atlanta

Wait – no way are we worse than Miami, the Twin Cities, St. Louis (who won’t be on the three team list after the Rams move back to L.A. or perhaps London if that fails), Dallas or Toronto. So, at worst we’re #9. No bonus points for everybody wearing a shade of red at least some of the time either?

That isn’t to say that our teams could use some improvement. The Nats need to drop the front numbers and reinstate the interlocking DC and navy road cap. “Capitals” needs to be capitalized and some more red on the road whites is in order. The Wizards stand out despite the limited palette of a basketball jersey, but how about some block numbers? The Redskins, well that’s a whole thread of it’s own, but I’ll suggest they return to burgundy pants with the white jerseys. The ketchup and mustard look has grown on me though.

UPDATED: On DC Sports Bog (The Post), Clinton Yates defended DC’s uniforms.

While Lukas is SO VERY WRONG on D.C.’s ranking, he did get something right that too many area MSM’s don’t:

I also considered lumping Baltimore and DC into one metro area. But after consulting with several fans from both cities, I decided to treat them as separate entities. This meant that DC made the primary list of 20 big-market cities and Baltimore was relegated to the list of two-team cities.

As for other cities…Chicago would be my #1. Too many NFL teams messed up their uniforms and hold their city back. I’m looking at you Eagles and Broncos. Oh and when the Rams head back to L.A., they should add some gold jerseys.

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Capitals Winter Classic at Nationals Park reactions

A couple of days ago, the Washington Capitals unveiled uniforms and the rink layout for the 2015 Winter Classic at Nationals Park. On hand were Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Braden Holtby.

I had expected something with the Caps’ “Weagle” logo that combines the letter W with the Capitol dome, an eagle and the tip of the Washington Monument. Instead, they went a completely different direction, going with fauxback that evokes the memories of some minor league teams that called D.C. home (Monumental Network). My initial thought was they reminded me a bit of some of the Washington Senators logos (Sportslogos.net). Thinking a little more, I thought they looked like the kind of fauxbacks you might see in a place like Bannana Republic or some of those other casual fashion stores I don’t shop at, so maybe not a perfect comparison.

They did manage to squeeze in the top of the Washington Monument to the W. As one does.

Overall, they aren’t bad. They went with what I would call “Willard Preacher red” instead of the traditional red. The three stars on the chest and sleeves are a good touch that should be included on the regular uniforms. I don’t mind all the stripes either, though I won’t go as far to say that I like them. They even capitalized CAPITALS!

The design’s reaction has been mixed.

I think they are growing on me, but I’m in no hurry to go out and buy a sweater.

Like other Winter Classics played at ballparks, the rink placement is more about how it looks on TV than maximizing the best possible view for the most spectators. I would think that putting the rink along one of the baselines would probably make the most sense. That being said, if someone wants to help me get tickets, I’ll get over it.

Why did it take so long for this to get made official? Mark Lerner, a Nationals owner and Caps minority owner:

Multi-tasking, man. HARD.

There was of course cross-team tomfoolery

MORE READING
Wednesday Caps Clips: Winter Classic Attire Revealed; Capitals @ Bruins Game DayJapers Rink


For Barry Trotz and wife, transition to Washington centers around son with Down syndrome
The Post

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Wizards: It turns out I’m a tattoo designer

Way back in 2011 when it the Washington Wizards finally returned to the franchise (and DC sports) colors of red, white and blue, I came up with a uniform and logo concept for the Wiz.

The logo wasn’t that far off from what the Wiz went with in the rebrand.

On Friday, @dcsportsbog retweeted a tattoo pick and it looked very familiar:

This isn’t the first time an idea of mine has been used by someone else — Mr. Walkoff, the nickname I came up with for Ryan Zimmerman, became a t-shirt for sale by other bloggers and then the Washington Nationals (sadly, I didn’t get to the ballpark in time during the giveaway, though Adam Dunn provided a walk-up of his own in his penultimate Nats game). This mover though, shows more commitment than anybody else to date.

It had not occurred to me that I might be a tattoo designer, however inadvertent. I guess I have a new skill to add to my LinkedIn profile. I’m flattered.

Oh and since we’re on the topic of D.C. basketball, here’s a little something I found in my old stuff in my mom’s basement the other day:

old Washington Bullets trucker hat

I probably bought it around 1992 at the Capital Centre, perhaps when I saw my only Bullets game (floor seats, under the basket no less) against the Portland Trailblazers.

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Nats: The Curly W used to be on road signs, why it isn’t anymore

Photo used with permission of Flickr user SteelYankee
A few weeks ago, DC Sports Bog (The Post) answered a reader question about why the Washington Nationals “curly W” logo was removed from signs along Interstate 395 (Southwest Freeway) for Nationals Park: What happened to the Curly W on D.C. freeway signs?. Presumably, the curly W’s will are have already been removed from other roads like I-695 (Southeast Freeway) and I-295 (Anacostia Freeway).

Something similar happened in 2010 when the Maryland State Highway Administration removed curly W logos from big green signs too. Frankly, I was surprised they were there in the first place. I inquired with the SHA back then and was told they violated the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) standards. A follow-up email was never answered by SHA and I never got back to writing about those signs, though I did note that both the Washington Redskins & FedEx Field (located at EXIT 16 of I-95/495 Capital Beltway) and the Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore Ravens and M&T Bank Stadium logos were still posted. One wonders why just one team was removed, but I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

In the DCRoads.net Facebook group, Mike Tantillo, a member of the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Device gave some me more background the rationale:

In no other city are the sports team logos placed on the signs. And a symbol is technically defined as a pictogram, which the official definition states is a symbol that represents a government agency or other public sector institution. The public sector bit was inserted into the MUTCD for the specific purpose of preventing entities like sports teams and shopping malls from putting their symbols up on primary guide signs (they would be allowed on the “attractions” category of Specific Service/logo signs…along with gas, food, lodging, etc.).

So naturally after arguing the point about public sector vs. private sector in front of the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, FHWA was none-too-amused when these logos showed up on the signs right next to their headquarters. So FHWA challenged DDOT and Maryland SHA on the use of the logos, saying that these did not represent pictograms and would therefore have to become “experimental” and go through human factors testing, just like any other experimental traffic control device.

So they did the human factors testing, and they had to prove that the curly W’s actually enhanced drivers’ ability to find Nats Park, without being a distraction…which is the same standard given to an experiment of any other traffic control device. As part of the experiment, DDOT and Maryland SHA had to agree that they would hold funds in reserve to abort the experiment if there were safety concerns or the results were not positive. In this case, the results were inconclusive and showed a distraction, therefore the experimental signs were removed according to the agreement that DDOT and SHA had with Federal Highway Administration.

In order for a symbol to be effective, it has to be simple, easily recognizable, and its meaning needs to be easily understood by all drivers, even those who have not been “taught” in advance what it means. I think DDOT would have had more successful experiment if they had placed a sign saying “Nationals Park, follow ‘W’ “, and then just used the W like a trailblazer. In this circumstance, you’ve taught the unfamiliar non-local driver (remember, that is who we design signs for) what the ‘W’ means in terms of the traffic/road sign context. However part of me thinks that DDOT didn’t originally intend for the W’s to be part of a navigational exercise and thought they could just slap them on as taxpayer-funded advertising for a private enterprise. And lots of it, seeing as these were on primary guide signs, so they were repeated multiple times in a sequence.

I don’t find fault with the decision to remove the curly W, though I would have thought it was a much more useful than their tests showed. That’s why I’m the road geek highway enthusiast and the transportation professionals make the decisions. Note, this line of thinking is not at all applicable to things like analysis of sports or other things of great import.

Having commercial logos on official signs is certainly problematic so that’s reason enough for me, even as a Nats fan. The publicly financed stadium is more than enough. I certainly hope that Maryland has removed those other team logos as they did, so swiftly, with the curly W.

I wonder if the DC United logos have been removed as well.

By the way, it isn’t unheard of for mass transit systems to use team logos in their stations — I remember seeing an Expos sign in the Pie-IX Metro when I visited Montreal in September 2004. I think the Addison stop on Chicago’s L has Cubs logos too. The Nats wanted WMATA to add the curly W to the Metro map and signage (JDLand), but the transit agency declined. By the way, if you are wanting a transit system to add your logo, you may want to think about putting down a deposit to keep the system running.

Lastly, the conversation that came with posting the DC Sports Bog story made me realize that one of my favorite posts, comparing the Nats cap to other post-expansion caps, was lost in a migration. I’ve put it up again. Yay.

Opening Day is 43 days away

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