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.

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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How I’d fix the Denver Broncos uniforms

Remember when the Denver Broncos had respectable uniforms? Sure, they lost four Super Bowls in them, but the blue helmets and orange jerseys were distinctive if not classic. However, they let Nike ruin their look in 1997 with a mostly blue design that had non-block numbers and lots of big swooshes instead of stripes. Those eyesores ushered in an era of decline for football uniforms.

Since I like dabling in uniform design, I figured I’d “fix” them.

How W.F. Yurasko would fix the Denver Broncos uniforms

1. Orange jersey which to the Broncos credit, they’ve returned to
2. Block numbers
3. The old “D” logo on the helmet. The current helmet logo isn’t bad and would look great on the sleeve, but having it on the helmet too would be overkill.

How W.F. Yurasko would fix the Denver Broncos uniforms

The white uniforms aren’t much different.

By the way, if you want to see the Broncos in their old look, why not watch Super Bowl XXII which was 26 years ago today. They lost to Doug Williams and the hometown Washington Redskins on this day. It was kind of a big deal.

I’m pulling for the Broncos on Sunday, despite the flawed uniforms. I never thought they’d be the better dressed team, but the Seattle Seahawks have atrocious kits. Also, I respect the Broncos played on a grass field even though they are in the snowbelt. They don’t seem to have problem keeping it in good condition either, ahem FedEx Field. I’ve been to Seattle either, but I went to Denver about 15 years ago and really enjoyed it.

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1950s prototype Washington Nationals jersey discovered

gilmourNationals 016.jpg
Wednesday’s Uni Watch, showed several photos of a prototype 1950 Washington Nationals road jersey from the collection of Tony Cocchi. Apparently, after many years of wearing a block W, there was talk of putting the official team name on the jersey. Back then, Senators and Nationals were used interchangeably, but the former name had more currency than the latter. The original American League team became the Nationals in 1905 because Senators was a “hoodoo nickname.” You may recall the silly “ESTABLISHED 1905″ patch on the 2005 Nats. The 1905 and 1906 Nats jerseys also became the first to have the team name on them before adopting a W or “WASHINGTON” on their jerseys.

In 2004, Charlie Brotman explained to me that he found there was not a consensus on the name and he decided on Senators once and for all when he took over team PR in the mid-1950s. A few years later, in 1959, the jerseys were the first to have a team name in over 50 years — they said “Senators.” That continued the next year too, but then Calvin Griffith moved the team because he was a racist. The expansion Senators continued to use the Senators name on their home (and later road) jerseys until Bob Short moved them to, as Shirley Povich put it, “some jerk town with the single boast it is equidistant from Dallas and Fort Worth.”

I do not know why the “Nationals” jersey did not get used in 1950 — they stuck with a W on both the home and road jerseys, a fairly common look over the years of DC baseball. I wonder if there was a home prototype that looked similar.

When baseball returned to D.C., so did the Nationals nickname — these days, “Senators” might be too offensive. The current Nats pay homage to that on their home and alternate jerseys, but with a curly W over the left breast instead of a block one. For a few years, the current Nats also used a very similar script as the 1950 prototype in their “NatsTown” branding, but the “script curly N” has been replaced with a not-at-all curly N.

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Capitals Brand Thunder browser theme no longer has former players

Earlier this month I noted that the Washington Capitals Brand Thunder browser theme had two former players, Tomas Vokoun and Alexander Semin on it:

capitals-browser-theme

Brand Thunder even got back to me on it:

As of this morning, Brand Thunder has updated the browser theme which no longer has the former players or any players in the new tab window:

caps-new-browser-theme2

There is still an issue though:

caps-new-browser-theme1

The tiles of Alex Ovechkin make the tabs and bookmarks toolbar hard to read. Previously, that area had a “Weagle” to the left of the menus and a red background. It was sharp and legible. I’ll let Brand Thunder know, they were pretty responsive last time.

MORE FEEDBACK

They fixed it!

caps-new-browser-theme3

That was a pretty quick turnaround time by Brand Thunder. Looking good…

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Capitals’ Brand Thunder browser theme features Tomas Vokoun and Alexander Semin

The MLB regular season ended on Sunday and the NHL regular season began on Tuesday, so I switched my browser theme from the Washington Nationals to Washington Capitals. After opening a new tab, I noticed something about the Caps theme, created by Brand Thunder:

capitals-browser-theme

Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Bäckström and Mike Green make plenty of sense, but Tomáš Vokoun (get well) and Alexander Semin? Neither of them are on this year’s team. Neither of them were on last year‘s team.

vokoun-semin-capitals-2013-wallpaper

Also, Ovechkin’s sweater is tucked into the back, he could get a penalty for that so they better fix that too.

So much for a team with no weaknesses:

The Caps aren’t the only team with an outdated Brand Thunder theme — the Calgary Flames have some players that shouldn’t still be on there either:

calgary-flames-wallpaper

As of this posting, Flames fans get to console themselves with 3-1 lead in the second over the Caps. Braden Holtby has already been pulled by the Caps. The Flames lead is now 4-2.

UPDATE: Hey, the Caps came back and won in the shootout, 5-4. Yay.

I guess I should mention this is on Firefox. Feel free to check other browsers.

FEEDBACK:

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Are the Nats going with a two-tone BP jersey next year?

Washington Nationals 2014 batting practice jerseyI am going to briefly divert my attention from putting together a post-mortem on the 2013 Washington Nationals season to look ahead to next year. In his latest ESPN Uni Watch column, Paul Lukas reveals that the Washington Nationals may be going with a two-tone batting practice/spring training jersey next season.

In a move that’s sure to raise eyebrows (or maybe ruin eyeballs), seven teams — the Braves, Indians, Rockies, Royals, Marlins, Rays and Nationals — are going with two-tone designs, with one color on the front of the jersey and a different color on the back. (Interestingly, the Rangers, who can never seem to decide whether their primary color is blue or red, are sticking with one color — blue — on the front and back.)

That’s pending league approval, but I can’t imagine it not going through.

I can’t say I am fan of the two-tone jersey, but it’s just for BP anyway, so no big deal. It isn’t as bad as the awful Nats BP caps with the white panel, though.

ALSO SEE: New 2014 MLB BP Jerseys Leaked; “Split-Coloured” Designs Revealedsportslogos.net

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Will NHL, Capitals owner Ted Leonsis put the 2015 Winter Classic in Washington, D.C.?

winter-classic-logo-weagleOne of the frequent phrases that Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis used in his book The Business of Happiness and on his blog was “double bottom line.” He described it to Inc. as “be successful from a business standpoint but also be community-minded.”

Last year, I suggested that lockouts, like the one that Leonsis was apparently a hardliner on, don’t have a double bottom line. After it was over, Leonsis did not elaborate much on his role, other than he was sorry that he was not part of an earlier solution.

With the announcement that the Capitals will host the 2015 Winter Classic, Leonsis’ commitment to the double bottom line will once again be evaluated. While the Caps are hosting it, a venue has not been identified which is unusual compared to other Winter Classics. Apparently, Nationals Park, RFK Stadium and FedEx Field are under consideration. Why this was not decided as prior to the announcement is unusual and perhaps the skeptic in me sees this as a way by the NHL and Leonsis to have sites competing against each other to give the Winter Classic a sweetheart deal. Shrewd business sense, but it does not strike me as a “double bottom line” approach.

winter-classic-logo-curly-wNationals Park has the advantage of being the newest facility available with the most luxury suites and greatest merchandising and food availability. Depending on the vantage point, having a view of the Capitol dome. That’s certainly an impressive visual. Additionally, one of the minority owners of Monument Sports & Entertainment, the company that owns the Capitals, Wizards and Mystics, is Mark Lerner, whose family owns the Nats. Seemingly, that relationship would help make a Winter Classic at Nationals Park more likely, though the District certainly has a role as it is the owner of the ballpark.

RFK Stadium
offers a historic venue, primarily as the home of the Washington Redskins, but also the Washington Nationals and Senators and soccer at the MLS (DC United) and international level — World Cup 1994 was played there. The bouncing stands would also contribute to nostalgia and atmosphere. There are thousands of parking spaces and a nearby Metro station. The Capitol and the Washington Monument are visible from west side of the stadium, but the actual arena is completely enclosed. Another significant downside is the stadium is over 50 years and showing every one of those years.

A third choice, FedEx Field, is the largest venue in the area, boasting over 80,000 seats most of which would be aligned decently for a hockey rink, albeit far away. There is plenty of parking and a Metro station within a mile. FedEx Field is also just inside the Beltway from the Capitals original venue, the Capital Centre, but that also means it isn’t in Washington, but Landover, Md.

One troubling report is that Leonsis is also considering venues in the city of Baltimore, some 35 miles away from the District and certainly not WASHINGTON, D.C. or even near it. Nationals Park and RFK Stadium are of course, in D.C. while FedEx Field is visible from D.C. and vice versa. Simply put, if Leonsis is true to his double bottom line ethos he will publicly eliminate the possibility of a Baltimore Winter Classic for his WASHINGTON CAPITALS, even before a site is selected. The NHL needs to go along with this as well.

On a lighter note, I mocked up a couple of graphics of what I’d like to see the Winter Classic look like. Both are based on the previous Caps logo, but with red, white and blue colors. The only real difference is the choice of “W” I used in each — the Caps’ “Weagle” in one and the Nats “curly W” in the other. I think it’s safe to assume that neither is likely, especially the latter, even if the Winter Classic is at my #1 choice, Nationals Park.

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Keith Olberman outrage about Nats only wearing Navy caps for pregame is misplaced

It looks like I’m stepping into an echo chamber here

Olbermann slams Nats over Navy caps – DC Sports Bog, The Post
Keith Olberman is back on ESPN and based on what I’m seeing in social media, he spends about 10 minutes of every one of his shows grandstanding about something or other. Last night’s episode he decided to weigh in on the Washington Nationals handling of the Navy Yard shooting, in particular their decision to show solidarity with their neighbors following the catastrophe by wearing Navy caps prior to each of yesterday’s games. After commending the Nats for postponing Tuesday’s game (which I thought took to long to announce) Olberman rants on about how the Nats should have kept the Navy caps on for the actual game. MLB policy now prevents that ostensibly because they would be showcasing merchandise they can’t sell and the Nats followed that policy. Is it a dumb policy? Sure, but it isn’t an illogical one. Go ahead and call that out. But what the Nats wearing the regular caps (and for the first game of the doubleheader, their “patriotic” uniforms) that egregious? I don’t think so because as it turns out, the Nats wearing Navy caps featured in the following:

MLB.com highlights

ESPN highlights

USA Today front page, above the fold (Over 1 million circulation, not too mention pass along readership and the thousands of newspaper boxes across the U.S. seen by millions daily)

The Wash. Times front page

The Post‘s sports section front

Players tweeting photos of the caps

Olberman’s own highlights!

So with all these highlight packages, including his, I think a few viewers, readers got to see the the tribute.

If he wants to get upset at MLB for the policies, go right ahead, but scolding the Nats for it? Seems nitpicky.

Maybe a nightly 10 minutes of outrage is too long.


The Nationals and wearing Navy hats during the game
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