Design Around the League: NHL snapshots

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This NHL off-season has been a busy one for teams trying to look good for their new RBK Edge (Reebok) equipment system. These new jerseys are a part of a hockey equipment system, millions of dollars in the making, developed by RBK to produce lightweight, moisture repellent, and more comfortable equipment than previous technology was able to provide.

We previously posted about trends in sport technology, specifically how the Free Spirit treadmill design was severely behind the times in design. RBK is on the other end of this spectrum, with a finger on the pulse of technology and an eye for what athletes are looking for, RBK is among industry leaders in sports design. In this post, we discuss whether teams around the NHL can perform under the pressure of looking good in their new uniforms.

We start with the Vancouver Canucks who are back on elbowrumintations making the news with their much anticipated new uniform unveiling. The logo unveiling, which was witnessed by about 8,500 fans at Vancouver’s GM Place, was the previously discussed here amidst a firestorm of gossip and hype. When the dust settled, from a design perspective, we think the new uniforms look terrific.

New Canucks Jerseys

The continuing trend of simplification in sport logos is evidenced here with Navy Blue and Maroon being replaced by solid blue and solid white for home and away jerseys respectively. The Killer Whale logo has also been simplified in the same fashion. With the word “Vancouver” spelled out on the front of the jerseys, original logos on the shoulders and a single broad stripe on the sleeves, there is a definite lean toward a Vintage look while at the same time catering to current styles. We think the graphic designer behind this project had a mandate to please everyone and did a great job making compromises between an old and new school fan base.

Tampa’s Jersey’s

In another city on the opposite side of the continent, the Tampa Bay Lightning find themselves on the opposite of a good review for their jersey re-design. The logo has also been simplified with the removal of the word “Lightning” but for a team that was introduced to the NHL in 1992, the logo looks the part. It seems like the team didn’t really care what their new jerseys looked like, here’s what they say about the new look.” Perhaps if they were hoping to generate some excitement, it seems as if the only thing this redesign generated was the need for fresh inspiration.

On a local note, the Calgary Flames won’t be unveiling their new jerseys until Sept 4th. Let’s hope they don’t look as bad as the distorted ad on their website promoting the big event. That’s not a good start.