I wrote pretty regularly for Fast Company magazine from 2004 through 2007. But I guess they must not have me in their Rolodex anymore, because nobody told me about this article, which they just posted on their web site (not sure if it’s also in the printed mag, but I don’t think so).
Anyway: The author — an NFL fan named Ken Carbone, who also happens to be a graphic designer — posits that too many of today’s helmet designs are bland and formulaic. He heaps particular scorn on the Redskins, Bucs, and Pats:
Among the weakest designs are the Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers , whose visually complicated logos become a graphic mess when televised and, I imagine, even if you’re sitting on the fifty-yard line. At the very the bottom of the list are the New England Patriots. The Patriots’ helmet is plastered with their logo, which comes dangerously close to looking like a wind-swept John Kerry dressed up like a Minute Man. If there was ever a time to go with the obvious this is it. Why not really play the patriotic card and star and stripe the helmet?
These certainly aren’t the three NFL helmets at the top of my “Please revise now!” list (I’d probably pick some subset of the Bengals, Panthers, Titans, Lions, and Bills). I’d also quibble with the notion that the Washington and Tampa Bay logos are “complicated” or “a graphic mess when televised,” and I’d love to know what Carbone thought of Pat Patriot compared to Flying Elvis.
But whatever — unlike most critics, Carbone is willing to propose his own alternatives, and that’s where things get interesting. He prepared these sketches and gave them to a graphics guy who created more polished digital versions — voila!
The Pats design is laughably bad (unless the rest of your uniform looks like this), and the Bucs execution is obviously way too Raiders-ish (bad rookie mistake there, Ken — don’t create a design that looks a lot like another team’s design). Gotta admit, though I’m totally digging the Redskins treatment. Never would’ve guessed that the headdress motif would translate so well to a helmet shell.
All in all, a silly article that’s mostly a lark, but that ’Skins design is like the nibble on the end of the line that’s gonna keep me fishing all day. Are there other teams that could be revamped as effectively as Carbone’s done with the ’Skins? Hmmmmm….
The best video you’ll see this year (or at least today): No Mas has produced a super-cool animation about Dock Ellis and his fabled no-hitter on acid, narrated by Ellis himself. The full vid will be available tomorrow, but here’s a short excerpt:
Uni Watch News Ticker: Ladies and gentlemen, you Nike riflery uniforms, all in one place. … Remember the football sweater knitting guide I scanned and posted last week? Ricko found a baseball version on eBay (yes, those “jackets” are actually knitted sweaters) and sent it to me to scan. You can access the full publication here. … Whoa, who would’ve thought the Broncos had a throwback helmet cart (big thanks to Jason Krause). … “I was briefly following this VW bug through Columbus this morning and couldn’t help but laugh,” writes Jason Lawrence. “As you probably know, OSU applies buckeye leaf decal to the left side of the helmet first, then eventually to the right side only after the left side is full. The funniest part about this guy’s error is that if he’d applied the stickers correctly to the left side, he wouldn’t have had to bother custom-cutting a sticker around his gas-cap door.” … Lots of Fort Hood memorial decals on tap for this weekend (big thanks to decal maven Chris Willis). … Further evidence of Troy Polamalu’s cross habit. That shot was taken by Steve Harrison two weeks ago. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Separated at birth? (As spotted by eagle-eyed Jim Vilk.) … Way back in late September I asked about these Arkansas merit decals. Not sure if we ever got a good answer, but here’s one from Sean Patton: “They are not crosses — they are supposed to be sledgehammers. Back in the summer, the strength coaches started a reward for players during two-a-days. They would pick the players, four or five a day, who showed the greatest effort during practice, and those players would be given a sledgehammer (a real one, not a decal) and would get to hit a huge flat boulder that was set up at the outdoor practice fields. Each player would try to take a chunk of the rock off with their allotted number of swings. So the decals are sledgehammers.” In other words, your reward for working hard at practice is being put on a prison-style chain gang. … Tyler Kepner notes that Padres GM Jed Hoyer needs to update some logos on his wall. … The Hornets are going to unveil a Mardi Gras-themed uniform a week from today. I’ve seen the design, and it’s the bomb. … Arkansas has signed an outfitting deal with Nike. … Remember Craig Anders(s)on and the extra “S” that appeared and then disappeared from his NOB? Turns out it’s still on his stick (great catch by Michael Putlack). … Chris Cocuzza had an authentic Randy Moss Raiders jersey and wanted to convert it to a Louis Murphy jersey (same uni number). So he got himself a $15 lettering kit, had his sewing-skilled grandma remove the “Moss” nameplate from the jersey and then had her remove the letters from the nameplate. Then he sewed the new letters onto the ’plate and sewed the ’plate back onto the jersey — presto! … Here’s a craigslist listing you don’t see every day: football pumpkins (amazing find by Steven Brown). … The Florida Panthers will finally unveil their alternate jersey on November 23rd. If you believe the folks on the Chris Creamer site, it will look something like this. … More World Cup kits, for Greece, Germany, Mexico, and South Africa (with thanks to Stephen Wong).