By Phil Hecken
A few weeks back, I introduced you to Tim E. O’Brien, who brought his vision for a new Oklahoma City Thunder uniform, logos and court.
I’m back with Tim today, and we’re going to learn a bit more about the man behind the designs. He’ll also be bringing us his vision for the Brooklyn Nets, who’ll soon be playing their games a mere stone’s throw from Uni Watch headquarters. If you read “God of Thunder,” or have been checking out the comments, you’ll know Tim’s quite the designer. Today, we’ll take a peek at how he got that way:
Uni Watch: What’s with the ‘E.’?
Tim E. O’Brien: Well, there are already a few famous people with my name so it came down to a choice between being professionally known as T.E. O’Brien and Tim E. O’Brien. I chose Tim E. because I feared people would start to call me T.E. rather than Tim, which I prefer, but my professional name now sounds like Timmy O’Brien, so you win some you lose some…
UW: How long have you been uni tweaking, and what can you tell me about it?
TEO’B: The earliest I can remember is of drawing new Bears unis when I was a little kid. Think something along the lines of the Denver Broncos circa 1997 redesign (oh the naïveté…). I got sort of serious about this stuff within the last few months when I started to have more and more free time and less and less work to do.
I think over the years, I’ve gotten a little more classic in my preferences and designs, but I still believe there is a place for the Oregon Ducks and Tennessee Titans of the world.
UW: I first saw your work a couple months ago. What made you start publishing these online?
TEO’B: I started putting my stuff up on my website TimEOBrien.com mostly to show my friends and family but also because my job search was going so badly I wanted to justify how much time I was spending on uni concepts, haha.
UW: What program do you use?
TEO’B: I use Photoshop CS5. Fortunately for me, Indiana University (my alma mater) had a contract with Adobe starting my junior year (about two years ago) where any Journalism school kid could download the Creative Suite programs for free (rather than the thousands they normally cost).
I had a basic knowledge of the program from some classes I took but I’ve learned a lot from online tutorials and podcasts but mostly from just fooling around with it.
UW: How did you find Uni Watch?
TEO’B: I don’t even remember the first time I saw Paul’s column on ESPN, but that’s where I found it. As I recall this was pre uniwatchblog.com. I have always obsessed over jerseys and fonts and patches and stuff but no one else I had known ever audibly mentioned that they felt the same way, so I kinda thought I was alone on this until UW showed me that I was just the tip of the iceberg.
UW: So, what are your favorite teams?
TEO’B: Well, I’m a Chicago boy raised by South Siders (thank god) So I’m a Sox (White not red), Bears, Blackhawks and Bulls fan in the pro ranks. They’re all pretty well dressed although I wish the Sox would reintroduce some red into the color scheme or go nuts and change unis every seven years again (but I understand why they don’t).
As far as college goes, my dad is a Northwestern grad and my family had season tickets to NU football for the better part of my life so they’re a big part of my childhood/fandom. Being that I went to IU, I love me my Hoosier basketball (we can’t be bad forever) and now that Bill Lynch is gone, I’m back to loving my Hoosier football (they might be bad forever).
UW: And what are your favorite current uni sets?
NBA: The Pacers have a classic logo and strong color scheme, I hope they continue to fight off the urge to change their “yellow” to vegas gold (he says while glaring at the Pittsburgh Penguins). Same goes for the Warriors.
NHL: The Wild’s logo is amazing, one of the best in sports and that’s saying a lot. Is it a bear or a panther? All I know is that when I finally realized the mouth was a river I had to change my shorts.
UW: I’m not going there.
TEO’B: MLB: This is tough because baseball uniforms in general all kind of look the same, but (and this pisses off my Cub fan brother) I do love the old Brewers ‘Mb’ mitt logo and the unabashed reasonableness of their old blue and “yellow” shades (stop with the navy and metallic gold). Currently? Say what you will about the overt racism, but the Indians just look good.
NFL: Charger powder blues. They should be the best home uniform in the NFL.
UW: Thanks Tim! Now, on to your latest creations. Brooklyn in the house.
The New Nets
By Tim E. O’Brien
Since the team is moving, the New Jersey Nets must change their Identity to the Brooklyn Nets. And when is there a better time to change you visual identity then with a move?
As I do before most of my rebrands, I try to take a look into the history of the organization I’m dealing with to see if any good ideas have been thrown away.
But the Nets have honored their ABA heyday before, so I wanted to avoid a complete throwback look.
First lets start off with the logo. An ABA feel ball but the new Brooklyn name combines past, present and future. But for other uses we have a simplified ball and the ball going through a net — for obvious reasons.
For the uniform, we go fauxback:
The differences are subtle but significant. The five stars have different placement to fit with the modern cut of NBA uniforms (three on the shorts, two on the jersey), the red stripe loops over the shoulder and the blue isn’t as navy as it was in the 70s.
If the ‘NETS’ and uni numbers on the jersey look a bit off center, that’s because they are. Combine that with the road blue’s vertical ‘Brooklyn’ on the red stripe and you have one of the most idiosyncratic uniforms in the NBA.
With this rebrand I tried to convey a unification between this historic organization and its brand new home, but only wins will convince the people of Brooklyn to make the Nets their own.
Thanks again, Tim, for both the “meet and greet” and the new Nets concepts. Great stuff.
by Rick Pearson
[Phil here] A little bit of a different “Benchies” today, more along the lines of a “contest” than anything else. You’ll see below. It’s open to everyone, and it’s pretty simple — you need to give Mick an outfit. You can use any means at your disposal, including crayons, MS Paint, GIMP or Photoshop. All you have to do is download the .bmp image (which will follow), and outfit Mick any way you’d like. When you’re done, you can send it to me (same address as the tweaks/colorizations) and simply indicate in the subject line: “Benchies Contest”.
The “chosen one” will receive a signed original Benchies, or a likeness of the winner will be drawn into a future Benchies comic — or maybe both. But lets see if we can’t have a bit of fun with this — we’ll set a deadline of April 3, 2011, as Rick will need to have these submissions in time for a full color Benchies post on Masters Sunday (April 10, 2011), but try to get them as soon as you can. We will post all the submissions.
How cool is that? Very. So…below is the “contest” and following that, I’ll have a link to the “blank” for you guys to download. You can color/design it up any way you’d like. Here’s an example of something interesting/crazy. I can only imagine what Jim Vilk will send in…the question is, would he wear it?
All set? If you have any questions, you can E-mail me at the above address, or you can post your question in the comments below. Here then is the BLANK BENCHIES. Give it your best shot.
The tweaks have slowed down a bit, but they still keep coming in. Another new batch to get to today. If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
Remember, if possible, try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per tweak. You guys have been great a keeping to that, and it’s much appreciated!
Got an interesting set of tweaks today…so lets get right into it:
First up is Adam Hill, who doesn’t exactly have a uniform tweak, but it certainly falls into the “tweaks” category:
I don’t think this can count as a uni tweak, but I’ll give it a shot anyways.
NASCAR driver Kasey Khane has a new team, sponsor and number this year. When they unveiled his new car, I couldn’t believe how stupid they made the number 4 look. I I’ve done a couple quick alterations, including shaving off the bump on the front and getting rid of the “totally rad” overlap. I think people could agree that this is an upgrade.
And our final set of tweaks today comes from Kaleb Stuckey, who will be having his concepts run in two parts — he’s taken on the entire MLB. We’ll start with the American League today:
Inspired by my frustration of keeping up with so many uniform possibilities for each team, I came up with the idea of establishing a few rules for MLB uniforms. Some of the uniforms I have submitted are concepts and tweaks and some are the actual current combinations. I only have a few rules, and they are as follows:
1) No vests
2) No more than two hats
3) No more than two styles of pants (home and road)
4) Must have home alternate and road alternate, which are not interchangable
I realize there are teams that are very hesitant to adopt any kind of alternate jersey (Yankees, Tigers, Dodgers), but for the sake of consistency and fun, I created them as well. Enjoy!
Thanks to all the tweakers! Be back with more next weekend.
From The E-Mail Bag
Haven’t dipped into the E-mail bag in a while, but I got two this week that are worth a quick shout.
First is James Shannahan:
Dear Mr. Hecken,
I saw these items and thought they may be of interest:
Leaderboard on The Golf Channel lists who uses Titleist golf balls:
Charlie Sheen’s stirrups in high school:
Duct tape with college logos:
I love the site!
And we also have one from the Proctor Files:
I mentioned in my note to you how the Wood Brothers had perfected the modern NASCAR pitstop choreography. Here’s a link to the story about the history of it. Unfortunately the Wood Brothers don’t get the credit they deserve. Today’s NASCAR fan probably think today’s pitstop was invented by Rick Hendrick, Joe Gibbs or Richard Childress. Wrong! This article proves it was the Wood Brothers-proudly running FORD products only for 61 years!
Maybe you can fit in the link this weekend.
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
Not too much new this week, but we have some outstanding submissions nonetheless. Let’s get right to it:
First up is first-time colorizer Jeremy Kelly, who took on the Steubenville football squad. I have to tell you — my first colorization sure did not turn out as well as this one.
I’ve never colorized anything before, so I hope that his photo meets the expectations of the submitter.
As I was working on it, I was struck by how amazing the photo is. It’s not often you see World War II -era high school sports program so ethnically diverse. That team was together for that photo five years before Jackie Robinson, twelve before Brown v. Board of Education, and 22 before the Civil Rights Amendment.
It was really good to see how close and friendly those young men appeared to be in that photo, no matter their racial or ethnic background.
Thanks for the opportunity to color this photo.
Next up is Joe DeAngelis, who had suggested Babe Ruth at bat for a colorization, and he has come through with his own beauty:
The Babe’s New York Yankees vs. the Washington Senators, at Griffith Stadium circa 1933 or 1934 (cross referencing details in book “Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century”). It’s the Senators catcher’s single stripe socks that narrows it down to those two possible years, the book also revealed an off-white base for the home jersey.
Doing a piece like this required much guesswork, especially with this particular audience and their clothing. I used a common red brick scheme for the building across the street, and gave it the slightest of orange shading to suggest a sunlight reflection. You’ll notice I provided a subtle white facade crowning atop of that build as well.
Another challenge was finding the dirt-grass lines. I used this photo and learned that Griffiths had an unusually shaped home plate dirt pad in the early days, and therefore left the large forefront as dirt.
I colorized the umpires jacket, shoes and lower pant cuffs to suggest a coating of dirt dust, as well as the two other subjects shoes.
Though 90% obstructed, notice the batter on-deck, located just behind of the umpires left leg; is that a batting donut in 1934… perhaps it is?
Next up is Gary Chanko, who also took on the challenge of colorizing The Babe:
Wow, this one was a challenge with such a wide range of elements in the image: the ballpark crowd, the structure, background building…
Great fun though and might make a nice print.
And closing down the show today is the one and only George Chilvers who brings us the Sultan of Swat…and another treat (of the non-uni variety):
By the way – if you think I’ve been sat around wasting my time
That’s all the submissions for this week. All you colorizers — and I know you’re out there — I’ve got three new ones for you this week. They’re all baseball and they’re all beautiful:
Finally, we have the 1917 Chicago White Sox, dressed in their special home uniforms for Game 3 of the 1917 World Series. I’ve actually colorized this one, but I think it’s a great challenge.
OK everyone…the gauntlet has been thrown down. You know what to do. Send me your submissions and I’ll run them next time we have a “Colorize This!”
Thanks to everyone who submitted this week — great job, one and all.
And with that, we’re going to call it a wrap. Big thanks to Tim E. and of course, Ricko, the tweakers, the E-mailers, and the colorizers. Nice job everyone.
Don’t forget to move your clocks one hour ahead, if you haven’t done so already. Remember, it’s Daylight Saving Time. Leave the last “s” off
for of “savings” (apologies to all for that bad “Sleepy’s” pun). Nothing bothers me more than hearing “daylight savings time” — like nails on a chalkboard. And of course, prayers and thoughts go out to the earthquake/tsunami survivors and their families — remember it’s NOT a tidal wave either.
Get ready to go dancing tonight folks. Vinny will again be bringing us the NCAA pool. Not that I’m going to win, but I ain’t pickin’ this year based on “who has the better uni.”
Have a great Sunday.
Nothing says “palm frond Zubaz” quite like Robert P. Marshall. — Kenny “The Hemogoblin” Ocker