By Phil Hecken
If you’ve been following the NHL or Uni Watch the past few days, it should come as no surprise to you that the Winnipeg Jets — who recently located from Atlanta — are slowly announcing a new identity. First, they announced a name (coming on the eve of the NHL draft). The team selected “Jets” and decided they would be named for the city of Winnipeg, rather than the province of Manitoba (ending speculation they would try to have a larger demographic appeal). Interesting they’d revert back to the name of the former franchise who had earlier relocated to Phoenix. Some thought the former Thrashers would choose a new name, but the Winnipeg Jets carried quite a bit of cachet.
No pun intended.
The next step in the evolution of the Jets was to announce logos and wordmarks, which they refer to as a brand identity. For that, they chose a roundel for a crest — one that is based on this RCAF roundel, which itself has gone through a more modern iteration over time, bringing the maple leaf in line with that on the Canadian flag. In the center of the roundel is a gray/silver fighter jet.
Along with their logo, the Jets also introduced a secondary mark and wordmarks (these shown on a blue background). We can probably safely assume the roundel will serve as the team’s crest and the secondary mark will be on the shoulder. Uniforms have yet to be announced, but they will likely be that shade of blue. On a white background, the crest, logo & word mark do pop.
Lets break the crest, shoulder logo and wordmark into three distinct elements, for discussion. I happen to LOVE the new crest, which should look fantastic on a sweater. I’m not such a big fan of the “jet,” but with a name like “Jets,” (and an historical basis for the roundel), it works well. The secondary mark is also sharp, but a bit busy, incorporating two hockey sticks (just in case we didn’t know what sport they are playing), the Canadian Maple Leaf, team name, and aviator wings. A bit of a downgrade from the roundel, but still, it should look great on the shoulder. Two outta three ain’t bad, as they say, for the primary word mark falls far short of the quality of the other two images. The script “Jets” denotes neither speed nor historical significance, and in fact looks like a cross between the MS Word “Bradley Hand” and “Lucida Handwriting” fonts. At least they didn’t opt for “Comic Sans.”
So how did they come up with the colors for this logo — if you look at this screenshot from the brand identity slideshow, you will note there are seven colors, but only five appear in the wordmarks, logo & roundel — a blue (somewhere between steel blue and navy blue), light & dark gray, and red and crimson. The red obviously comes from the Canadian flag, and the blue/steel looks like it comes from the flag of Winnipeg. Does the silver/gray come from the flag of Manitoba (see here)? That would be a nice trifecta, if true. In a way, it’s too bad the Jets didn’t use the gold (yellow) from the flag of Winnipeg, since that would have been a great combo. So there we are — no uniforms yet, but it will be interesting to see how they use the blue-red-silver/gray.
My overall grade on the Jets so far? B+. It’s only the font of the word mark that’s keeping them from a A-. But I thought maybe I’d get some outside opinions. As such, I contacted a few members of the Uni Watch Hockey Wing, Jeff Barak, Mike Engle, Mike Styczen and Teebz for their thoughts. They didn’t disappoint. But, as you might expect, their thoughts were myriad. Here’s a sampling of their opinions:
• I commented on Teebz’s blog that the “circle” logo looks like the 2000 NHL All-Star Game logo. The latter was a circle with a maple leaf and a star, while the Jets have a circle, a maple leaf, and a plane that looks like a star if you don’t have your reading glasses on. I’ll just have to give it more time so that that confusion can fade.
• The “circle” logo has that little notch up top, presumably for the TRUE NORTH ownership group. Slightly cheeky, but a clever self-homage. Pleasantly surprised NOT to see any text within the circle. Thank God. Makes it feel more timeless…or as timeless as you can get with all those bevels.
• The “wings” logo: gonna look great on a polo shirt, will be just fine as a shoulder patch, but I fear that as a main crest, it would look slightly AHL-ish. Now, the wordmark…you have to have a wordmark for stationery, but I only like wordmarks on baseball jerseys, basketball jerseys, and the New York Rangers, so the less visible it is, the better.
• Color scheme: I like it for now, but I’ll love it if there’s more gray than white. If it’s vice versa, you’ll lose the gray and just think it’s all white, and we don’t need another “just blue” team now that Stevie Y redesigned the Tampa Bay Maple Wings.
• Good on Winnipeg for saluting the Royal Canadian Air Force, but brace yourself for “they’re playing like the Royal Canadian Air Farce” jokes.
• My reaction to the new Winnipeg Jets logo and colors is one of disappointment.
• To me, the new primary logo looks like a secondary logo at best, lacking the italicized excitement of the last Jets logo. The new one is very static and not at all dynamic. It’s quite an achievement to make a jet fighter look motionless and dull.
• The secondary logo has too much going on and too many fine details. Perhaps just the wings and the maple leaf would have been stronger. We know what the team name is and the fact it’s a hockey team. You don’t need to remind us.
• I like the wordmark least of all. It’s just not exciting in any way, especially compared to the boldness of the last Jets logo.
• Additionally, I find the muted colors and lack of red rather depressing overall and prefer the previous vibrant tones.
• If the new owners listened to the fans desire for the return of the Jets name, why not go all the way and return to the Jets colors and logo, or at least an updated version of the last Jets logo? I’ve seen more than one fan created concept in the last five years that I was a lot more excited about than what the team has released.
• In the 1990s, I was a Winnipeger and a Jets fan. I went to a lot of games, and I was at the last regular season game in 1996. I’ve followed the return to Winnipeg with anticipation. So I come at this logo set not as a design professional but as a hockey fan, and as an ex-Winnipeger who’s maintained his connections to the city.
• I was thrilled when they announced the name would be “Jets”. There’s so much love for that name, so much equity in that name, I don’t care that its not the same franchise.
• My reaction when I saw the logo set on Friday – perfect! The main logo is simple and mature. If you’ve seen it once, you can draw it from memory – isn’t that the perfect logo? A simple yet bold incorporating the name and the Canadian identity (don’t underestimate how important it is that the NHL is returning to Winnipeg after the failed U.S. experiment). The secondary logo is also flawless. The wordmark – well, I don’t get that one at all. Maybe they’ll just use it on the team letterhead.
• I was afraid that they were going to do something cartoonish and obvious to appeal to the children and non-fans. Instead, after 20 years of trying to make hockey work in the U.S., of teal, eggplant and purple, lightning bolts, cartoon logos, they’ve done something simple that’ll appeal to hockey fans.
• I hope the uniforms are simple and traditional. No bibs, gradients, odd stripes, or anything else that screams Reebok. Something simple like Tampa’s new set, so that when they take the ice for the first time it’ll look like they’ve been there all along.
Teebz already addressed this on his Hockey Blog In Canada. But here’s a bit more from the Hockey Wing President:
• As a Winnipegger, the anticipation for the Jets logo was overwhelming in the city (to say the least).
• Lots of people had speculated on what the logo would look like – from rehashes of the old Jets logos to brand-new designs – but the new Jets logo took everyone by surprise, it seems
• I like that the logo has a throwback feel to it, and there are some very interesting themes that can be played off the logo if the Jets so desire. I think there has to be one thing considered here: if the original Jets had never existed, would you still feel as strongly for or against this logo?
• Personally, it’s growing on me, and I think it will capture any hockey fan’s eye once they let go of the old logos that the Jets wore for so long.
Well, there you have it — more than you’d probably ever want to know about a team who hasn’t even released its uniform yet — based on what we’ve seen so far, we can probably make guesses as to what that will be. A first look at what those could be was already undertaken by Tim E. O’Brien on his blog. He imagines this for the home and this for the road. I guess we’ll know soon enough.
What say you Uni Watchers? How’d the Jets do so far? Thanks to Mike, Mike, Jeff, Teebz, and Tim E. (for the uni mocks).
In case you missed it…
Paul was interviewed on Sirius XM yesterday, appearing on Andrew Bogusch’s show, “The Weekend Playbook,” which is part of Mad Dog Radio. He discussed a wide range of topics, including the new Jets logos, baseball jerseys, the NFL/Nike deal and more. Here is that interview, in two parts:
Benchies from the Beginning
By Rick Pearson
For nearly three years, “Benchies” has been appearing most weekends at Uni Watch. While Bench Coach Phil fills in for Paul Monday through Friday during August, we present a retrospective. New strips will continue to appear on weekends. For further background, here’s the “Benchies” backstory and bios on the regular Boys of “Benchies.” Enjoy.
And here is the full-size version.
Got an E-mail from Ryan Connelly that would definitely fall beneath the purview of the Uni Watch researchers. Maybe we can get him some answers:
I need the help of the UW research team.
In short, i was given this clemente jersey last weekend from a good friend of my family.
He said it was given to him in ’88. It came with an undershirt (that I forgot to take pics of).
It can’t be authentic, but when did Rawlings start making jerseys for retail?
Any help would be great!
Thanks RyCo — OK — Here’s the jersey in question. Anyone out there know the story behind this jersey?
Uni Watch News Ticker (compiled by John Ekdahl): Take a look at the University of Hawaii’s 2011 football uniform set (Jeff Osbun). … Who’s up for a picture of women in 1926 playing golf in bathing suits? (Bruce) … Uni Watcher Matt Bellner has created a 5-Hour Energy putting green. … From David Browning: “I have seen many high schools rip off pro logos but ripping off two?” That’s Fort Worth Glennview Christian High School in Texas. … Meet the man behind the Tour de France custom cycling jerseys (Andres L. Douzoglou). … Bill Hanstock noticed that Jeff Keppinger was the only member of the Giants not wearing the World Series Champions patch on the right sleeve Friday night. He was recently acquired from the Houston Astros and has been going the high-sock route since (Jonathan Ratshin). … Brian Franzman sent us along some footage of the opening of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939. … The Tampa Bay Rays are auctioning off game-worn Cardinals and Smokers gear from the July 2nd throwback game (Rob Holecko). … Ohio State Pro Combat leak or just another hoax? (Anthony Olivieri) … Lawmakers in North Dakota are now asking the NCAA to back off the University of North Dakota “Fighting Sioux” nickname. [sarcasm] Y’know how these things go – I’m sure it will all be resolved without further incident and both sides will come away happy. [/sarcasm] … Here’s some rare footage of the Steelers “Batman” unis from 1966 (Joseph Gerard). … Walter Pingree, the man who designed the original 1960 Patriots uniform, has died. Uni Watch featured Mr. Pingree’s work in a helmet-related post back in 2009. Rest in peace. (Greg Martin) … Here’s Brian Wilson channeling his inner-Manny while shagging balls before the All-Star game (Chris Flinn). … The Indians have put their Bob Feller logo on the lineup cards this year (Chris Flinn, again).
“There’s only so many times you can change your jersey, or your uniform, to something crazy, and expect fans to pay $200, $250, to buy a polyester shirt.” — Paul Lukas, Sirius XM Interview with Andrew Bogusch, 7-24-11