A few weeks ago, while covering for me during one of my many recent absences, Phil Ticker-linked to an item about the Dodgers having made some very subtle alterations to their logo. A few readers expressed surprise about this news being buried in the Ticker, and reader R. Scott Rogers added, “I’m hoping there’s a lead interview by Paul about this in the near future.”
Way ahead of you, Scott. By the time that comment had been posted, I had already sent an inquiry to Dodgers art director Ross Yoshida, who I figured was the guy behind the logo adjustments. “Yep,” he replied, “my fingerprints are all over it.”
It took a little while for Ross to get permission to speak about all of this on the record. Now that he’s done so, here’s his commentary regarding the Dodgers’ logo tweaks:
The Dodgers script with a red baseball and streaks (or “shooting ball,” as we refer to it internally) has been in use since at least 1938. Were we about to change our primary mark because of its flaws? No way. In fact, the logo and script have gone through several tweaks and redrawings over the years. We’re simply viewing these latest tweaks as part of this evolution.
The most obvious change is the thickening of the ball and streaks and making the line weights uniform. This was done mostly to solve the problem of the red lines getting lost at smaller sizes.
In addition, the Dodgers script was given an overall “refresh”—angles are sharper/cleaner and the script now has a more natural flow (the loop on the D, elimination of the stub on the o, the transition from the g to the e). The end of the underflourish also has an inverted scoop, subtly mimicking the underflourish on our jersey script.
You’ll eventually see that the new logo that’s now circulating is actually part of an entire system of marks that will officially debut in 2012, even though we’ve been doing a soft roll-out of these marks over the past year in local ads, stadium graphics, etc.
Ross’s mention of how the logo script mimicking the jersey script brought up a question I’ve always wondered about: How come the logo and jersey scripts don’t match? I asked Ross about that. Here’s his response:
We won’t be changing the jersey script on the uniforms. Why are our jersey script and logo script different? The answer is that nobody really knows. It just evolved that way. The Lakers have the same thing going on — their jersey wordmark is similar to but different than the wordmark in their logo. You could even argue that the Mets experience a similar anomaly. The Yankees and Tigers having cap logos that differ from their jersey logos fall into the “it just evolved that way” category as well.
All of these examples are logos that became prominent well before pro sports teams spent big bucks on branding and identity design. That kind of inconsistency just wouldn’t happen today — and to me, that’s part of the old-school charm. You can’t mess with this stuff now. Seriously, could you imagine the Dodgers’ logo script on our jersey? Or the Yankees’ jersey logo on their cap (and vice versa)? I couldn’t.
I can’t speak for the other teams, but internally we have very firm rules about the use of our scripts. The Dodgers jersey script can only be used on apparel or on something referencing our jersey (on a bobblehead, an illustration of a jersey, etc.). For anything else requiring the use of our script, the “shooting ball” logo or logo script by itself must be used.
Big thanks to Ross for sharing his knowledge and expertise. He also told me that the Dodgers have a few other logo tricks up their sleeves for next season, but he’s not at liberty to talk about that yet.
And speaking of team logo inconsistencies, reader Tim Lyons recently pointed out something I hadn’t noticed before: The P in the Phillies’ script overlaps the h on the jerseys but not in other applications. Interestingly, the MLB Style Guide indicates that the jersey scripts should never have the overlap. Have fun trying not to fixate on this detail the next time you watch the Phils.
Pink eye? Back in 2007 there was briefly a lot of fuss about MLB players wearing tinted contact lenses (from left to right, that’s Mike Timlin, A.J. Pierzynski, and Brian Roberts), which were supposedly going to replace sunglasses. Haven’t heard much about the lenses lately, but I was reminded of them last night when several readers noticed Kyle Vanden Bosch’s seriously creepy-looking eyes during the Lions/Bears game.
A few readers wondered if this might be the latest “Think Pink” initiative, but it turns out that Vanden Bosch has been wearing the red lenses for several years now. Interesting that he wears them at Ford Field, which is a dome. (According to this item, the lenses are no longer being made, but Vanden Bosch bought out Nike’s supply when he heard they were being discontinued.)
So the lenses weren’t pink-related. But then there’s this stadium worker — ugh.
(My thanks to James Hoppes, Anthony Zogas, and Jim Walaitis for the screen shots.)
By Brinke Guthrie
Leading off with the Rayduhz this week, ’cause of Al. Here he is in a black jacket, and you can buy a very similar jacket right here. We’re also gonna include this Jim Otto photo just because of the ridiculous facemask for a center. And I can certainly see Otto wearing this NFL Alumni belt buckle.
In non-Raiders finds:
• Here’s one of those funky 1960’s NFL helmet plaques, featuring the Packers.
• You see the 1970s NFL Mini-Kits once in awhile, but the NBA ones are a lot harder to find, I think. Nuts, this one has no basket.
• Here we have a 1970s New York Jets boys letterman-style jacket from Sears (look closely at the tag.)
• How cool is this late 1970s Patriots poster?
• I like this 1970s Cleveland Indians jacket.
• This must be one rare Vikings bobblehead. Look at that price!
• Mike Hersh submitted this listing for a set of NFL uniform playing cards.
And now a research query from Brinke: Among the things that intrigue me during my eBay searches are these NFL helmet plaques from a company called Technigraph. I only faintly recall these (I would’ve been about five at the time). Quaint, aren’t they? A generic face and helmet, often with an out-of-proportion logo, embossed on a hunk of plastic. If you look at that eBay link, you’ll see that they did large and small NFL plaques, and MLB too, which I had never seen until now. Anyone know more about these? Origins, the company that created them? If you have any info, please get in touch. Thanks.
Plus a research query from me: My thanks to the many of you who responded to yesterday’s note about players who wear their wedding bands on the field (or court, or ice, or whatever). I’m still looking for more, so if you know of athletes in any sport who keep their rings on while competing, do tell.
Speaking of which: While pursuing this topic in the Uni Watch archives yesterday, I revisited this photo of Doug Davis, which ran in the Ticker back in May. At the time I thought it was remarkable that he kept his ring on his pitching hand. But after some additional photo research, I now think Davis just has a tattoo. Too bad.
Uni Watch News Ticker: “In the battle of ideas, aesthetics matter.” That’s the rallying cry for a group that’s trying to gather second-hand suits (or funds for same) for the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Hey, that’s the power of a uniform for ya (thanks, Kirsten). … Bizzarre zebra striping in Russia’s KHL. “It’s different, but I think I actually like it,” says Jeff Barak. “I’m uncertain if the design has any connection to a sponsorship.” … Lewis English is picking the winners of NFL games based on which team has the better uniform. “I am astounded to find that I have so far predicted 51 out of 72 games correctly,” he says. … Look how Giants punter Steve Weatherford has been wearing his hose. … University of Oklahoma wide receiver Kenny Stills doesn’t like his helmet (from Daniel Caceres). … Stephen Jackson of the Rams is wearing a new helmet design with a special air-cushioning system (from Ryan Perkins). … Also from Ryan: Yesterday I mentioned that Ahmad Bradshaw ran several plays with his mouthguard stuck in his helmet, but I didn’t realize the mouthguard had an “ny” logo. … And one more from Ryan: Jake Ballard’s rear uni number got seriously shredded on Sunday. That’s longtime Uni Watch pal Joe Skiba struggling to get Ballard’s pad into his “sleeve.” … Several Penn State players had one blue sock on Saturday. “I reached out to QB Matt Mcgloin to see if this was a tribute or for functional purposes,” says Ryan Albright. “He said the socks were to cover up medically-treated burns resulting from turf surfaces (the team played at Indiana last week).” … The Purdue women’s soccer team wore one-off red, white, and blue uniforms on Sunday for the annual “special jerseys game,” benefitting the American Legion. Further details here (from Austin Chen). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Chris Johnson was actually wearing a pink jockstrap on Sunday. … Not the clearest photo, but Wisconsin hockey now has the Reebok wordmark at the base of the collar and on the left pant leg. “I found this to be especially interesting, since Wisconsin is an Adidas school in pretty much every other sport and was getting a clearly branded Adidas jersey up until now,” says Jason Siewert. … New sweatbacks for Purdue (from Leo Thornton). … New cheerleading uniforms — the second new set of the young season already — for the 49ers. … Here’s more info about certain Michigan players wearing last year’s road uni, complete with the side piping, instead of the new super-stretchies. According to a note on this page, “[T]he d lineman feel that the 2011 jerseys are too easy to grab, thus they went with the older style” (from Stephen King). … Mike Hersh found a bunch of cool old stuff, including an IHOP gumball helmet placemat, ads for Kraft MLB and NHL patches, a program from a 1949 semi-pro baseball tournament. … Yesterday I Ticker-linked to all the things written inside Francisco Cordero’s cap. Now Brady Phelps has gotten the writings translated. … Here’s a look back at ASU’s 1970s helmets. … Dayton will reportedly unveil new hoops uniforms today. “The good news? No black! The Flyers will wear white, red, and dark blue jerseys this season,” says Mary Lynn Delfino. … Do the Raiders have the most influential uni design in sports history? Deadspin thinks so. … I’m sure this will end up being way too expensive for me, but I love this Cuban baseball uniform swatch catalog (big thanks to Mike Hersh). … Always fun to see pics of the Phillies’ early-1970s usherettes (thanks, Vince). … Late-breaking NHL item: The WinniJets are wearing an inaugural-season patch (big thanks to Daren Landers). … This story about Under Armour includes the heretofore untold story that UA tried to get Auburn to wear a new sock design for last January’s BCS title game, and that Auburn waited until three hours before kickoff before saying, “Thanks, but no thanks” (from Sam Mitchell). … Someone with more time than I have at the moment should comb through this book and see if there’s some good uni-related stuff in there (thanks, Brinke). … It’s one thing for Wal-Mart to destroy Main Street, fail to pay a living wage, sell a bunch of cheapo crap that nobody needs, and generally foster a cultural race to the bottom. But when they commit pork fraud, they’ve gone too far. … I’m being interviewed tomorrow for this weekend’s College GameDay, which will feature a segment on uniforms. I’m told I’ll probably be onscreen for maybe 30 whole seconds, so set your DVRs now! (To record something else, I mean.) … Is there anyone who looks less happy to be wearing a headset than Jim Leyland during those “The manager probably isn’t busy in the middle of the game so let’s chat with him” segments? … Here’s a weird one: an A+M Records varsity jacket. … Speaking of varsity jackets, check out the striped lining and the unusual lower button positioning on this one. … I like this old Rawlings chart that shows the official field dimensions for various sports. … When you’re running on a platform of returning America to the 19th century, it might help your public image if you could at least blouse your knicks correctly (tip of the cap to R. Scott Rogers). … Bill Schaefer notes that Andre Carter was missing his Myra Kraft memorial patch on Sunday. … Guess my annual NBA season-preview column’s gonna be a bit delayed this year.