If there’s one thing demonstrated by my recent ESPN articles about the wishbone-C logo (if you missed them, they’re here and here), it’s that there are lots of high schools out there that are perfectly willing to use a pre-existing logo instead of coming up with their own.
The wishbone-C is a fairly innocuous example, since it has a long history of being shared by multiple teams (three different MLB clubs were wearing it simultaneously in the mid-1930s!). By this point, the wishbone sort of belongs to everyone. But many, many high schools out there are using logos that are tied to very specific pro teams — the Eagles, the Vikings, the Broncos, the Patriots, etc. Readers send me examples of this phenomenon on a near-daily basis. I used to run them in the Ticker, but now I rarely bother to do so. It’s so common that it hardly seems noteworthy.
I must say, I don’t understand this logo recycling (or, if you prefer, logo poaching) at all. Aside from the ethical implications, it just strikes me as lazy and counterintuitive. Like, wouldn’t you want your school to have its own logo — something original, something you can call your own — instead of using someone else’s? And most high schools have decent graphic arts programs, so you could have a student contest, or get the art teacher to come up with something, or the local design shop, or whatever. Wouldn’t that be better? Plus you wouldn’t have to worry about getting a cease-and-desist letter from the team whose logo you’re using.
I’ve thought this for years. Now I’d like to explore doing something about it.
My ESPN editors and I are discussing the possibility of launching a program that would encourage high schools stop using unoriginal logos and start coming up with their own — the Uni Watch High School Redesign Project (or something like that). Maybe we could provide a modest design fee or stipend for schools that choose to participate, and we could feature the best ones on SportsCenter or something like that. Ideally, the project would promote good design and civic engagement while generating some nice buzz for Uni Watch and for ESPN.
This idea is still in the embryonic stages, and I’d like your input to help make it better. My questions for you are as follows:
• I know some of you coach at the high school level, or are otherwise involved in high school athletics. Is there something I’m missing about schools that use unoriginal logos? Like, is there a good reason for doing it that I’m overlooking? I realize that using a stock logo from the sporting goods catalog is probably less expensive than a custom logo, but I don’t get the impression that the use of unoriginal logos is being driven by financial considerations, at least not exclusively. Is there some other reason schools choose to go this route?
• If you were running a program like this, how would you set it up? What would the logistics be? How would you promote it? How would schools apply to be part of it? What incentives would you provide? What kind of budget? Any suggestions above and beyond what I’ve already described?
And so on. Basically, if you have any thoughts, suggestions, or feedback on this topic, I’m all ears. Thanks in advance for your sound counsel.
By Brinke Guthrie
As you know, the Houston Astros have new uniforms, so we’re leading off with some items pertaining to the American League’s newest team. We’ve got a 1960s pennant featuring the Astrodome … an Astros bobblehead from the same period … an assortment of Astros decals (ever seen that top-right one?), and of course a deadly cool tequila sunrise Starter jacket.
As for the rest of this week’s finds:
• Terrific unopened 1971 Springbok/Hallmark Dallas Cowboys puzzle. I absolutely remember these. Hallmark and Sears were the places for NFL stuff back then.
• Speaking of puzzles, how about a 1970s WHA Eastern Division puzzle?
• Interesting facemask on Garo here. A single-bar Dungard!
• We’ve got old-school action right here with this 1967 “This Is NFL Football” 49ers Edition softcover book.
Nice vintage 1980s SF Giants sweater, submitted by readerCliff Engle. Note the MLB silhouetted batter on the sleeve.
• Oooh, 1970s NBA mini-gumball kit, and it’s not missing anything!
• Ever heard of a 1970s California Angels “Man Toy”? No, it’s not inflatable.
• From reader Rocky Lum, check out this 1962 Broncos ticket stub.
Purple Watch reminder: Remember, if you see any election-related talking head wearing any kind of purple today or tonight, please get a screen shot of him or her and send it my way. Thanks.
Broken wing update: Doing fine for now. Surgery still slated for Thursday morning. Cooking is tricky right now, so my upstairs neighbors came down yesterday with some dinner for me, and doing the dishes is even trickier, so my friend Heather came over and did that for me. (Yes, I should probably just switch to paper plates and plasticware for a while, but I’m not quite ready to do that yet.) Lucky fella.
Uni Watch News Ticker: As you know, the NBA’s plan to use uniform ads beginning in 2013 has been tabled. But according to one report, the league will go ahead with the program in 2014. That one report is sketchy and unconfirmed, but I do think 2014 makes sense as their current target date, since that’s when Adam Silver will begin his first full year as league commish. Still, a lot can happen between now and then. We shall see. … America, fuck yeah. … Compared to that embarrassment, the G.I. Joe looks that Michigan State and Ohio State will wear in the Carrier Classic seem almost quaint. … You know, the saddest part about all this is that I used to like Veterans Day. Now I just associate it with the worst excesses of the uni-verse and the worst excesses of the jingo-sphere — which, unfortunately, are fast becoming one and the same. … In happier news, gorgeous 1934 throwback on tap for Valencia. “Best part: No sponsor!” says Omar Aujani. … The Kings and Warriors went color-on-color last night. … Sports teams aren’t the only ones who can be clueless about misappropriating Native American imagery. … Pretty solid article on NFL equipment managers (from Leo Thornton). … The whole Movember/mustache thing has spread to CHL zebra jerseys (from Dane Drutis). … NBA change that I missed: The Heat have added a 25th-anniversary patch.