By Phil Hecken
Every so often, as a lede, I will run a set of uniform concepts from a single designer that are either so good, so innovative, or so special that they deserve to be set apart from the normal “Concepts” section. Last weekend, I introduced this feature, and today brings us Volume II. I hadn’t intended to bring you two “Designing Minds” so close together, but (1) I received both reader submissions at almost the time, and (2) today’s topic puts a nice exclamation point on the MLB pre-season, or what we know and love as Spring Training.
So, what exactly is that jersey in today’s splash photo? Is it some minor league team, or perhaps an old-as-new company team from the 1940s? And what’s with the logo? You’ll find all that out and more, in just a moment. But first, I want to bring you a very brief interview with the designer of that (and much more), in our little Q&A segment with that concept’s creator, and today’s featured designer, Josh Weiland.
Uni Watch: Hi Josh, thanks for sharing a few minutes with Uni Watch. First off, where did you go to school and did you study design there?
Josh Weiland: I have a bachelor’s in philosophy from Grinnell College (home of the Pioneers, but more importantly the Grinelephant and Sticky Tongue ultimate teams) and a master’s in urban planning, with a specialization in urban design, from UNC Chapel Hill. While I didn’t study design, I do a lot of map making and graphic design in my day job.
UW: Yes, I noticed your website in your e-mail signature. A lot of people, it seems, who are attracted to Uni Watch are also into maps. How long have you been reading/following the blog?
JW: I have been reading and making occasional comments on UW for years, first finding it on ESPN. Being a map dork, I was interested in sports geography first, then logos – making maps of imaginary expansion teams and their logos as a kid.
UW: And what we’re about to see plays off that?
JW: You could think of this project as an extension of that – the theme is geography through uniforms.
UW: Cool — is this your first foray into uniforms and logo design?
JW: While I haven’t done other logo designs (other than my fantasy teams – this year the Ciriaco Hot Sauce), I have continued to realign leagues, adding and taking away teams.
UW: Fantasy teams, eh? Well, you know, we’re running a fantasy football design contest on here. You more into baseball?
JW: I am a firm believer in the ability of the Boston market to sustain an additional MLB team, for example, though Atlanta can keep the racist name. We were more interested in getting the Mystic River Marlins to come to town.
UW: OK, then. What’s your inspiration for your design? Are you more of a traditionalist, or modernist?
JW: I think of uniforms and logos as being a kind of heraldry, and my interest definitely extends there, as well as bringing me to vexillology websites and places like Wikipedia’s list of military aircraft insignia. I’d say I’m more of a traditionalist, preferring simple lines and logos. While cartoony logos have their place (ie MiLB, which I love), I like more staid images in the pros.
UW: Awesome. Tell me a little bit more about your website.
JW: My website, though not updated as often as I’d like, has some map stuff, some urban design stuff, and whatever other projects/interests I’m pursuing at the moment.
UW: Thanks for sharing, Josh! And let’s take a look at those designs I teased at in the splash…
MLB Spring Training Uniforms
By Josh Weiland
The MLB loves selling specialized jerseys and caps, for all sorts of special occasions. They have tried to sell a range of Spring Training paraphernalia, but unfortunately this Spring Training gear is almost always crap.
For several years, I’ve though that the solution is to truly adopt their Spring Training home cities/communities. Become the Dunedin Blue Jays and Kissimmee Astros and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Arizona Rockies for a few months.
This would allow the teams to market additional top quality gear (the uniforms should be of the same standards as during the regular season), honor their spring communities who support them year after year, and give fans who make it to Spring Training the opportunity to purchase something that shows their commitment. It would also lend special significance to intra-city games, such as Glendale Dodgers vs. Glendale White Sox.
So for Spring Training this year, I have redesigned (almost) all MLB uniforms. There are several home uniforms that don’t change, so I didn’t do those, as well as a few other exceptions. Not everything is perfect, but I got them as close as I could. I hope you enjoy looking at this fun project.
These were all done in Illustrator. Some technical tips for those who may be interested: Most clubs’ Wikipedia entries have main logos and cap logos in vector format (svg). More can often be found by searching Wikimedia Commons. Look for ‘“team name” “svg”’. Another great source was pdfs on mlb.com. Often, but not always, these had the teams’ fonts, secondary logos, etc. embedded as vectors. Google: “team name” filetype:pdf site:mlb.com . Finally, Chris Creamer’s Sportlogos.net was a huge help, not for vector art, but to know exactly what current uniforms looked like.
Arizona Rangers (home, road): Meet your first team, the Arizona Rangers. Teams that have States in their names kept them in this exercise. You’ll notice I’ve recreated or made the relevant sleeve patch. Here, instead of the Texas flag, we have the Arizona flag. For those who are interested in the technical side, you’ll see that this is the first of many where offset path was used a lot.
Charlotte Harbor Rays: This isn’t changed much, except having a little fun with the name. The Rays’ spring home is in Charlotte, which is on Charlotte Harbor.
Florida Twins (Home, Road): The home uniform sleeve patch was a bunch of fun to make. Florida in the background, and instead of M and STP for Minneapolis and St Paul, we have CC and FTM for Cape Coral and Fort Myers. Also, Bermuda shorts (hat tip to Bunko). Wouldn’t this fly off the shelves in Fort Myers?
This is also the first of several in which I used Brannboll Fet font by Måns Grebäck of mawns.com. It’s very useful, because the numbers show up as underlining.
Peoria Mariners: This is an example of a sleeve logo I found by searching pdfs on mlb.com. It would have been brutal to recreate all of that logo.
Phoenix Angels of Tempe: As far as I can tell, they haven’t any locational markers on their jerseys, and with their obfuscation of their home, this is understandable. They don’t get to escape this awesome name, though!
Sarasota Orioles: The Baltimore O’s have a version of Maryland’s flag in their sleeve patch, so I put the seal from Florida’s flag there.
Surprise Royals: Surprise! Actually, nothing too surprising here.
Tampa Yankees (home, road): Yes, I know the Tampa Yankees already exist. That applies to several of these teams in fact, as the organizations wisely make use of the stadiums for more than a few months a year. And I know they use a slightly different logo: a non-interlocking “TY”. I decided to go with the simply “T” because I wanted these uniforms to have the same style as the regular season. Therefore, if the Yankees have the initials of their city name on their cap, the same for the Spring Training cap.
Arizona Diamondbacks: No change here. Kind of lame, in my opinion, that they are so close to home. For better or worse, both teams who play in Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community use their states in their name. It would have been fun to try to make those caps, but their jerseys would have been messes.
Arizona Rockies: The Rockies actually had a Spring Training logo (which I used for their sleeve patch), though it doesn’t seem to have been used in some years. Good on them for representing Arizona!
Lake Buena Vista Braves: Had to make some sacrifices to get the city name on here, and so not my favorite.
Mesa Cubs: Unclear whether the C on their jersey and cap are for “Chicago” or “Cubs”. I decided it’s more fun to say it’s for the city, so we get to do a redesign. For a lot of these, I spent a long time trying to get a reasonable font to use. For the cap M, it needed to be circular in a way that I couldn’t find, so I had to use lines and circles to get the desired effect.
Peoria Padres (home, road): Thankfully they aren’t using the giant D in their away jersey anymore, so I could use a simple font. The sleeve patch was a lot of fun. Their logo has Petco Park in the background, and that simply wouldn’t do for the Peoria Padres, so I traced photo of Peoria Stadium.
Phoenix Brewers (home, road): Another jersey where offsetting was heavily used. I never noticed before but the Brewers’ away jersey lettering is blue, outlined with white, which is drop shadowed with gold, and then all of that outlined with blue. For illustrator folks out there, that’s: Offset path or outline. Copy-paste and move the gold over. Copy and paste the white and the gold. Merge that. Then offset path again. Whew.
Port St. Lucie Mets: Making the cap logo was fun.
Viera Nationals: Figuring out how to make the Nats’ W into a V was fun.
Thanks, Josh! Pretty cool little (well, not so little) concept project there — and just in time for the clubs to head “north” for the games that matter! Readers, what do you think?
It’s been a while since we heard from Jim “Mr. 5 & 1” Vilk, but unfortunately, you can’t keep him bottled up forever. Jim’s promised me a 5 & 1 for the NCAA Hoops Tourney, and we shall have one — but not today. Today is the day Jim gives out his first annual
Got Vilk Awards UW NCAA Awards. No — they’re not for MVP or Best Sportsmanship or Most Improved or any of that nonsense — nope: these are, well…you’ll see. Here’s Jim:
UW’s NCAA Tournament Awards
By Jim Vilk
No, we haven’t seen every matchup yet, but these awards are about individual uniforms. Since we’ve seen every team in the tournament, now’s a good a time as any to hand out the honors…and the badges of infamy. If you want to take a look at all the photos I used to make my picks, click here and see how much we agree or disagree.
Look Good/Feel Good/Play Good Award: Florida Gulf Coast – I love that combo of blue and green!
Look Bad/Feel Bad/Play Bad: Akron – They should have put Zzzzz instead of Z on the front of my alma mater’s school-color-deficient uniforms.
Halftime of our ceremony, and…wait…there’s a wardrobe malfunction! C’mon, Michigan, there are kids watching! Anyway, since I’m distracted now, while researching photos I realized one could field an All-Hair Team for the tournament. So I did:
Now let’s continue:
20/20 Award for Best Looking Numbers and Font: Temple – If the Owls had worn their school colors against Indiana, we’d be seeing that matchup in the Top Five list, too. Runner-up to Northwestern State.
And now, the one you’ve all been waiting for…but let’s do it backwards so we can end on a positive note:
The One Tarnished Moment “Award” for Worst Uniform: Cincinnati – At least I’d wear LIU Brooklyn’s shorts.
That’ll do it for now. See you after the tournament!
Just wanted to remind all readers that we’re accepting submissions for the Uni Watch Fantasy Football Design Contest (see link for details). Rob Holecko will have an update on that below, but I wanted to thank everyone who has submitted so far (and there are a number of you) and encourage all designers to give this contest a go. Of the submissions I’ve gotten so far, though, most of them are great but…(there’s always a but)…they are somewhat straying from the look and colors of the original helmets. That’s not a bad thing, but we’re hoping the next set will keep more in line with what Rob’s original teams had. That’s not your fault — we probably weren’t clear on that in the instructions. That “example” you see is an example of the type of submissions we’re getting — done up swell by THE Jeff. Great stuff — and those Demon colors are “probably black, red and silver” so pretty close to what Rob is looking for — but the helmet does differ from the “original” (and you can see all the helmets here).
Anyway, here’s Rob:
Phil has been sharing with me all the great entries we have received in the contest so far and while they have all been interesting and exciting new takes on the concepts I presented, I have to be honest, we were really looking for uniform concepts that worked with the existing helmet and followed the uniform guidelines. This is not to say that the entries haven’t been great, they’ve just been more along the lines of full redesigns that we were expecting. This was entirely my fault, I wasn’t as clear in the original outline of the contest as I could have been.
Just about all of the concepts that we’ve received so far have had a re-designed helmet, a new take on the uniform concepts, and some included an entirely different helmet and didn’t even follow the basic guidelines that were presented. You are certainly allowed to go a different direction, as the contest will be open to the voters to choose their favorite designs.
But for the purposes of awarding the franchises if we choose to go forward with the “fantasy” football uniform league, we would definitely be looking for concepts that build upon the existing helmets and work within the basic guidelines set out for each team. And then at some point down the road if, after it is your team, you wanted to entertain a full re-branding the league would certainly work with you on that. (And that was even alluded to in the text, as the guidelines for the Seattle Superbeasts stated: “The league has never been thrilled with the team name and current helmet and would probably not stand in the way of a rebranding/redesign in time for the 2014 season.”) I understand that these franchises have no resonance with you and they are brand new concepts, but let’s pretend that these helmet logos and franchise guidelines have a certain currency with the public and we’re not looking to just totally rebrand everything with total disregard for their existing look.
Just look at how many of the 32 NFL teams have changed their helmet and colors full scale over the past decades. Even if we go back 20 years, twice the time-frame of this fantasy league, less than half of the teams have undergone full-scale logo and scheme changes beyond minor tweaks. So it’s unrealistic to assume that all twelve of the franchises in this fantasy league would have entire re-designs in the last ten years.
So keep those entries coming, and going forward, for these second wave of entries, let’s shoot for more that build upon the existing helmet and stay within the basic guidelines that were presented. If the contest does evolve into the full-scale fantasy league that I hope for, and you are awarded a franchise, you’ll have opportunities down the road to undertake full scale redesigns of the franchise at that time.
We certainly don’t want to discourage any future submissions, but we do ask that they stay more within the guidelines as they are presented. Again all entries that we have received are greatly appreciated, and we in no way mean to imply they weren’t great, nor that they are not eligible for winning the contest.
Thanks, Rob. OK readers — keep the submissions coming. They’re great so far and we know your best stuff is yet to come!
Because we love the stirrup here at Uni Watch, this section is devoted to those of us who sport the beautiful hose on Fridays — a trend popularized many years ago by Robert P. Marshall, III. For many of us, it’s become a bit of an obsession, but a harmless one — a reflection of our times. Where we once had Friday ties, which has been replaced by Casual Friday — we now have Stirrup Fridays. It’s an endearingly simple concept — no matter where you work (or even if you don’t) — break out a fresh pair of rups to compliment (or clash with) your Friday attire.
We’re almost to opening day, so I can pretty much guarantee this column will be bigger next weekend, as many of us will be breaking out our hose in support of our still undefeated teams on Monday…unless of course, one of those teams is the Texasas or the Rasros, one of whom will sport a losing record come Monday. One member of today’s revolutionaries send me his pic late last weekend, so it didn’t make the list last time. The rest are from yesterday Let’s go:
Good Evening Phil,
I had worn my Rays stirrups in honor of my alma mater, Villanova University’s March Madness tilt against UNC. Unfortunately, I have to wash the loss out of them now.
Sorry for the delayed submission, it turned into a long night after the loss.
Today’s stirrups are 1951 Tampa Smokers and are game used when the Rays threwback a couple years ago.
Phil & Robert,
Brand new 54 Sox in stealth mode, so my father-in-law doesn’t think (know) I’m a wacko.
Honestly, I didn’t know about these at first, but they are beautiful. Among my new favorites.
Growing up in Amsterdam we didn’t have Little League; instead, we had “Wee-Men” baseball. As we grew up, the stirrups and the mullets grew longer. We would stretch our stirrups until all the elastic and threads ripped, and they were on the verge of completely tearing.
The first photo is from 1976, when I was ten years old; the second is from 1982.
And that ends today’s look at Stirrup Friday — all of you who participate, send me your pics and a brief (~50 words) description of their relevance, and I’ll run ’em here on Saturday (and sometimes Sunday too!). Be sure to visit Robert’s House of Hose for news on rups.
And now…here’s …
Just now got back from a week of art museums and galleries in NYC, and I highly recommend that Inventing Abstraction show at the MOMA for anyone visiting before it comes down April 15th, but because of that there is nothing new this week. I did however want to wish everyone a happy Holy Week that concludes on a secular note with the holiest of secular holy days on Monday with Opening Day. I for one am excited to see spring and summer coming, and the first pitches that get that started, and i will try to have something special in response to that next weekend.
From each according his stirrvp, to each according his strype.
That’s going to do it for today boys and girls. Big thanks to Josh & Jim (and Rob & Robert) for their contributions. And keep those Fantasy Football Design Entries coming!
First half of the Great Eight today (and is anyone’s bracket not completely F**KED? There isn’t a single team I have in any of today’s games making it to the Final Four…and only ONE of the remaining four teams in today’s games, THEosu, is an actual correct pick.) Enjoy those games everyone. For tomorrow…tomorrow is the Holiest of Holy Days…when the MLB season begins. Have a great Saturday.
“I like the low rise Fruit of the Loom Boxer Briefs…don’t utilize the hole…and to open another can of worms, I sprinkle corn starch powder down there to help with stickage. Once the briefs shrink a little bit, they feel custom made.”