By Phil Hecken
Ho, hum. Another day, another Nike uniform unveiling. Yesterday it was the University of Washington Huskies’ turn.
Before we take a look at the uniforms, I want you to take a look at the video below — and since it’s pretty short, pay close attention to the imagery on the screen — since it’s all part of the new “image” the U of W (and by extension, Nike) is going to be incorporating into the uniforms.
OK? Maybe watch it a second time — since they actually did a pretty nice job showing the new uniform elements (without showing too much of the uniforms).
Sadly, like the four uniform unveils we’ve had in the past week (Florida State, Miami, Illinois and Syracuse), each one of the new sets of uniforms is fitting a pattern — Nike is making each uniform set unique by making each the same.
Not following? Let me walk you through it quickly.
All four teams who have unveiled this past week have fit a pattern — three (at least) monochromatic uniforms, each one having three possible helmets, and for the most part having mix and match elements; each uniform has something “unique” about it — but they all have sleeve “caps” (for lack of a better term), “unique” fonts (a Nike trademark, if you will) and something or things about the uniforms that tie them into the program’s history, or the stadium, or the area — something. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing — but it’s more and more of the same thing. In their attempt to make each set different…they’re kind of all the same.
So lets take a look at UW’s new uniforms (click on any image to enlarge):
The Full Boat:
Not too shabby, from a distance. There’s purple and gold (school colors), legible fonts…#59 even looks like what we expect from a UW team (gold helmet, purple jersey, gold pants). There’s also a set of white pants and purple pants and black pants. And a black jersey. And a black helmet. OK, they’ve worn black for black’s sake before, so this is nothing new. It’s not a school color, but should that surprise anyone?
The original unveil (at 11:00 am PDT) actually had some folks scared, since they released two images showing ONLY the monochrome combos:
There was a great concern (at least on social media) over the fact that there were no gold pants. Well, this is Nike — you think there wouldn’t be another set of pants in there? Fears were quickly assuaged when the following was shown:
*Phew* That’s better. The uniforms are about what is to be expected (thankfully) — they didn’t go completely crazy (as far as we know) — but Nike’s design hands are all over this. Let’s look at the “unique” features.
According to Nike/UW, the “upper-left corner of each numeral is capped in gold, representing the Huskies’ ownership of the Northwest Territory.” I kid you not. It’s not a bad font, actually (rounded, non-serifed numbers are a big thing now) — but that little extra “detail” is unnecessary (bordering on stupid) and that explanation — “ownership of the Northwest Territory” — beyond ridiculous. The font’s name is, of course, “Northwest.”
This one is a headscratcher (literally). The white helmet features a ‘frost texture’ that Nike/UW says is “resembling Northwest frost.” Um. OK — when I posted the above photo on Twitter, there was a pretty amazing comment string, with most folks saying it resembled a “popcorn ceiling” and even questioned whether it could be worn. I’m sure there will be an issue with a team outfitted in a helmet that has a surface area akin to coarse grade sandpaper. My buddy James Huening actually thought it resembled the raised bumps on a curling sheet — and I agree it does!
This isn’t the dumbest quirk ever, but stupid, stupid, stupid. Even in the stills, you can see how tough it was to attach the “W” decal — even if the helmet is cleared for play, how often to you think those decals are going to peel, tear, or completely off?
Wait, what? That’s just a part of the uniform design, right? Nope. The “Iconic Jaws” are a visual representation of the “iconic jaws of Husky Stadium.” Dig:
You have got to be fucking kidding me. Really?
This feature is so ridiculous as to actually be completely awesome. “Hey, our uniforms pay tribute to our stadium! Check it out!” That’s awesome, bruh.
“Dawgs Call Out”:
OK, this isn’t a big deal — the black pants have “Dawgs” in purple down both pant legs. Thankfully, the TNDL doesn’t make it to the other three sets of pants.
“No Dawg Runs Alone” (inside collar detail):
So the coolest “unique” detail of the uniform is actually the one the public will never see? Yep. All jersey neck interiors feature a graphic (explained above) representing the formation of sled dogs. I like this! Too bad it’ll never be seen (maybe that’s for the best). But leave it to Nike to have no uni detail too small. And insignificant.
The white and gold (and I think purple, but it’s hard to see — I believe it’s black) pants feature the “shape” you see above — not sure what it is representing (Nike didn’t explain that), but possibly it’s just there to lead the eye beneath the shape to the ventilation panel below it. And as you can see from the above photo, there may be an issue with the white pants, particularly if there is any sweating involved. I sure hope that material is .000037% lighter, otherwise it’s probably not worth it.
Nike has a new thing for creating sleeve caps. UW doesn’t escape that treatment either — on the purple and black jerseys, the cap is black, and on the white jersey, the cap is purple. Another way of making the uniform unique by making it the same.
So, what’s the verdict? I like the purple/gold combo, and the fonts are pretty good. Other than that? Meh. As uniforms, on Paul’s good/stupid scale, they’re probably on the “good” half of the meter. But there is no need for the purple pants (or white pants, really) and they certainly don’t need three helmets and an all black uniform. But that’s what they’re getting. Because Nike. On the good or stupid scale, I think you know where the extra garments fall. As far as the “unique” design elements? The textured white helmet is probably (while cool looking) one of the dumbest things to come out of Beaverton this year. The “jaws” is probably a great sales job, since I’m pretty sure that particular design element just happens to be there anyway. The fonts really don’t need the gold caps, but at least they’re legible. And the sled thing inside the collar is pretty good.
I’ll give them a grade of “B” to “B+” because they could have been so much worse — but they kept the purple and gold (and it’s tough to tell, but the gold seems to be a bit ‘darker’ — more ‘old gold’ than ‘metallic’ gold), and UW already had a BFBS uni, so this is just more of the same.
OK readers — what’s YOUR verdict?
Today we’ll be taking a look at the eighth set of uniform submissions for the Lewis & Clark Design-a-Uniform Contest, for the team known as the “Pioneers.” If you’re not familiar with the contest, please give that a read. The contest’s creator, W. Ross Clites will be asking readers to design uniforms for all of the teams in the Lewis & Clark League, and thus far we’ve asked for submissions for a total of ten teams. We’ve looked at the “Captains,” “Diplomats,” “Explorers,” “Governors,” “Lookouts,” “Navigators,” “Pathfinders,” and today, we’ll see the concepts for the “Pioneers.”
Two other teams have been put to readers for concepts, the Travelers and the Voyagers. If you’d like to submit your concept for either team, the deadline for submissions for the Travelers is Wednesday, April 23 and the deadline for submissions for the Voyagers is Wednesday, April 30. Tomorrow, Ross will have a short write-up for the eleventh team, so make sure you check back then!
At this point I’ll turn it over to Ross, who will go over the guidelines for voting, and then I’ll be back with some final words before we take a look at the entries from our contestants. Here’s Ross (these guidelines will likely accompany each set of voting):
Alright boys and girls, here is how the voting is going to go for each Lewis & Clark Baseball League team:
1. The hierarchy of importance goes primary logo, then uniform design, and then all rest (i.e. hat design, secondary logos, etc.) Cast a vote for the design with your favorite primary logo, first and foremost. Do not fault someone for going outside the design guidelines. Changing a wordmark or adding a third color is not a disqualifier for good thought process.
2. Your votes will take the field of applicants down to a final two per team.
3. We, the LCBL Executive Board will make the final decision on the winning proposal. However — and this is big — design is never complete and collaboration is paramount to success. We will likely settle on a combination of the final two submissions. We might love the logo of one, but prefer the jersey scheme of the other. In this, you will both be winners with full prizes to ensue. The possibility does exist for a total victory, of sorts. One designer could present the best looking jersey, logo, hat, and all the rest. Do not get offended when your submission gets handed back to you with redlined edits. We hate to hand out homework to the winning look, but tweaks may be requested. It is a studio project and not a math equation; the “right” answer takes some massaging of details.
4. With permission from both finalists, our graphics department will meld the two submissions together (if necessary) and place it in our common platform. This is done as a common denominator showcase for all twelve to look uniform when the contest has reached its end.
5. Someone, not even in the top two, could see an element (such as an awesome secondary logo) appear in the final iteration. We would never select the winner based solely on a minor design element, but we will also not let it go to waste. In this, all submissions could be part of a bigger design team. This contest — and frankly this site — was created to identify the best possible combinations of logos and materials in the sports world. This rarely comes from one person’s mind; we will reward any of those that play a part in making our on-field product the best it can be.
Thanks, Ross. A few words about the submissions below:
Some of the contestants sent one single image, others sent multiple images. Some contestants sent descriptions (in some cases, very lengthy ones), others had little or no description. In an effort to make the voting as fair as possible, I have put those who sent multiple images into one single image, and no descriptions of the uniforms will follow. If you’d like to see all the entries for the Navigators and their write-ups/descriptions, I have hosted the entire set on Flickr. Keeping in mind Ross’ rules for voting, you may use these as an additional guide in determining which submission(s) you think are the best.
The submissions will be in alphabetical order and voting will follow. You may vote for any three of the concepts below. You may click on any image to enlarge. OK? OK. Here we go:
Kyle Piercy & Ryan Thorpe:
OK, readers. That’s quite an impressive set of contributions! Now it’s time for you to vote. You’ll be allowed to vote for up to THREE (3) submissions. You may wish to scroll up for one more viewing, and write down your favorites.
And now it’s your turn! Make sure to vote for your favorites and let all of the concepters know what you think of their designs. They all put a great deal of effort into this, so tell them how they did (and lobby for your favorites, if you wish).
Thanks to all the submitters — we’ll be back next weekend at which time Ross will reveal the winner(s) and how they will adapt the design for the Lewis & Clark league!
for the Ticker
Got an e-mail from Trevor Williams, who is our resident Soccer expert, with a “Soccer Roundup.” It’s just too good for the regular ticker, so it gets its own section, below:
World Cup Teams
Barcelona 14-15 Home Kit
Recife (adidas-outfitted team wearing new kits inspired by countries Japan, Germany and Mexico who are also outfitted by adidas)
Napoli Coppa Italia One-Time Kit (Despite how garish Napoli’s kits are due to its Lete sponsorship, I am amazed how many people like them)
Thanks, Trevor. Great roundup. OK, now onto the ticker…
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: A reader who wishes to remain Anonymous writes, “If I remember correctly, you once wondered if Nike was consciously trying to brand MLB uniforms by placing their logo on the neckline of the undershirts, making Nike more visible than Majestic. Well, looks like they took the next logical step with these uniforms that I saw recently. Now the jersey apes the undershirt.” … On Thursday, the Phillies used bases with the logo of their “Red Goes Green” initiative (nice find by Harrison Tishler). … British Pathe put up lots (and lots) of newsreels on youtube yesterday, writes Adam Herbst. “Here is a search on baseball. I found the game between the USAF and the RAF kind of neat.” … Mr. Met got into some trouble with the Secret Service a while back (thanks to Jeffrey Sak. Didn’t seem like much at the time, and Paul didn’t ticker it, but the story gained steam yesterday (thanks to Ronnie Poore). … Reader Steve Johnston was covering a baseball game with Lemont High School and their entire team is looking mighty fine in their uniforms. … What’s worse than no stirrups? Possibly it’s faux stirrups (also known as two-in-ones). That comes from Gavin Mayo, who writes, “I am embarrassed that my alma mater, Samford University in Birmingham, AL, would wear these faux stirrups. Have you seen anything like this?” (Well, a variant of those was popular back in the day, but we have seen that type of faux rup before). … Nate Kettlewell spotted some truly hideous hats that “should probably be on your radar, if they’re not already.” … Reader Michael McLaughlin follows the D-Backs blog on SB Nation. “They are doing a what would you do if you were given the keys to a franchise/expansion team. The Wild Card: Expansion franchise thought experiment,” writes Michael. “I think the readers at Uni Watch might be interested and or partake in this as he added a little design your own uniform thing at the bottom of the blog!” … The Indianapolis Indians (trip-A affiliate of the Pirates) are wearing Autism Awareness jerseys in their game today (h/t @LikeTheRiver). … The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders went camo last night, but not that kind of camo. The hunting kind of camo. It was for their “outdoors night” promo (screen grab thanks to Justin Dilks). … Good spot by Harrison Tishler who notes the Red Sox challenged a call last night. “The umpires were huddled around, and the assistant who holds the bag (or whatever it is) was wearing a hat with duct tape over the logo. It was probably a Red Sox logo, and the league didn’t want people thinking replay is biased at all.” … You guys know I love vertical placket lettering, so this photo of a Hendrix player is awesome (original tweet is here, brought to my attention by Sully @pal3327). … Martin Maldonado may not be Roy Hobbs, but last night he pretty damn good imitation (great find by Mike Chamernik). … Here’s one for Paul: Check out Josh Outman’s stirrups last night (from Dave Feigenbaum). … The Lakewood Blueclaws have a new home alternate jersey
(Harrison Tishler again). … On Sunday the Jacksonville Suns will wear their new all-gold uniforms (h/t Matthew Robins). … Check out these beautiful Indiana throwbacks (h/t Andrew Day). … Apparently neon accented batting gloves are the latest thing (good spots by Curtis @bigred8988). … Tomorrow is Military Appreciation Night for the Arkansas Razorbacks. You know what that means (thanks to Jake Nevill).
NFL News: Like other clubs, the San Francisco Forty Niners have retired jersey numbers, and for Throwback Thursday, they released a gallery of them (from Brinke). … And speaking of Brinke, he’s very excited to let us know that the turf is in at the new stadium. … Check out this nice photo of the 1936 Green Bay Packers (h/t Sully @pal3327).
College Football News: Last weekend’s Florida State athletics rebrand didn’t just piss off some traditionalists, it actually blindsided several retailers who weren’t apprised of the change before it happened and probably won’t be able to get full stock for fall football season (from Rob Spalding). Rob also sent this article containing a video link, and says, “that video is nauseating! Equating changing the logo with giving women scholarships! Good grief.” … Following UW’s new uni reveal yesterday, Clint Richardson came up with a funny goof of Arkansas new pants (though with adidas handling these, it may not be far off). … “One-half of one Letter missing serif on UW Husky goal post pad,” says Curtis Black. “It’s for sale to(day) at the annual Spring Game” Curtis also sent in this photo of another goal post pad with the same “I” — maybe it’s not “missing” at all.
Basketball News: There is a great selection of vintage basketball photos on yesterday’s entry on Slate.com’s photo blog notes Kris Stenson. He adds, “They in turn are taken from from the Black Fives Association. They are highlighting an exhibition of pre-integration black basketball teams by the New York Historical Society.” Awesome find! … Here’s some good head-to-head infographics for NBA playoff teams (thanks, Paul).
Hockey News: Now that the Stanley Cup playoffs are underway, it’s time for some unique displays at the arenas where the playoffs will be held. One of the better ones is this lego Stanley Cup in front of the Boston Garden (h/t Sully @pal3327).
Grab Bag: Reader Mark Sofia writes, “I just wanted you to know that both yours and Jim Caple’s articles about the beloved Bullpen Carts inspired me to take action. What type of action could probably be explained best by my website.” … For the few Uni Watchers, like myself, who are into the weather, the Weather Underground has a new logo (no not that Weather Underground) — h/t to Brinke for that.
And there you have it. Another Nike uni unveiling in the books.
Fortunately The next one is Arkansas and it’s on Monday (and they’re an adidas school) — have fun with that one Paul.
Big thanks to all who contributed designs for the Lewis & Clark contest — if you didn’t already, make sure you vote for your three favorite designs.
Everyone have a good Saturday, and I’ll catch you tomorrow.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“Stop talking balderdash, you scallywags!”