Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Yep, That's The Logo. That's... it... yep.

When I first laid eyes on Jay Z's homemade Black and White logo for the new "Brooklyn Nets", I chortled mightily.

That sucks.

Then, I saw some merchandise with the plain, old-school, look. And more merch. And the jerseys. And I sorta "get it" now. It's a Mad Men, retro-50's look, only dragged forward, kicking and screaming into our Gawd-Awful focus-group-tested-teal-and-whatever modern sports logo world.
Adam Silver, NBA deputy commissioner, said the league has been trying to steer teams toward emphasizing their traditional primary colors instead of black, which many teams use for an alternative jersey, to make them more easily identifiable on television. But it had no problem with the choice of black and white for the Nets. 
"We agreed with the Nets that this color scheme made sense for this market," Silver said.
The team's shield logo has Nets spelled out above a basketball with a block B on it. Below the shield, Brooklyn is printed. The Nets say the logo and color scheme were designed by minority owner Jay-Z and inspired by the New York City Transit Authority subway signs from 1957. 
I think I sorta like it now, and may only start to like it even more once I see it on the court next fall. In the meantime, my logo guru himself, Dave Mann chimes in with his thoughts.....



Gosh I LOVE it when the whole segment goes UNCLE.

Nice job boys.

Let's clear up just a few things and throw in some additional info for your benefit.

1) You guys are correct. Strictly speaking b/w aren't colors. The definitions get confusing and flipped depending on whether the palette is additive/subtractive...light versus paint/ink etc. Pure white light is all the colors of the spectrum. Black (like a dark room) is the absence of light obviously. With inks, paints etc...black is theoretically all of the pigments and white is none.

2) Your callers and texters are mistaken. The Spurs use grey/silver...the White Sox use grey/silver. The Sacramento Kings use purple still. The LA Kings use silver/grey. Yes, the Yankees where only midnight blue and white....at HOME. But their roads are grey (as are virtually everyone's) and their logo features r/w/b. To my knowledge and recollection no professional team (in the 4 major leagues) uses just black and white. When I'm describing a palette for a project, I honestly don't even factor in white. Every team uses white. If you view it in those terms the Redwings and Maple Leafs could be considered "one color" teams. But again, to my knowledge nobody has (maybe EVER) tried letting that "one color" be black. Unless you allow for fictional teams like the Al Pacino lead Sharks in 'Any Given Sunday'. That's what these remind me of. =)

3) It has to be said. I don't think hardly any team in the NBA has a "good" logo. Not in the sense that we (you and I) are used to talking about. The Bulls is the only one that comes to mind as a mark that could function in another league. And this is for a lot of reasons. Firstly and most importantly...the NBA has the least amount of uniform realestate to adorn. In hockey it's the sweater crest. In the NFL, it's the helmet. In MLB, it's the cap. The NBA doesn't have that. There is nowhere for a logo to "go" other than maybe on the shorts hem. The result is that in basketball the two most important factors are the typeface (that appears on the chest) and the color scheme/uniform design in and of itself. I would argue that the NBA can and does have powerful and successful brands; but that those brands are more tied to the colors and uniforms than any other league. The Lakers and Celts.......premium brands. But the Lakers logo sucks. It's a goofy font in front of a ball. The Celtics typeface couldn't get any simpler. What carries it is the green with white piping or the athletic gold with purple trim.

In fact, speaking of the Lakers logo being some type with a ball behind it.........28 of the 30 NBA teams use a ball in their suite of registered marks. 28!!! I know someone is going to try and count to fact check me on that. Go ahead. I think something like 19-20 use a basketball in their primary mark. The rest use one in their alternate or secondary marks. One (the Bulls) only use it at center court. And of the two that use no basketball? One (the Rockets) have used a b-ball liberally in the past and their current mark calls to mind the visual of a rim. Only the Spurs use no basketball or basketball-specific equipment in their logos. So to me, NBA logos aren't logos as much as they are custom typefaces with basketballs behind them. Is that a relevant distinction? Maybe not. But my point is.......none of us have any idea how a basketball brand is going to function (thrive or fail even) until the unis are released. It's an unofficial stance by me, but I would ALMOST go so far as to say that NBA logos don't matter. Who wears NBA merch? Compared to NCAA, MLB or NFL? Compared to branded stuff like Nike or Under Armor? Once we see how they look on the hardwood we can evaluate fully.

For that reason, I'm inclined more toward the "meh" rather than the outrage. The only time you even see an NBA logo is if you see studio graphics on TV or catch a glimpse at center court. NETS is just a horrible name to work with from a design perspective. The word is too short to arch effectively and the negative space of the "T" leaves huge kerning holes on either side. THey should have gone with the KNIGHTS as rumored. Dont' forget, say the name quickly (now) and you've got Brooklynettes. Say it my way? Brooklynites.

4) JayZ likely had a lot of influence on the design, but from what I'm hearing and reading he didn't "do" this himself.


One of his boys at Roca did.

5) I almost can get behind this. The font seems to harken to vintage NYC subway signage which is coolio. And I can't get too worked up because they are the flipping Nets. If this was a classic identity biting the dust for b/w Old Navy clipart? That's one thing. It's not. It's the Nets who've never had a good logo anyway with a nickname that puts designers in a no-win box anyway. I'd give it a pass 51-49.

-David Mann

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