June 28, 2014

Saturday: From Concept to Reality

Hello everyone and welcome to HJC's Saturday post! If you like your designs on the wilder side, you're going to be very happy with this post. Today's concepts do not lack for creativity. 

So, about that title. Recently, I had the privilege to send in a concept to the SPHL's Mississippi RiverKings for their 2014-2015 jersey set. I found out on Monday that they were using my set, and I thought I'd share the story with you all today.

Back in early April, I was in Memphis having coffee with a good friend of mine who works for the Mississippi RiverKings. We talked and caught up, and he mentioned the RiverKings were about to start on their jersey design for the 2014-2015 season. He knew I wrote for this blog and made concepts, and I volunteered to make a concept for the team.

He sent me their new logo that they will start using this year, which is slightly modified from the one they used previously. This logo has been cleaned up a bit by taking the burnt sienna outline off the Vegas gold lettering, a move that makes so much sense that you wonder why it was ever put on there to begin with. They also removed "Mississippi" from the logo. Here's the old logo for reference.

I was sent some specific instructions for how the team wanted the concept to look. They wanted it to incorporate more black in the uniform, because they use black equipment with both the home and away jerseys. The jerseys they used last year (which you can still see on their website) look pretty good by themselves, but the common complaint was that it didn't make sense that they used black equipment with minimal black on the jersey. They also wanted one-color numbers.

Two weeks later, I sent in this concept to the team. It was also in the April 28th post. I tried to incorporate black in a way that wouldn't overwhelm the green, contrasting it with the white and gold. The numbers I used in this case were are the Dallas Stars new font. I assumed the team would probably change whatever font I picked, but I wanted to use one that would look good in one color. I thought this would help them cut costs on jersey manufacturing. The shoulder patch is what they call the "Maddox patch," and I kept it to just one color. In the past, the patch had been burnt sienna with a white stroke, but I believe changing it to Vegas gold and removing the stroke makes it much cleaner. The winged "NC" patch on the back of the jersey is in remembrance of the owner's son. I regulated the darker gold color to just the logo.

About a month went by before I heard back about the design. They liked the design, except for the numbers. They decided to go with an italicized font with a contrasting outline. That was actually what I wanted to do to begin with, but I was trying to cut cost with the simple font. Oh well. Maybe my concept showed them that cheaper/simpler doesn't always mean better, or maybe the font didn't make much of a monetary difference. They also took one of the outlines off the yoke. I'm fine with that. From this image, it's hard to tell, but I think they might be using the a stroke on the "Maddox patch." If so, I wish they didn't, but at least they went with Vegas gold over that awful burnt sienna. On Monday, my friend sent me the image on the left saying that they would be debuting the jerseys via their Twitter and Facebook pages on Tuesday and Wednesday. I am enormously proud of these designs. It's feels very gratifying knowing that one of my designs is going to make it to the ice. You better believe I'm going to be adding these jerseys to my collection! I'll send in pictures when I get my hands on the real things.


I would be remiss if I failed to mention the NHL Draft and surrounding trade deals yesterday so here are some of my early opinions on yesterday's events:
  • The biggest trade of the day was the James Neal deal. Hear me out on this. This trade signifies a paradigm shift for the Nashville Predators. Some in Nashville won't like his aggressive play, but I love Poile taking a risk on a player who could potentially be our best goal scorer since Paul Kariya. This could potentially help lure a free agent center as well. Poile has said the Preds have the cap room for a deal. Suddenly Stastny to Nashville doesn't seem so unreasonable. James Neal and a real top-line center suddenly makes Nashville a team that can play offense. Pair that with a solid, deep D-core and Pekka Rinne, and the Preds could be dangerous. (Full disclosure: I am an enormous Preds fan and hopelessly optimistic in the summer)
  • Is Spezza the new Heatley? Spezza vetoed a trade to Nashville, so obviously he is garbage and we didn't want him anyway. However, who will the Senators be able to trade with? The asking price was too much for Anaheim, and the team that was willing to pay that price, wasn't a team that Spezza wanted to go to. It seems to me that Spezza wants to go to a Stanley Cup contender that can't afford his salary. Good luck with that, Bryan Murray.
  • Anaheim keeps up with the Jones. The Kesler trade was huge, and will pay dividends down the stretch as the Kings and Ducks battle for Pacific division supremacy. Getslaf/Kesler make a very potent one-two punch at center.
  • My favorite pick was Nick Ritchie at #10. Grading draft picks right now is a crapshoot at best, but I thought the Ducks got lucky that Ritchie fell in their lap. I really wanted the Preds to draft him. He has good offensive skill, but the selling point is that he's already got the size to withstand the rigors of the NHL. He's a player you can probably use on the 3rd line right away. That's exactly what the Preds needed, so I was miffed to see him go just one spot before us. I'm pegging him as this year's Valeri Nichushkin.

Alright, enough from me. Let's get to the concepts!


Team Canada Concept - Stephen T.


Positives: Stephen's concepts have improved in the last few weeks. I do like the striping pattern here.

Negatives: There's a lot of black here for a Canada set. The away jersey is particularly dominated by black. The name and number are difficult to read on the red jersey. I think just making them white with a single black outline would work better and help lighten up the red jersey. 

Overall: Things are looking up for Stephen, but this set needs a little work. (7.5/10)


New Jersey Devils "De-Edge" concept - Justin S.


Positives: First off, according to Justin's concept he has finished his "De-Edge" series and congratulations are in order! It takes dedication to finish a series. Personally, I've never even attempted one. Moving on, Justin changes the Devils' home jersey to black, which I'm not necessarily in favor of, but surprisingly ok with...if that makes sense. I like the striping pattern on the arms.

Negatives: The trademarks were left on the logos. Those should be taken off. My favorite part of New Jersey's sets are the squared-off yokes, so I miss that aspect. I don't think the jersey needs striping to match the arms, but I think this is an instance where hem trim would be welcome, especially on the white jersey.

Overall: Kudos for finishing a series. (7.8/10)


Anaheim Ducks alternate concept - Christian L.


Positives: This is definitely nothing I've ever seen before. The striping is very eye-catching. I like the pattern itself. I'm not sold on the use of side panel striping, but It's not terrible.

Negatives: I really don't like the gold color for this alternate. It doesn't match the gold used on the logos, either. Two gold colors just don't work here. The orange doesn't have enough contrast against the light gold to be easily legible for the name/numbers. There are several areas where the striping and logos bleed off the template. The sleeve numbers also overlap onto the yoke. Execution definitely needs work here.

Overall: This is a creative idea, but the color, along with execution mistakes, drag this down. (6.5/10)


Louisville Bats concept - Jeff C.


Positives: There's some wild stuff going on here. That collar/yoke design is...bold. The arm striping isn't bad. Execution is pretty good.

Negatives: The collar/yoke design is just a little too out there for me. I think the name would be more easily readable in white. 

Overall: This is a fun concept. Would I want one? No, but I appreciate the creativity. (7/10)


Pittsburgh Penguins concept - Scott B.


Positives: This seems to be a mash-up of design elements from different decades. Scott uses the original color scheme, with striping reminiscent of the "robo-penguin" third from the mid-90s. There's even some gradient thrown into the logo for good measure.

Negatives: The shoulder patch is an arched Penguins wordmark. If you zoom in, there appears to be a blue gradient on it as well; not a fan of it. Stitching overlaps the white chest stripes. The letters representing the name on back are too close together.

Overall: Some creative elements here, but I would change some minor things. (7/10)


Arizona Coyotes concept - Coby S.


Positives: A wheat-colored alternate is a very intriguing notion for the new "Arizona" Cardinals. It's a notion I've only just started coming around to. 

Negatives: I don't like the striping. The colors do not work well together, in my opinion. There's just something about it that plays with my eyes in an uncomfortable way. I would prefer if this concept used the current color scheme, and used a Southwestern Native American tribal pattern in the striping, even if it was just subliminated.

Overall: I like the idea of a wheat alternate, I just think the striping colors need to be changed. (7.3/10)


2015 All-Star Game Concept - Mario A.


Positives: The All-Star Game uniforms from 1994-1997 were some of the most distinctive and memorable designs in the game's history. I think that this concept does improve in one way: the star design continues on the back instead of stopping at the yoke.

Negatives: This set doesn't need shoulder yokes. The yokes interfere with the star effect. Also, for a 2015 All-Star Game concept, you should use a Reebok Edge template. This would be pre-Edge, so they wouldn't use it. Also, the Reebok logo used on the back of the jersey is outdated.

Overall: I would like to see the old star jerseys back. If this were placed on Reebok Edge template, without the yokes, it could be a real winner. (7.5/10)


That's all for today's concepts. If you have something to add to my assessments, or disagree with my opinions, let us know your thoughts. Today is the deadline for voting on the finalists in the NHA Redesign Competition, so get yours in now. Of course, don't forget to vote for COTW nominees next week. If you didn't vote this week, I'm embarrassed for you. Do better!

 Hope you enjoyed the post. See you all back here tomorrow at the same time!

3 comments:

Mario Ardais said...

Steven T's Team Canada concept for COTY.

Kris Knudsen said...

Congrats on having your concepts come to life!!!! That's every concept artists dream and very few obtain it, and might I say those are some mighty fine looking jerseys too!!

winnipegjets96 said...

Spezza's loss is Nashville's gain. The Preds should go after some of the Jets pieces like Buffs. Congrats on reworking the Riverkings to look amazing!