￼When the Superbowl ended, so too did Reebok’s decade long uniform deal with the NFL. As Nike takes the reins in 2013, a few of our designers speculate on what their beloved teams might become in the not so distant future.
INSPIRED BY THE NFL
With last nights Giants defeat of the New England Patriots, the NFL’s 2011/2012 season officially came to a close and so too did the decade long epoch of Reebok’s reign over NFL garb. With the dawn of the 2013 season comes the much anticipated switch-over of NFL uniforms contracts to apparel juggernaut NIke. While Nike has made epic changes to many college programs’ uniforms over the past couple years, the evolution in NFL apparel has remained relatively idle.
So what should we expect when Nike takes the reins? Like many sports fans out there our passionate pigskin onlookers have been eagerly anticipating the unveiling with bated breath (rumored to be occurring in April). Meanwhile Nike, in typical Nike fashion, is not shying away from the hype — actively advertising big changes to come, touting that “pro football is about to hit a wall of wicked” and releasing their next generation of NFL Nike cleats, gloves and base layer gear.
VIDEO: Nike Football Epic Transformation (Did you catch that skull emblem?)
Naturally all this talk over making big changes got a few of our designers talking which, also as usual, got them putting some of their thoughts down in pixel form, just for a little creative fun. What follows are 4 answers from 3 of our designers to the question “if it were up to you, what might your hometown franchise look like?”
Trent Johnson @trentjdesign
To begin with I really didn’t want to drastically alter the look of the team I’ve happily spent so many Sunday afternoons rooting for — I know it’s a major concern of many fans that “big changes” means flashy or flamboyant uniforms like some college programs have taken on in their Nike era redesigns, but i have great faith in the historical introspection and reverence I see in many of the more tradition-laden Nike reworkings.
To me the Vikings have always been one of the few teams that manages to utilize their helmet in an interesting and narrative-enriching way. I’ve always loved those powerful horn adorned helmets and I wouldn’t change a thing, except maybe the helmet they’re applied to (think less shiny high-gloss, more lustrous sheen). Second, as long as I can remember, my beloved “purple people eaters” have seemed to be a mismatch of two-toned inconsistency — dark bluey-purple helmets with a shinier, warmer toned jerseys depending on lighting conditions. I’d play up the two-toned purple color scheme in a more consistent, intentional way — dark purple in the sleeves and a truer purple on the torso with precision cut lettering in a customized inline version of the font stratum (locally designed by Minnesota’s very own Process Type Foundry and already a favorite of Nike’s designers). Third I’d swap the standard goldenrod yellow for a buffer, blondish-gold in an effort to play up the nordic heritage of the treasure seeking conquerors from which we take our moniker. In a similar effort the pants could also change, I think, to a ominously-dark battle armor grey, solidifying the warrior mentality within the club. Last, I’d give the franchise a sharper, slightly more aggressive logo, not to take the place of the illustrative Viking graphic that currently exists, but to upgrade the typographic stylings and give the club a modernized alternate mark. Skol Vikings! Mike Tophen
The Vikings were explorers, merchants and warriors. This redesign was meant to evoke the grit and toughness associated with their lives. The familiar color palette of purple and gold is desaturated, much like the color tones from the testosterone filled war epic “300.” The gold is a more metallic gold and the purple is unexpected and battle worn. The new Vikings logo type and number system are reminiscent of the runic alphabets found in old viking inscriptions and stone carvings. The iconic Viking Horn with updated colors remains on the helmet. The last piece of equipment place on before entering battle. Go Vikes!
Steve Wåhlin @SteveWahlin
I took two different approaches with this exercise: one forward-looking and one looking back to the past, but both firmly rooted in tradition. With the first design, I modernized the classic navy blue and gold color scheme that was a hallmark of the Packers first 40 years. On the jersey, the shoulder yoke pays homage to the classic Packer uniform of the 1940s. Overall, the yellow has been replaced with a true metallic gold. For a more contemporary typographic look, I turned to Champion bold; which is very readable and masculine, yet has some pleasing subtleties in the numerals. And finally, the G helmet logo—originally intended to mimic a football before it morphed into its current oval shape—has been streamlined back into a more meaningful, aggressive shape.
The NFL now advocates the use of a “third jersey” for special matchups or holiday games. Here, I’ve proposed a scheme where the navy blue in the entire uniform is replaced with the traditional Packer green. It’s no mistake that this is very much like the color palette of Notre Dame; Packers founder Curly Lambeau intentionally based his team’s color scheme on that of his alma mater, including using green and gold intermittently during his tenure as coach.
This last design has a throwback feel, but it does not specifically mimic any Packer uniform of the past. There are elements from a number of designs: the brown pants of the 1920s, clean yellow stripes from the 1950s; the white lettering and vintage Running Packer logo from the 1960s. But a lot of things have been simplified and rationalized. The helmet stripes have been reduced to one simple green line. The arm stripes have moved to the undershirt and simplified into 4 equal lines to represent the Packers’ four Superbowl wins. The 2 yellow stripes on each of the socks symbolizes the Packers’s wins in the first two Superbowls; and the total number of uniform stripes is 13—the Packers’ total number of NFL championships. The classic yellow color is still present but it is given a metallic sheen on the helmet, gloves and shoes. Go Pack Go!