Thursday, September 24, 2009

"G" Whiz

Today in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jim Stingl's column features an interesting article on a proposed overhaul of the Packers' iconic helmet logo from Charlie Radtke (pictured) of Milwaukee's own Phoenix Marketing Group:

Pitch for new Packers logo faces tough defense

The Green Bay Packers are not - I repeat, are not - thinking about changing their logo or tweaking the team colors.

But Milwaukee marketing executive Charlie Radtke believes it couldn't hurt.

"I think a little freshening up, a little face lift, might be a good idea," he said.

That's probably what Cher and Joan Rivers said in the beginning, too. I cautioned Charlie that this could be like depicting Jesus with a new hairstyle.

"I don't want to see torches and pitchforks, angry villagers, that kind of thing. It's just really an idea I've had for a few years," said the longtime owner of Phoenix Marketing Group, who is perhaps best known for the Sprecher beer logo.

He drew up some Packers designs and sent them to mostly sports writers and announcers. No one paid much attention until I called him back.

He asked me to let you see them. Feel free to tell me what you think. Or you can give feedback to Charlie directly at

Central to his idea is adding a B to the iconic G, which showed up on Packers helmets in 1961 and remains there today.

"The G that everybody is familiar with, it really doesn't stand for Green Bay. It really kind of stands for Green. Like the New York Giants don't have an N and the San Francisco 49ers don't have an S. They've got both letters on there," Charlie said, as we looked at his designs on the dining room table of his south side home.

Then there's the green and gold. Charlie would like to see a bluer green, something closer to the Philadelphia Eagles hue. And he favors a true gold over the current mustard, or, if you prefer, and I'm pretty sure you don't, baby-poop yellow.

Ron Wolf, the Packers' former general manager, proposed messing with the colors in the mid-1990s, but it went nowhere. You may know that the Packers used to wear blue and gold many decades ago.

The Lambeau Field denizens don't think anything is broken or in need of fixing.

"As you know, the logo is one of the most recognizable and passionately followed team logos in all of professional sports," said Packers spokesman Aaron Popkey.

Over the years, hundreds of fans and entrepreneurs have approached the Packers with ideas for new logos, colors, jerseys and products, he said.

Charlie is quick to point out that he's a Packer fan and well aware of the team's deep-down tradition around here.

"If the fans say no, absolutely not, I'll respect that," he said.

The video is here, and here are Radtke's three designs (click for larger):

So he wants fan response, does he? Well, this is as good a place as any. Please leave your comments, and I'll see what we can do about joining the conversation.

For my own part, I'm completely in agreement with Radtke on a few points, such as the single "G". "GB" just makes more sense. Of these, I'm rather partial to the bottom version, being the most similar to the current logo. It also fits the oval better - the other two have too much green space above and below, the initials not being fully integrated into the design. And is that middle one Copperplate?

I'd rather use the club's 1960s secondary logo as a springboard:

Hard to improve on Dad Braisher's original designs.

And while I've no problem with metallic gold replacing the athletic gold, I couldn't disagree more with changing the green. To my eye, the Eagles lost something when they moved from kelly green to their current ugly midnight-ish shade. There's an historical precedent for the Packers in bluish green going back to the 1950s, but forest green is a strong, bold color and ought remain.

So there you have it. Not opposed to a re-design, like the idea of using both initials, but not sold on these. But then again, take my opinion with a grain of salt. I'm probably the only Packer fan who was disappointed when Ron Wolf pulled the plug on his 1994 uniform redesign.


phamily said...

I am probably one of the only Packer fans who thinks the brand could use an update...note that I say update, and not overhaul, re-branding, or (gasp) redesign.

As a designer and design instructor, I have always tinkered with the idea of a Packer update that would maintain a strong nod to history and brand equity, while totally rethinking the "now."
Almost EVERY team in the NFL has done it.

GROUP 1:Drastic redesigns that overhauled:
Eagles, Ravens, Patriots, Jets (then back), Buccaneers,Titans, Bengals, and Broncos.

GROUP 2: Updates that keep with team traditional identity, but change design elements: Chargers, Cowboys, Falcons, Niners, Lions, Bears, Seahawks, Redskins (yikes), Rams)

GROUP 3: Updates that have been so subtle or incremental that they have avoided scrutiny: KC, Indy, Dolphins, Panthers, Vikes, Steelers, Saints, Pack)

The iconic elements would need to stay (green color, copyrighted "G" symbol)...but I think there is room to bring back the original Notre Dame roots (gold,navy) and perhaps fiddle with other elements to yield something more in line with the latter two groups.

(I do have some roughs btw:-)

Chance Michaels said...

Roughs? I would love to see them.

One minor quibble: I'd put the Vikings' new uniforms in Group 2, not 3 - with their jersey side panels and funky pants stripes, the change was more like the Bengals' overhaul than that of the Colts or Steelers.

I've long said that I'm the only Packer fan disappointed that Ron Wolf didn't pull the trigger on his 1994 re-design (which would have been a Group 2 by your definition). Maybe I'm not as alone in that as I thought?

The unfortunate fact is that the classic Packer jersey design just doesn't fit the modern template (and will be even worse when the new jerseys finally hit the field). Not only the sleeve stripes, but the neck stripes as well. I've previously advocated moving the sleeve stripes from the jersey to the compression undershirt, but could see them dropping the stripes altogether in favor of a solid green New York Football Giants-style jersey.

They could always add a logo patch to the chest if that's not considered sufficiently distinctive.

Anonymous said...

Don't Change Our Helmet Logo -- Instead, Let's Bring Back the Original, Designed by Dad Braisher in 1961!

The original Packers' logo of the 1960s -- indeed, the whole uniform, with its solid green jersey, stripes on sleeves and socks, gold pants, and assymetrical 'G' helmet logo, was the class of the NFL, and a true picture of beauty and magnificence.

Regarding the helmet logo, the best way to illustrate the difference is to show it. Here's the original logo, depicted in this photo of Bart Starr:

Notice, for starters, that the background is not an ellipse, but slightly pear-shaped, with the narrower end being near the front side of the helmet. Second, notice how the left side of the 'G is thickened and elongated to the left, filling in the background except for a very thin outline. Now, compare that logo to the current one, shown here in this photo of Aaron Rodgers:

Notice how the background has become a symmetrical ellipse, and how the left side of the 'G has been rounded off, making it look rather generic. Notice too how the 'G no longer hugs the border of the background, reducing its visual effect.

Of course, as mentioned, there have been other uniform changes over the years -- all of them, in my view, adding little but a gaudy brightness -- but none seems as unnecessary as the change in the helmet logo. Shouldn't we keep the same 'G' as was worn by Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor, Carroll Dale, Boyd Dowler, Ray Nitschke, Jerry Kramer and Herb Adderley? The 'G' that was good enough for Lombardi? The 'G' that was dynamic, beautiful, and the class of the NFL?

I miss that logo, and would love to hear comments. Thanks

Chance Michaels said...

Agreed, Anon. Agreed.