Saturday, February 25, 2012

Concepts: "B Inspired"

The folks over at Minneapolis-based design firm BAKER have been experimenting with concept uniforms for NFL clubs, anticipating the switchover to Nike.

Here's their Packer concept, created by Steve Wåhlin:

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!

I'd like to look at each of his concepts individually, beginning with his blue and gold primary uniform.

Obviously, I love the shout-out to all of the Packers' glorious past; one of the problems with the team wearing Lombardi's uniform today is that it reinforces the notion that the NFL started with the Super Bowl.

I'm also a huge fan of the shoulder yoke, a classic Lambeau-era look that still works today in this era of disappearing sleeves. A classic look that fits with modern uniform construction, and that's a rarity. The jersey numbers are a bit too close to the Rams; I'd rather see a right-angle block in an additional shout-out to Lambeau's uniform.

Putting the TV numbers on the compression sleeves is a nice touch. For 3½ years I've been advocating moving the Packers' distinctive stripes there, but never the TV numbers.

I will admit a partiality to Lambeau's color scheme over Lombardi's. I do recognize that I am in the minority here, and understand that the chromatic uniqueness of the Green and Gold is worth preserving. With that in mind, his alternate uniform, featuring a variant on the Packers' current color scheme, would work well today.

The modified helmet logo doesn't quite work for me. I appreciate the idea behind it, and I like the more elongated version worn by the Packers in the early 1960s. But this is a bit too aggressive, trying too hard.

So I like the primary concept a lot. The alternate uniform also shows a lot of promise.

Always interesting to see the "Holstein Heisman" logo in action. It has never been a regular part of the Packers' uniform, but has seen an uptick in modern use.

I'd hate for the Packers to drop their famous Braisher stripes, but a pair of simple gold stripes on green is a fantastic look, hearkening back not only to 1940s look above but also the socks worn by the team during the Lindy Infante era.

Not sure about the reasoning behind the number of stripes:
the total number of uniform stripes is 13—the Packers’ total number of NFL championships.
That's fine, Steve, but what are you going to do when they win their 14th next year?

There is one element that I think the Packers should adopt immediately; the metallic-flake gold helmet.

This manages to combine the classic athletic gold color with a metallic finish. Modern, but similar enough that the Packers could adopt this helmet with the same ease they went to "pearlized" shells in 2001. Perhaps this is something Hydro Graphics Inc. could provide, if they expand their NFL offerings. It would be a perfect opportunity for the Packers to branch out into a metallic helmet without losing their visual legacy.

All in all, very well done. A very fun concept, something from which the Packers could learn. I'd love to see that helmet under a clear November Wisconsin sky.


Johnny O said...

LOVE the use of the Holstein Heisman! Did I come up with that, or did I get that from you? Nevertheless... these concepts are actually pretty damn good.

- Johnny O

Lynn Dickey 12 said...

Vince Lombardi selected the color scheme and look of the present uniforms. The team has brought home 7 championships in them.

Most NFL uniforms have the team name written under the shield at the bottom of the V neck. The Packers' doesn't...because everyone KNOWS it's the Packers uniform...they DON'T need to be told. They change into these unis and I'll have to be told by someone that these aren't the Oregon Ducks.

Other traditions can change, but there's no reason on God's green earth to modify the uniforms.

Chance Michaels said...

Don't know, Johnny O. I'm happy to share the credit. ;)

Chance Michaels said...

Lynn, I can think of one reason to modify the Packers' uniforms - Vince's stripes no longer fit on the modern cut's sleeves.

But this was offered more in a "what if"? vein. I think it's fun to speculate, and appreciate his designs.

Johnny O said...

On September 14, 2010 I did indeed dub it "Holstein Heisman":

John said...
What a great post about such an amazing find. Leave it to the readers on Uni Watch to come up with this gem.

As far as re-naming this logo, the only thought I had was "Holstein Heisman". "Holstein" obviously referring to the cows that make up Wisconsin's Dairy State image.

Great job again.

SEPTEMBER 14, 2010 11:56 PM
Chance Michaels said...

I like "Holstein Heisman," but I;d really like to find a term which doesn't actually reference the Heisman. The logo needs a proper name, and I don't see the Packers adopting one that incorporates a protected term.

Keep the suggestions coming!

I wasn't accusing you of anything, but wanted to recall if I thought of it or not.

Getting back to this article... I agree 100% with you Chance. These speculations are at least well thought out and done well. I NEVER want the pack to change anything ever, and I REALLY hate it when teams put a logo or wordmark under the neck of the uniform. I wouldn't mind the Pack adopting the compression sleeves to bring the stripes back.

Chance Michaels said...

Cool - I will gladly cede origination of the term to you, Johnny.

I'm keeping "Braisher Stripes" for myself, though. ;)

Anonymous said...

These uniforms are beautiful. I would love to see any one of them on the field immediately. I especially love the solid gold helmet. It's time for an update.