A lot has been said about the new logo design for the Winnipeg Jets hockey team. Much of it not very good. I won’t bother rehashing any of it here though. But I have to admit, we could have probably done better.

Or could we?

I’ve been thinking of this a lot lately since I received an official Jets hoody for Christmas, and I have to admit, it looks pretty good on the merchandise.

And that got me to thinking.

I have no idea who designed the logo. Sounds like it was somebody at Reebok. And while it is pretty disappointing that a designer from Winnipeg didn’t get to do the design (and there’s plenty of talent in this city) what’s done is done, and I’d rather critique the logo based on it’s own merits rather than some sour grapes on behalf of a jilted Winnipeg design community. Of which I am a part of.

So, if an apparel manufacturer like Reebok is calling the shots on the design and ASSUMING that a big part of the mandate for this logo is to sell, sell, sell, merch. And that merch is mainly going to be on massively overpriced jerseys, shirts, hats and the like, then it had better look it’s best in that light. Both technically and aesthetically. And I’d also assume a designer at Reebok (or a similar company) would have a far better idea of what that would be than a more general purpose designer working in an agency somewhere.

I can back this up a bit in my experiences in my own work. I work for a company that produces lottery tickets. The scratch and win variety. And we always have a great deal of problems from artwork that originates from outside the company. There’s plenty of things that goes on in general graphic design that just won’t work on a scratch ticket. Either the flexographic printing process used to manufacture the tickets won’t reproduce that artwork properly (if at all), or the very nature of lottery tickets make a lot of design choices that are quite popular a bad idea. Complex or muted colors in process, blech. Small fine type, especially serif fonts, double blech. Thin lines (and I’m talking anything less than 1.5 to 2 points) , especially trap lines, you guess it, blech. The list goes on. I won’t bore you with the details.

But my point is basically this, is the Jets logo an example of what happens when you create a graphic that is designed for a very specific purpose and is reproduced using tools and products that many modern designers might consider primitive and limiting? That logo may look hum-ho on a business card but it looks pretty sharp on my hoody. And it was the version of the logo I hate the most in print (the wordmark) that is on my new piece of clothing.

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