Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New Winnipeg Jets logos are just plane plain

Logical. Corporate. Practical. Sober.

Sorry, what was I saying? I dozed off.

As every Winnipegger knows by now, the new Winnipeg Jets logos are a joint venture between True North, the Canadian Armed Forces, the Toronto Maple Leafs, Reebok, Don Cherry, Casey Anthony, Amy Winehouse, Rupert Murdoch, the accounting firm of PriceWaterhouse, a panel of experts, lovers, dreamers, and stakeholders.

All designs have constraints by definition, but ask any advertiser: when you seek agreement from everyone, you end up with something that's for no one.

To me, the new Jets logos are offensive in their inoffensiveness, as corporate and bland as "I'm lovin' it."

Counterargument: "But the city has been waiting for the NHL to return for so long, we shouldn't complain about a logo." As true as True North. There is so much goodwill for this brand's return, most fans seem to be in the "the logo is growing on me" camp (yeah: like a fungus!).

It makes sense, because everyone wants to love the logos as much as they love the team's return.

I remember wanting to love Star Wars: Episode I after a long Star Wars drought, but sooner or later, even I had to admit that Jar Jar is an arsehole. But if Episode I taught me one thing it's that it's better to fall in love with the Force than to use the Force to force yourself to fall in love with the Force. Or something.

A brief summary of my beefs:

1. Where there's a stick, there's a J. 

When the hockey team kept the name, it was a nod to tradition, and the fans loved it.

Why not a similar nod to tradition in the logo?

Yes, the old logo was in need of an upgrade, but I would've still tipped my hat to tradition in terms of one element: the J.

For years, every hockey fan in Winnipeg has stared at that old Jets logo with lust in their hearts, hoping that the team would one day return and be called the Winnipeg Jets. But while they stared at that logo, they made an association: "J" = hockey stick.

So update the logo, but come on - we know the J in Jets is just as much a hockey stick as the last two Ls in Hell.

2. Where's the emotion?

The new logos are fitting in the sense that they remind me of True North itself, which brought our hockey team back by being quiet and corporate and not drawing too much attention to itself. 

But people don't fall in love with "corporate" - even corporations know they can't be corporations, which is how we ended up with the Apple logo (thank you, Beatles), the Nike swoosh, and the Disney mouse, whatever his name is.

So give us something that touches our hearts, not our minds. Yes, the logos make sense intellectually, but they're as emotionally stale as that crusty Danish in your kitchen. And if Lars doesn't leave your kitchen soon, I'd call the cops.

3. Where's the depth?

San Jose knew the shark was just lying there - all dead and flat.

So they made it come to life by getting it to swim off the shirt, all badass 3D-style.
Is our jet allowed to fly anywhere? Or can it only stay grounded on that skin-tight Speedo with the Canadian maple leaf on the crotch?

If you have to make it a jet, make it a badass stealth fighter that drops heat-seeking hockey sticks on your arse before disappearing into the night.

4. We already have a hockey team called the Maple Leafs.

So, make like a tree...and get that maple leaf outta there.

Is there something more Winnipeg-based you could put on that shirt? You can put a Cheese Nip in its place, for all I care: but the maple leaf is taken by the very city Winnipeggers pride themselves on not being.


Oh, True North: we wanted logo love, and you gave us the business. We'll get over it. One day.


  1. Yes, we will get over it...

    When the logo is redesigned. Five years tops.

  2. I very much disagree. I find it very clean and very sexy. The jet to me is very cool. I truly believe that sometimes simple is much better from a marketing perspective.

    The tie in with the armed forces is beyond brilliant. I have had people from the military all over Canada email me and tell me how much they like it.

    It was damned if they do and damed if they dont. Short of bringing back the exact same logo, there will be many complainers.

    I am not a huge fan of the Chipman family, however, this time around well done to MC.

  3. My initial reaction was that the logo is kind of boring. A little bit of time and it has grown on me.

    Honestly I hated pretty much all of the concepts that flew around out there. I didn't mind the two by the British dude (particularly the alternate), but I hated the rest.

    My biggest worry is that I would hate this one too. I don't. It is clean and simple. I also think it looks better embroidered than it does on a computer monitor.

    The problem with going with something like a bad ass fighter or taking it to a new extreme is that it runs the risk of alienating more people. There is something to be said about playing is safe.

    The arguments I have heard against this jersey are:

    a) Too military (I think this won more hearts than it lost)
    b) Too simple (Less logo to mess up)
    c) It isn't the old logo (These people were going to hate anything new)
    d) It looks like a Maple Leafs logo (It doesn't at all and the jerseys won't either)

    There are a couple little tweaks that could have been made, but the 65% approval is better than I thought any new logo would receive.

    All in all not bad.

    Also I think you are off base about the "J" hockey stick. They wanted to create a new logo. If they incorporated elements of the old ones it would have given people more reason to complain about change.

    History aside... The new Jets logo is nicer that most around the league and maybe even the old Jets logo.

    It will grow on people quickly.

  4. I agree that the logo is definitely lacking in punch. However, I think it can still be saved by an outstanding sweater design.

    Get those winged logos on the shoulders, make good use of colour, and put the flashiness that is lacking in the logo itself, into the sweater design.

    I mean, look at the Canadiens logo. Granted, Original Six teams are sort of exempt from the "boring logo" argument, but a logo is just something that eventually becomes secondary to the team itself, the players, and the passion, which is the way it should be.

    We're only being so judgmental of the logo right now because it's a time filler until our season gets underway!

  5. I think we have one of the worst logos in the NHL right now. I agree - it's too "corporate" and completely bland.

    My first impression upon seeing the logo was that the jet looked grounded. People have told me that we're supposed to get the impression that it's soaring above us but I'm just not seeing it. A jet on the ground is not dynamic in the least.

    It's grown on me a little bit, but only in the sense that I've gone from loathing it to just plain disliking it. I'm eager for a redesign already.

    One can be happy that the NHL has returned and still hate the logo. I'm hoping to go to a few games, but you'll never see me wearing anything with the new Jets logo.

  6. JT there won't be a ton of colour on the sweater design. It will be navy with silver and powder blue stripes.

    Chipman also said there will be no red apart form the leaf.

    These concept jerseys are true to that description and IMO they look gorgeous!

  7. I was in love with Fraser Davidson's proposed designs for the team...and I still am. The main thing that caught my attention? Proper type. Clean, easy to read and see, and has a retro vibe. The whole design feels a little retro, and I like that.

    I'm not even a big hockey fan and I would never really buy Jets merch but if Davidson's designs were the actual team logo, I would have bought some stuff.

    Exactly as you said, the new logo is boring. I feel bored just looking at it. Boring design is rarely good. And the hurts my eyes. Probably some of the worst type design I've seen recently.

  8. I'm not sure how I'd feel about a clean logo and such a clean sweater design. Get a zig or a zag in there somewhere.

    I knew it would only be the navy blue, white and silver being used, but I hope they make good use of white as an accent to liven things up a little bit.

    But as I said, a logo is secondary to the simple fact that the NHL is back in Winnipeg! I will soak up the merch and wear it every second day simply because I am proud as **** of what Mark Chipman and TNSE managed to bring back into my life.

  9. I posted this on G + but the discussion isn't really flowing there. Lol..

    I keep hearing bland.. While the logo may not be mind blowingly detailed, is it really more bland than the logos of the (no particular order):
    1) Flames
    2) Oilers
    3) Lightning
    4) Bruins
    5) Blue Jackets
    6) Maple Leafs
    7) Canadians
    8) Blues
    9) Islanders
    10) Ducks
    11) Kings
    12) Rangers
    13) Flyers
    14) Capitals
    15) Stars
    16) Devils
    17) Red Wings
    18) Avelanche
    19) Hurricanes
    20) Senators (Maybe not bland, but UGLY)

    That would put our logo in the top 10 Least Bland in the league.

    Give it some time to sink in. Wait till you see the jerseys. I think expectations are a little out of whack here...

    Home many NHL logos really look good blown up on a wall with no back ground?

  10. Personally, I wouldn't measure something's success against the failures of its peers. It devalues what you're trying to do.

    I'm a student, and it would be like me saying, hypothetically, that all these people in class got a 5/10, but I got a 6/10 and so that's good enough. Well no, not for me. I don't care if everyone else got a 5/10, I'm going to strive for a 10/10 every time.

    I think some great designs were submitted, and ultimately True North went with one that, IMO, missed the mark.

  11. littlebluerobot

    I hear what you are saying. I just think expectations are a little out of line. It is a company logo, it is not a piece of art for the wall. No sports logo is. That was my point.

    Even if this logo could have been better, I would still easily place among top 5 in the league and top two in Canada.

    I also looked at pretty much every logo concept that was created in the lead up and only liked the two by the British dude and one other one that looked similar to the final design.

    I generally don't like cartoony logos.

    A logo that was in my top 3 out of maybe 100 submitted is fine by me.

    Ultimately it all comes down to personal preference.

  12. Would you rather have had this? ;)

    In all honesty, it doesn't jump or scream or fly, but neither do the Red Wings, Bruins, Flyers, and Kings logos, off the top of my head.

    And seeing a logo they'd had planned for the team they were GOING to name before coming to their senses, this one is a HUGE improvement.

  13. One final note - I remember more people being upset when the Jets went to the "dog penis" logo in the early 90's. As soon as we got to see it on the ice, most everyone grew to love it.

    History repeats itself. This one will take root.

    And yes, it was a dog's unit. Take a closer look.

  14. Love the post Kenton. Don't necessarily agree, but I am not arguing with an advertising/marketing guru like yourself. I am not suggesting True North made the logo bland on purpose, but if Chipman could have picked his own name for the new Winnipeg NHL franchise I think the logo would have been more exciting. He was almost forced to pick the Jets and then was limited to the design. As soon as I heard the team was being named the Jets I predicted this would be happen. "You can't please all the people all the time . . ." and all those people are in Winnipeg lol!

  15. Love the discussion here. Thanks, all! I think, as Bryan says, we'll get a new design within five years.

    I agree: it's better to have a team than to not have a team - but I just wish that the logo would have made everyone jump up and down with glee as much as the "they're coming back" and "name" announcements did.

  16. I do have to say that I'm very curious to see what people think about the logo once we see it on the ice, and in a year from now.

    Logos are so based on personal taste that it's never possible to please everyone. But the aim should always be to create something with legs and something that most of your audience will stand behind. I don't think they've done that. There are vocal opinions on both sides, but most of what I've seen has been overwhelmingly negative.

    Some people do take issue with the fact that the logo "glorifies" the military by being based on actual military logos. I don't hold that opinion, but I certainly understand why people would feel that way. One way to avoid that backlash would have been to use a slightly more generic image of a jet - as opposed to one that looks very much like a F-35.

    But - as I said, you can't please everyone, and TNSE must have known that this logo would risk alienating people who would be offended by its military connotations.

  17. "I just wish that the logo would have made everyone jump up and down with glee as much as the "they're coming back" and "name" announcements did."

    Kenton, I can't imagine a single logo that could possibly have achieved that - even keeping one of the logos already used. It's diminishing returns. The announcement was tops - there's no way that anyone can disagree with getting a team back. The name thing was slightly less in excitement as personal choice and opinion sets in - some wanted a fresh start but for the most part, calling them the Jets just felt right. The logo could never reach that magnitude as there is just too much variance in taste, personal opinion, etc.

    Like anything visual, the logo will be cemented as we see it on the ice, front pages of newspapers, etc.

  18. an artist and logo designer myself, i can't say i'm impressed at all. I had seen the logo about a month before it was officially announced. I work for a company that was bidding on the cresting order. Almost everyone here did not like it at all !! I agree with you Kenton, in that they should have kept the "J" and worked around that. A revamping of the older logos would have been good, just need to find the right font and tweak it to suit...( the Blue Jays found a great font that worked for them )and a small jet as before. An open contest would have been ideal......LOTS of ideas...

  19. "And seeing a logo they'd had planned for the team they were GOING to name before coming to their senses, this one is a HUGE improvement."

    ???? Care to expand on that?

  20. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  21. Kenton, I couldn't agree more with your observations. I'm not particularly excited by the new logo. I saw a slightly enhanced design suggestion for the primary logo that added, in the blue circle, "Winnipeg" at the bottom and white lines to the top left and top right areas and it looked considerably better. I saw one TNSE submission that had 3 jets soaring in a stealth-like fashion and it looked completely awesome.

    I do prefer the secondary logo with the wings and hockey sticks much better than the primary logo. It seems to tie hockey, air force and team name more subtly together. Having family roots to the RCAF, I'd prefer to buy their merchandise and support them directly than sport a slightly altered logo for a sports team.

    However, with curiosity to see the new merchandise, my sister and I spent time at River City Sports last weekend. The primary logo on its own just didn't grab us. We walked out with a t-shirt of the original Jets logo, and will wait to see if something more jazzy comes to market, including next year's third jersey design.

    As others have said, we will cheer for the team and delight in having a franchise back. With respect to other team logos, I consider Montreal, Detroit & Edmonton's logos iconic.

  22. Donovan,

    Here's the submission that would have had me jumping up and down:

    Perhaps there are others that would have been equally compelling to the public.

  23. At first I was okay with the logo.

    Now, as time passes, I like it less and less.

    I think many people feel the same way as I do, including our saviour MC himself.
    Hence I agree with Bryan - the logo will be redesigned sooner rather than later.

  24. I am so sick and tired of hearing/reading anti-military people whine about the Jets logo. War machine? Really? Canada's military? You're kidding me right? Canada's military is a peacekeeping force at best. And as for Afghanistan, when you've been raped and tortured like women and children there instead of drinking your Tim Horton's coffee and sitting back in your comfortable easy chair, then you can comment about the military being in Afghanistan. I don't like the logo either... it's not visually appealing to me. But thousands of fans seem to like it so, whatever.


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