Rebranding an NFL Team
Taking Chances on Bold New Designs
Brand launches are about taking a chance. Creative professionals diligently research and carefully plan, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Reimagined colors, a tweaked logo, and attention-seeking uniforms can either lead to fired-up fans or a public relations nightmare. The key is to balance tradition and modernity deftly.
“This is the first time the Jets are changing their brand and how they communicate to fans in really a generation,” said James Carmichael, the NFL’s brand director. “So, it was really important to get this right. You want to make sure you’re doing your due diligence exploring all your options to truly make sure that it fits who they are and who they want to be as a brand.”
How Design Teams Balance Tradition and Modernity
Brand redesigns like this require a lot of late-night coffee runs, trial-and-error, and hard questions. Do we want to throw out the past and start fresh? How important is the logo? Creative teams must start from the beginning and work their way to the end stages of the project. Great creative professionals’ bread and butter lies in their ability to balance design acumen and their client’s needs.
For the Jets, it all came down to tradition. As one of the oldest NFL franchises, New York had to consider how their brand redesign would be perceived. Fortunately, nostalgia is strong with football fans, and the foundation of the Jets’ redesign plans lay in homage to the past. The Jets opted for an approach that harkened back to the Joe Namath days. Once the Jets settled on basic color and logo ideas, they moved the project on to Nike’s creative team, who executed the brand and came up with the final design.
Collaboration is critical; any creative professional will tell you that. But nailing the final design is vital. The brand refresh wasn’t just for the players’ helmets and uniforms, or visors and hats for the coaching staff, NFL marketing and official team materials reflect the changes. It had to be perfect.
The Jets picked up where the 1960s and 70s left off, especially when it came to the uniform colors and the helmet’s logo. The design team kept the current typeset but fixed unusual type elements and ditched the strange use of negative space around the word ‘Jets.’
Hunter green and white are gone. In their place, comes Gotham Green and Spotlight White, as well as a Stealth Black alternate uniform. You can’t find these elements anywhere else. Gotham Green’s unique shade was developed just for the Jets.
Taking Design Concepts and Applying Them to Apparel
Beyond colors, the Jets were conscious of how to present the team on the uniform. The design team opted for a bold, reinterpretation by placing “NEW YORK” across the chest of all three uniform variations. The team paid tribute to classic Jets uniform designs, blazing speed, and constant movement with the “Jet Edge” design on the shoulder pads. Even if you’re not creating brand-new NFL uniforms, understanding how shapes and colors communicate is a crucial design skill.
“We wanted to create something that we think today’s fans and traditional fans will like, and something that the players will like,” team president Neil Glat told The Associated Press. “And we also kind of were looking for that gritty, resilient New York City-area look.”
DesignIQ Can Help with Your Next Overhaul
Capturing the essence of a brand, whether it’s a professional football team or a small business, means understanding how consumers view that brand. It’s only then that creative teams can move forward. DesignIQ does this each day. The creative process takes time, but the result is always worth it. Contact us today to get started on your sweeping redesign.
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Congrove, Matthew. “It’s Hard to be Green.” Brand New, UnderConsideration LLC, 8 April 2019, underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/new_logo_and_uniforms_for_new_york_jets.php.
Landis, Olivia, and Eric Allen, and Randy Lange. “Take Flight: New Jets Uniforms Another Symbol of a New Era.” New York Jets, New York Jets, 4 April 2019, newyorkjets.com/news/take-flight-new-jets-uniforms-another-symbol-of-a-new-era.
Waszak Jr, Dennis. “Jets latest NFL team to tackle meticulous rebranding process.” AP News, The Associated Press, 5 April 2019, apnews.com/428e3a8d51c34011ba2fcdf926d9130e.