The NHL's Jets have come back home to Winnipeg. Living in Phoenix, which inherited the previous Jets team from that city, I was glad to see that NHL hockey has returned. I am from OH, and I know what it's like to have a local professional team pick up and leave. Anyway, congrats, Winnipegers - let's have a look at your team's logos.
To the right you’ll see Winnipeg’s new logos (excluding logo #1). What do think?
For my part, I feel that the new Jets logos are a lot like any roster on an NHL team, there are good players and, well…not so good players. On a design level, let’s take a look at the “starting line up”:
1 – The classic Jets logo. I never felt this logo was especially good or bad. It’s clean, and I suppose you can sort of make out the “J” being a hockey stick. I like the typeface they’ve used – I’ve never seen it before. Still, the whole thing looks unfinished to me. Why not put a silhouette of the city in the white space below the word “Jets”? The designer could have added a maple leaf or even pilots’ wings to the design (see #4). To bring in more detail, and to tie the logo more with hockey, the designer could have simulated some athletic tape on the “J,” or hockey stick. Personally, I might have used a white stroke around the “J” and “S” letters, so they stand out a little better (as they cross the red circle in the background). I see they’ve added the red shadow effect, but I am not sure it works.
Lastly, the designer could…I mean should have done a lot better with the graphic of the jet, did this person get an online graphic design degree? I am not sure what that little red phallic shape is on the left hand side, but it doesn’t look like any jet I’ve ever seen before. In Western society, most of us see going left to right as moving forward – this jet is going from right to left, so it looks like it’s going backwards. Grade: C+
2 – Plain maple leaf…I mean plane on top of maple leaf. This logo is the worst of the lot. I understand the tie-in to the Canadian Air Force, but it just doesn’t work. Unlike the classic logo (previously mentioned), I can see the object on top is a jet, but it looks slapped on to the maple leaf. It almost looks like the designer came up with the 3 circles in the back, added a maple leaf and thought, “Hmm, there’s not enough here…I have to add something else.” So she or he plunked a jet on top of the maple leaf. Voilà! This would be like making a pickle, peanut butter and pacific cod sandwich: while each of these elements might be good in their own right, it’s a mess when you try to combine them. Nothing in this logo seems to go together; it just looks like a bunch of stuff mashed together - another Frankenstein experiment gone horribly wrong. Grade: D-
3 – This attempt falls into “okay” category. It’s neither good, nor horrifically bad – it just looks unfinished. The “Jets” typeface could work, but I’d like to see a little more thickness to the letters (the blue, rather than the white and gray strokes). Unfortunately, this treatment doesn’t suggest anything about hockey or about the Canadian Air Force (jets). When I first looked at the logo it immediately reminded me of the Labatt Blue and Molson beer logos. Yes, I recognize that for some Canadians, the maple leaf is a symbol of national pride, but I can’t help but wonder if the designer could have come up with something slightly more original. After all, don’t the Toronto Maple Leafs have…well, a maple leaf in their logo? As a final point, and perhaps you’ll agree with me, the whole thing looks off-balance to me. Grade: C-
4 – Finally, some light at the end of the tunnel – I think this logo shows some promise. I know, we’ve seen this type of treatment before, but it works. Wayne Gretsky had a logo designed for him a while back that looks strikingly similar to this one…hmmm, makes me wonder if the designer “borrowed” it. I’d like to see the designer increase the size of the maple leaf in the middle. I’d also like to see the top white banner overlap with wings graphic. Lastly, I’d like to see a better treatment on the words “Winnipeg” and “Jets” – they don’t look like they fit within the logo. Oh…and again, in order to really illustrate that those are hockey sticks in the logo (instead of a funky looking “J” and “L”), I’d like to see a subtle hint of athletic tape on the blade of the stick. Google “hockey tape on stick” if you are unsure to what I am referring. Grade: B to B+
5 – See previous comments about making “J” look more like a hockey stick and jet not really looking like a jet. That said, I think the designer chose a nice typeface, and the words do flow nicely together. The text is the best part of this logo, although I might suggest adding a stroke or two behind the text to add a little more visual punch. The logo implies motion/action and it is going left to right, so it has a few things going for it. Still, the logo looks unnecessarily busy and a little distracting to me. I am guessing the top and bottom red swooshes were incorporated to add more of a “moving fast” feel, but they look out of place to me. I wonder if the designer combined the text treatment on this logo with some of the design elements in number 4 – she or he might have a winner. Remove all of the distracting elements and incorporate a slightly more recognizable jet icon and this logo might work. Grade: C+
So how’d I do? Do you agree with my assessments or have I been hit in the head with a puck too many times in my life (after all, I was a goaltender in hockey for a number of years). Grade for me: C- to D+
Everyone, including me, has an opinion about design – what do you think?
PS – I recognize that it’s a little late to say it, but in fairness to all of the designers that created these logos, we (including me) should all recognize that it’s easier to criticize than create.