When you think of good mid-major aesthetics, what comes to mind?
For some, it’s the maroon and baby blue Loyola Marymount uniforms that Bo Kimble and Hank Gathers donned in the late 80s. For others, it’s the gothic BYU font, Larry Bird’s pinstripe Indiana State shorts, or the bright orange piping Princeton wore as they knocked off UCLA in 1996, and others.
Several mid-major programs unveiled new designs this offseason in hopes of finding that iconic look. Naturally, we fired up a Slack channel, dropped some Twitter links and dished out some opinions. The following is our free-flowing conversation about mid-major redesigns, ranging from some really good uniforms to a bunch of questionable designs that some companies (cough cough, adidas) rolled out this year.
CN: I definitely wanna talk about Long Beach State’s new logo, which looks like it’s for some sort of West Coast-based megachurch that’s really a front for bootlegged diet pill sales:
KC: Oh goodness, it’s so bad. Everything about their redesign sucks.
CN: Yeah it’s all awful. They re-did the court too, right?
KC: They did. In a move that surprised nobody, they took down the trees.
CN: That sucks so much, man. Their court with the palm trees was one of the few cluttered court designs I liked. I don’t want to live in a world where that awesome court no longer exists and this still does:
KC: Wait, is this new?
CN: I think it’s about two years old.
KC: I’m so glad I went this long without seeing that court.
CN: It’s one of the worst things.
KC: And people wonder why we don’t like the MAC. (Editor’s note: We actually do like the MAC.)
CN: Can we also take a moment to — forever and now — completely rip to shreds any notion of Nevada’s new uniforms being anything but awful?
KC: YES, PLEASE.
The fact that they’re replacing the best wardrobe in college basketball makes the switch so much worse. If they were, say, an ordinary Big Sky school, then I wouldn’t mind at all.
CN: Yeah in that case I wouldn’t blame them for trying to make a splash. But now, we’re no longer going to get to see those beautiful script uniforms (note: there has never been a bad script uniform)
And it’s all made worse by the fact that we’re going to see these uniforms so much because Nevada is going to be playing until April 8th.
KC: I’m looking at them again and am getting so mad:
Shoulder accents? Bad. Cluttered logos? Bad. The whole uniform looks very 2008, to me.
CN: Yeah it is just so basic. The guys who make custom jerseys for created teams on 2K do a better job.
There’s really nothing I dislike more than chest logos on jerseys. I’ve previously brought up how the UK jerseys with the logo on the chest from 2012 are some of my least favorites of all time.
KC: I feel like this is an opportune time to bring up a uniform that we both like:
CN: TEAL + SCRIPT
HEAVEN HAS A NAME AND IT READS “UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO”
KC: I also hope you’re ready to discuss some BOLD and INNOVATIVE rebrands because as you know, three other schools (aside from LBSU) rolled out all-new logos and redesigns:
BREAKING | Jacksonville Athletics Unveils a Bold New Brand— Jacksonville Dolphins (@JAX_Dolphins) August 28, 2018
VIDEO: https://t.co/4NaSXsVuDb#DareToBeBold #JUPhinsUp pic.twitter.com/U5rmhGg2X8
CN: One of these I dislike. One I love. I’m sure you can easily guess which is which.
KC: You are probably very amped about Green Bay’s BOLD LOGO AND WORDMARKS.
CN: I actually hate that one.
KC: What did the design you love do well, and conversely, what did the ones you hate do poorly?
CN: Well, I really love Jacksonville’s. My biggest fear when I head that they were rebranding was that they would do something drastic with the dolphin, one of the most unique nicknames in college athletics. When they finally released this, I was relieved to see that the dolphin had been both included in the main logo (in the form of a fin) and updated in a really stylish way.
KC: I completely agree. I know next to nothing about the A-Sun (sorry, it’s a west coast thing!) but I was aware of Jacksonville’s lovely dolphin jumping over the JU. However, that seemed very dated, and I’m glad they kept the dolphin while adding that subtle gold accent.
CN: I wasn’t really a fan of William & Mary’s redesign initially because I felt it was never needed. I really enjoyed the script “Tribe” logo they employed for quite some time. However, I’m glad that they attempted to stick with their tradition by doing the W&M logo. They’re the second-oldest school in the country, so it just made sense to do something which reflects that. Overall, it has really grown on me.
KC: I agree. If there’s anything people can glean from this article, it’s that script fonts should be used whenever applicable. Although the new logo keeps some of that, the angularness of the W&M can be pretty jarring at first. I don’t know if i’m quite with you yet in terms of how their rebrand has grown on me, but I will say two things: The yellow logo with the green border is a stronger look than the straight green, and the use of the ambigram could look really neat as a center court design.
Now that we’ve covered the really drastic redesigns, which other, less-drastic changes have you appreciated this offseason?
CN: Well, my favorite rebrand is probably the Mid-Major Madness Twitter and Facebook header…
KC: RETWEET. CAM DID A FANTASTIC JOB ON OUR HEADERS
CN: Have we talked about Canisius’ grey uniforms yet?
KC: See Nevada, this is why you don’t give up your Nike sponsorship.
CN: Nike will give you good things like script lettering. And I typically don’t like grey uniforms because of how anemic they tend to look, but it contrasts well with the bright gold.
KC: This in-between shade of grey is a little interesting but I will never turn down a Nike script uniform. Another cool thing about this one is that the piping has a little griffin on the bottom that gives these some distinguishing qualities.
CN: I totally missed the tiny griff!
KC: Don’t worry, I did too until just now!
CN: Okay I hate giving out praise. Let me talk about what I hate.
KC: Me too. Correct me if I’m wrong, but all hate should start with adidas basketball uniforms:
CN: adidas schools would have a better time switching to Reebok or something. What that company does to schools is just shameful.
KC: Right? That company’s insistence on using garish shoulder accents and really awkward v-necks is astounding. Like, look at these poor Rice uniforms:
My favorite part about these is how the adidas logo blends in with the rest of the uniform. It’s almost as if they’re trying to distance themselves from the monster they created.
CN: SHOULDER STRAP PATTERNS CAN NEVER BE DONE WELL
KC: Say it louder for the adidas execs in the back!
CN: I also think I’m the only person on the internet who hates the new UIC floor pattern
KC: You’re not! To me, this is what happens when a group is brainstorming and someone says “there’s no such thing as a bad idea.”
CN: There’s just way too much going on here, which is saying something when you consider some of the flashy courts I like. Either do the flames or do the diagonal flag in the middle. You can’t have both.
KC: I agree. Both design elements seem so outlandish and haphazard, yet they throw in a bunch of default fonts to top it off!
CN: Absolutely. The contrast between the wild court and the bland way they wrote the stuff on the sidelines and baselines is wild.
KC: I mean, look at this!
KC: And one can only guess how teams are going to look playing on this atrocity. Remind me to tune in to a UIC game and grab a few screenshots sometime this season.
CN: Oh no you really don’t need to do that to yourself. I think the plan was to make as few people as possible watch UIC games. That’s all I can think.
KC: One last UIC comment from me: Cam, do you know what the Flames’ uniforms look like this season?
CN: I do not. Let me guess: They are bad.
KC: adidas strikes again!
I must admit: These uniforms aren’t bad. But they will look so cluttered on UIC’s awful court.
CN: Just a complete nightmare from top to bottom, which is a shame, as I also enjoy their uniforms.
KC: If any UIC fans read this, please let us know how this combination looks in person and also let me know when you’ve scheduled your next optometrist appointment. You may be entitled to some compensation.
Roasting these questionable decisions has been fun, but I’d like to end on a high note by mentioning one more good court design. Cam, do you remember this beauty?
CN: Oh my God I forgot about this!!!! THAT BASELINE FONT RULES SO MUCH.
For once, we have a school rolling out a simple, well-designed court. While the court itself is pretty basic, that baseline font looks like it’s about to introduce an episode of “Gunsmoke.”
KC: Lord knows I am not as well-versed as you are in the westerns department, but I assume any “Gunsmoke” comparisons are praiseworthy (and that I should bookmark the show for later).
CN: It’s a classic show for a reason!
KC: Here’s to hoping this court becomes a classic too! There’s so much to love here, and I [Jon Rothstein voice] wish McNeese State the best.
CN: Absolutely. Well, I need to head to class, so here’s my parting thoughts:
Stop trying to win the day with outrageous court designs. They’re good for generating buzz when they’re released, but they quickly fall out of the public consciousness. That leaves you with a bad design that you’re stuck with for the foreseeable future. Stick with what works.
Also, dump adidas.