Tuesday: First Time Lacing Up

Welcome back to the same, great HJC, now a new Tuesday writer! Hi guys, my name is Ben Shaffer. I've been reading the blog for the past few seasons, sending in mostly concepts for cawlidge hawkey (that's college hockey in a thick New England accent, for those unfamiliar with the term), and now I'll be contributing from the other side with writing.

First, a little bit about me. I'm a draftsman living in Berea, Ohio (fun fact for our readers north of Lake Erie: the sandstone used to build the Canadian Parliament Building was quarried within walking distance of my house). I grew up in Big Rapids, Michigan, so naturally the Red Wings are my NHL team. I'm a recent graduate of Bowling Green State University, who have a varsity hockey team in the NCAA. The Falcons have an excellent tradition on and off the ice, with former students like:

Rob Blake, Hall of Fame defenseman
Ken Morrow, top defenseman on the 1980 Miracle on Ice team
George McPhee, GM of the Vegas Golden Knights
Mike "Doc" Emrick, NHL's top play-by-play broadcaster

I graduated with a degree in architecture, so my design background is a bit different than many of our other writers. You can check out my portfolio here. In it, I also include my best concepts I've submitted to the blog. Even though it's not architecture, I include them with my best work because there's certain rules of art that are applicable to every design, whether it's a cathedral or a hockey sweater. I offer a unique perspective from my design background that I hope brings out the best in all of us to make better concepts.

That's enough about me, let's get started!

First, let's take care of voting and check on our AIHL competition entry deadline:

COTW-September vote (ends Friday @ noon ET)
COTW Sep 29 - Oct 5 vote (ends Friday @ noon ET)
AIHL entries (due Friday @ noon ET)

There haven't been any new submissions to our AIHL contest as of Monday night, so let's get started!


Brooks F.- Charlotte Checkers

Brooks starts us off in the AHL, with an excellent example of how to connect to your parent club without ripping them off. He takes the idea of a subtle team pattern, but changes from the warning flags to a checker board to fit the team's own unique identity. The Canes logo works well as a shoulder patch, which was the right way to make the overt reference to them. One of my major points when I design concepts is to bring in lettering. The Checker's wordmark works quite well on the helmet. What's holding this design from its full potential is how the color is applied; the jerseys suffer from what I call the "No Show Zone." This is the is the area between the arms and torso when worn. You only ever see this space when a player is moving, but when there arms are down, anything you put there may as well be invisible. What makes it disastrous here is how little black is visible on the jersey when worn, making the red too overpowering. The red jersey is especially desperate to tie the pants and helmet together with the jersey.

Grade: B

 Chris W.- HC '05 Banska Bystrica

Holy advertisements, Batman! Chris takes us to Slovakia with this set for the Barani (Rams, in English). Those stripes tie in strongly with the Ram logo; the jagged stripes dart around the hem and sleeves boldly. Chris even had admirable attention to detail by going outside of the ordinary to make sure the pants' design fit in, which he did so tremendously. However, the red sweater's stripes could have been inverted to make the thick stripe white, which really would have brought it out as boldly as it wants to be. One element which is eager to jump off the design are those grey stripes. There's simply not enough contrast against the white. It appears more like a mistake than a designed element. Darkening the grey isn't an option, as a different shade would clash with the logo's. It's especially meaningless on the backs of the sweater, where the ad cuts off the pointed ends. Holistically, Chris avoids overdesigning, and with his simple striping pattern as the focus, illustrates a strong theme throughout set.

Grade: B+ with extra credit: my COTW nomination

 Matt G.- Detroit Red Wings

My first post concludes in the Motor City with Matt G.'s take on my favorite NHL team, the Red Wings. Matt calls for keeping the classic look on 3/4 of the sets, but Matt, if you're going to make a concept that close to the original, you really need to go all the way with it. First on the primary home/road sets, the logo is a tad oversized, and the collar on the white sweater really needs to be complete red ring; there's no reason to call attention there by breaking the collar like that. On the historic, the wheel should be what's centered, not the logo as a whole. I also don't like the idea of a full-time memorial patch. It may look fine as is, but you never know if more will be used. The Wings' jerseys last season were quite cluttered with 3 patches (Howe memorial, Ilitch memorial, NHL anniversary). Matt introduces his creativity into the alternate, but the components are clashing. The massive blocks of white come across as too flamboyant. The intricately detailed winged wheel looks fragile next in comparison. The emphasis on the white is also drawing my eye towards the gloves, which makes the look boring.

Grade: C-

That's all I have for this week. Let me know in the comments what you thought of my grading scale. Am I too harsh? Is my criticism constructive? Am I the new best writer on the team? Are you already sick of reading my writing? Let me hear ya! Have a great week, and keep your stick on the ice.

Tuesday: First Time Lacing Up Reviewed by Ben Shaffer on October 10, 2017 Rating: 5


Unknown said...

Please forgive my ignorance, Grand Ripids and Big Rapids are spectate places? lol

FC Macbeth said...

Grading scale is good scale.

Geoff said...

As a Wings fan how would you feel if they created an alternate that updated the logo? What I envision is using an actual wheel design such as a Torq Thrust, Halibrand, or other traditional hot rod design then just slightly changing up the wing design

Ben Shaffer said...

@geoff a second winged wheel would be overkill for the brand, especially if the second is minor tweaks to the original. One is perfect.

Unknown said...

COTW to Chris W

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