/ 8 April 2011

Rev Reboot, Part II: Uniforms

imageAlright.  We have an intro and some visual identity established for the Rev Reboot project – now it’s time to get to something meaty: uniforms.

But first, some follow-up from yesterday’s identity post.  Got some great feedback – “great” meaning spirited, which is what I was hoping for.  And as expected, it came in positive and negative flavors.  I enjoyed all of it.  My favorite type of responses take the form of “it’s alright, maybe not my thing – but here’s what I’d change!” – because that’s essentially what this whole project is saying to the Revolution.  You know, the Godard theory – critique a movie by making another movie.  In this case, it’s critique an organization’s identity by re-making an organization’s identity. It’s so much more fun and interesting to make something than to write a long diatribe about what’s wrong with it – that’s my view, anyway. 

Author’s note: the entire Rev Reboot series is now up and online.  When you’re done here, feel free to read on.
Intro: Why I should get to Reboot the Revs
Part I: Identity
Part II: Uniforms
Part III: Positioning
Final Word: Summing it all up
Enjoy? Get the Rev Reboot T-Shirt!
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Thanks for reading!

So a word of thanks – for those who gave some interesting critique around the logo crest ideas.  Yes, I’m still thinking about it.  Should it be simpler?  I don’t know – maybe in a few weeks I’ll take a shot at a simplified version of a logo/crest that unifies the two ideas into one mark.  That may come in time.  For now, I like the dichotomy of keeping both around.  I’m not going to defend the design choices too stridently – in the end, you can’t argue personal preference – but the crest is supposed to be a bit heavy with symbolism, and the logo light.  I may tweak some colors and contrasts over the next few days because frankly, it’s hard to get things perfect right out of the gate. 

And a word of caution – if you really didn’t like yesterday’s direction, you might want to hang back for today and tomorrow.  If it just drives you nuts to see this stuff, don’t torture yourself.  The way I’m interpreting the Revs’ tradition and laying out a vision for their future may be different than you, and that’s ok.  We can both be right.  If you have ideas, draw something up!  I guarantee I’ll give you feedback. 

The Uniforms

To sum up previous points:  I see the Evergreen as a potent unifying symbol for New England – one they haven’t had up until now.  I see a Fenway-esque green as a new and vibrant way to bring that symbol to life – considering it carries strong connotations of New England sports passion, isn’t used in New England or in MLS as a “signature” team color, and fits perfectly with the idea of being evergreen.  I’ll also restate the idea that kits sometimes take design and color departures from a team’s core colors.  This is especially true with confident organizations – ones with identities so strong that color doesn’t brand them – they brand colors.  I love that about soccer culture and would like to see more of it in the States. 

I have three uniform mockups.  I’m not going to say home, away and third; I’ll simply give each of them names. 

Evergreen

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This is a bold kit with the evergreen color playing the primary role.  It’s simple and iconic.  I tried to create these uniform looks to suit the identity I’m working up, and then asked myself if I would wear and be seen in this jersey.  I would.  I consider this the “primary” team look, with some leeway depending on color clashes, etc.  This – the Evergreen shirt – would instantly be seen as a Revolution shirt anywhere in the world, and that’s priceless.  It’s also something you can hardly say about any MLS team’s kit right now. 

I created a Sam Adams-sponsored kit because, frankly, I think it’s cool.  I’m not suggesting more than that.  We’re not talking about MLS marketing agreements or family appropriateness or your favorite beer.  Just cool factor.  Sam Adams is local, it’s beloved, it fits with the revolutionary theme and it’s a product – especially the Noble Pils – I vouch for. 

White

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This is the change strip, plays into a tradition many Revs and MLS fans have at times complained about – the all-white kit.  I agree; the Revs all-whites have usually been bland and, especially early on in MLS, knowing one team would always be rocking home whites took some of the flavor out of the game. 

This is different.  This isn’t white as tradition (per se), but white as a dominant color.  Something only a few teams can pull off.   Bold white.  The socks and piping are silver-grey for a slight contrast, but that’s it.  The shield is set off and showcased.  Even the sponsor is both quieter and bolder.  The manufacturer’s logo is confidently retro.  This is intimidation by white.   Again, I would wear this shirt.  Until I inevitably got mustard all over it. 

Minuteman

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This is the third kit.  It’s a departure, just like all good third kits.   The inspiration here is the mighty Minuteman – both the ones who are long gone, and the lucky few that traveled imagethrough time to sit in the Gillette Stadium endzone and fire muskets after Revolution goals and Patriot TDs.  The primary color is dark blue, like the current Revs kit; the sash and complimentary colors are a rich brown.  This combo is a bit of a call back to the rag-tag, scrappy nature of the real Revolutionary War fighters.  They didn’t have pristine uniforms (maybe if they had fought on FieldTurf it would have been different).  The sash also recalls the straps that cross the Minuteman dress.  This is the “going to battle”, “grind it out” shirt.  A little working class, and a little dirty. I could see breaking this one out for a must win game late in the season, or a special cup tie. 

What’s Not There

There’s not too much red to be seen.  It’s a team color, to be sure, but uniform-wise everybody else – New York, Chicago and Toronto, to name a few intimate foes – is wearing it.  However… I’m not going to go kit crazy here, but if I was to do a fourth, it would have a few red accents.  

There’s not a whole lot of deference to the Revs’ kit traditions.  I find the current kits very generic and not very memorable, so there wasn’t much I wanted to carry forward.  Given that, there ends up being a white top and a navy top in the mix, just like at present.  I didn’t do kit backs, but I definitely would try to find a way around using the current robo-font for numbers and letters

The treatments, and to some extent, the colors, are new, but in all there aren’t too many radical design choices here.  A sash on the third jersey is as wild as it gets; I’m not advocating diagonal hoops or quartered panels or anything.  Just solid, unique combinations that mark a team as confident and make fans want to buy jerseys. 

Finally, there is no team name emblazoned across the front.  I hope most folks can get past that. 

That’s all for now… as always, let me know what you think.  The final piece in the series – Positioning – is up next.  Go ahead, read it now!

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