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Blog

NJR x Jordan

Tim McCarthy

The incredible thing about Nike is it's ability to leverage great design to transcend all sports. Which is why they're one of the few brands that can combine two sports like basketball and soccer. As part of a unique Nike/Jordan collaboration, Neymar Jr. will become the first soccer athlete to wear the Jumpman logo on his cleats. Additionally, the Jordan Brand will release a Neymar edition of the Jordan V Low with “Neymar” stitched inside the tongue.

The NJR x JORDAN Hypervenom football boot design comes from Nathan VanHook, Nike Football Sr. Design Director. He also happens to be an old friend from college so I couldn't be happier for him on this collaboration. Nate is one of the most creative I know. He is obsessive about the small details and makes sure that every element has a reason or tells a story. This design really reflects him as a designer. 

Oh and have you ever heard of Kayne West? Yeah he designed some kicks for that guy too.

Nathan VanHook's sketch

I also rally enjoy the logo they created for this collaboration. It's a nice, clean lockup but still allows the Jordan brand to be prominent. I've seen some shots of the shoebox that use the logo and paint splatter but wasn't able to find a good enough image to post. 

The Ringer

Tim McCarthy

Today marks the launch of Bill Simmons and crew's second venture, The Ringer, a website dedicated to sports, pop culture, tech and of course, Game of Thrones. Designer and illustrator, Mickey Duzyj, did an amazing job on the branding and the new animated header on the site.

I heard rumors that the site was going to be built on the Medium so I was curious to see how a brand/company would be treated on the platform. How custom would it get? Would Medium feature it on their homepage? What would advertising look like? The result seems like a fairly smart Medium hack to test the waters. And although Medium isn't giving it much love on their homepage, the site does a lot of heavy lifting on it's own with some "Lite" advertising. 

Vintage Cycling Jerseys

Tim McCarthy

Fashion designer, Paul Smith, has released a new book called Cycling Scrapbook that charts the history of his love for the sport of cycling and includes a lovely photo series documenting his collection of old jerseys. 

 

The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere

Tim McCarthy

Need some motivation? You should probably watch this.

"The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere" is an inspiring short-film about Haru Urara, a racehorse who could never win a race, but eventually became a symbol of hope in Japan. And though she never did win, Haru Urara did accomplish something greater: she saved a racetrack.

The film is a 30 For 30 Short directed by Mickey Duzyj, an artist and filmmaker, who has been featured on the blog in the past. His work includes animation for the ESPN 30 for 30 feature "You Don't Know Bo" and the Emmy-nominated ESPN animated short "The Perfect 18" about an IT manager's perfect game of Putt-Putt golf. 

I'm a big fan of Mickey's work and the way he committed to a small color palette for this video. It helps tell concise story that is cohesive and fun. Here's a few of my favorite stills from the film:

Strength in Numbers

Tim McCarthy

Every year, all 16 teams involved in the NBA Playoffs get some slogan to support their team. Most commonly, these graphic slogans are seen on t-shirts of the home crowd when they are trying to psych out the opposing team with something like a "white out." Sometimes they're classic and simple like "Go Spurs Go" and others are a bit of stretch and come off gimmicky.  

The 2015-16 Golden State Warriors are using a term that might sound cheesy at first but given the record setting numbers the team put up this season and the very supporting fans, it actually works really well. The agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners ran with these numbers in a super smart campaign. 

With some hand-written type, they created a beautiful type lockup while subtly converting the "m" to a tally mark. It's extremely clever but it's also a nice break from the ultra-sporty type that fans are accustomed to seeing.

What really defines the campaign is how this small element translates to stats that can be applied to both the team, players and fans.

There are all these numbers, from the fans to the staff to the players. Everyone is tallying up these stats, so to speak, and this is kind of a way of unifying everybody.
— Danny Gonzalez, Creative Director
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The campaign was displayed across several mediums, including print, video and even an interactive element for fans online.

In my opinion, the Golden State Warriors having one of the worst sport logos around. However, GSP was able to subtly mimic the bridge shape with the tally mark and it was a really nice touch.

When The King Held Court

Tim McCarthy

This past year, my wife and I drove cross country from Brooklyn to move out to San Francisco and along our journey, we stopped in Memphis, TN. Now I'm not one for tourist spots but while we were in town, we had to check out the world famous Graceland, Elvis Presley's home.

The whole experience was beyond touristy. We were herded around like cattle with "interactive" iPads and giant disposable headphones that made us look like we walked out of the 90's. Obviously, the voice guided tour was given to us by the one and only, John Stamos.

Have Mercy.

That being said, I learned a lot about The King that I never knew before the trip. For one, he was really into karate. The second, was that he got into racquetball and liked it so much that he built his own court on the Graceland property. Part of the tour brings you through the court which is now turned into a museum that is filled with gold records and outfits he used to wear. 

I recently saw that ESPN released a 30 for 30 short called When The King Held Court about Elvis and his love for racquetball. The piece was produced by the folks at Victory Journal and the illustrations were done by Benjamin Marra

Charged Up

Tim McCarthy

Ryan Simpson has been on fire lately with his illustrations. In February, his can won the MVP in the Design Brawl and then this past week he released an incredible set of Steph Curry illustrations for Champ Sports

From composition to color choices, Ryan's style continues to impress me. But my favorite thing about his work is his use of textures and his subtle shadows. Pretty sure he has perfect the distressed look that designers and illustrators have been trying to achieve for the past 15 years. Kudos to you, Ryan!

Mixed Media Arts

Tim McCarthy

I recently discovered the work Gian Galang, a designer and illustrator based out of New York City, and was completely blown away with his illustrative style. He is a big fan of MMA and majority of his artwork is influenced by the sport. His pieces are a mix of acrylic and digital so in my eyes, he's a "Mixed Media Artist". 

I'm a big fan of his use of black and white with minimal additions of color. Combined with rough textures and paint splatters, the work really conveys the the blood and sweat that comes with the sport. 

The Black Mamba

Tim McCarthy

Kobe's farewell tour is upon us and in light of it, Sole Collector has released an article titled The Road to Greatness: Moments that Defined Kobe's Career which features some incredible illustrations by Stephen Halker

Stephen also did an amazing job illustrating Kobe's sneakers along the way. (I still love those Adidas ones!)

And who could forget the night he dropped 81.

The type on these vintage basketball cards are great too. 

Love him or hate him. You have to respect him. Kobe has matured a lot in his career but his heart has always been about winning and knew that only hard work got you there. Despite me wanting the Celtics to win this Finals, I will always think of the image below when I think about Kobe. 

Design Brawl

Tim McCarthy

There's nothing I love more than design and sports. It's why I started this blog. So you can imagine the excitement I had when I heard the news that some of my favorite designers and illustrators from Colorado and North Carolina were organizing a Super Bowl Design Brawl.

The rules of the Design Brawl were simple: two teams of 6 designers would create a line up of craft beer cans representing their teams. Users could then vote for their designs as a team and vote for an individual MVP. Vote here!

My overall team vote went to Carolina but my MVP vote was given to Scot Allen Hill.

Brady vs Manning

Tim McCarthy

Earlier in the NFL season, when the Patriots played Denver, ESPN released a piece about the rivalry between Brady and Manning

With the AFC Championship on the line this weekend, it's more relevant than ever. Does a between Brady and Manning always get overhyped? Yes. However, this one might be the most important game in their rivalry because if the Broncos don't win, it may be Peyton's last game. I try to keep this blog unbiased but I can't hide that I'm a huge fan of Peyton and would love to see him get back to one more Super Bowl so that he can redeem himself from that ugly loss against the Seattle Seahawks. Do I feel confident about his noodle arm? Absolutely not.

I wasn't crazy about some of the pieces on the post but I was a big fan of the animated illustrations that were done by Titus Smith (illustrations) and Jason Yang (animations). 

Nike Jordan Training

Tim McCarthy

In 2015, Nike launched Jordan Training as part of the larger Jordan Brand. Jordan Training is a collection of products designed to help athletes beat the elements, making training possible anytime, anywhere.

Manual, a San Francisco based agency, was tasked with designing a custom typeface for the sub-brand, that felt elegant and refined, yet still embodied the core values of the Jordan Brand.

The end result is gorgeous. It's a great counter to the Jordan silhoutte and works really well over large scale over imagery (as intended). The slightly condensed form gives a sporty vibe but the thin light weight adds a modern aesthetic. The numerics also remind me of something you would see on a soccer jersey. In my opinion, that's a good thing. I wish other sports, like basketball, would take a cue instead of always relying on heavy collegiate faces. 

We wanted the typeface to look delicate and polished, but with a sense of movement and fluidity. We found ways within the letter forms to create a sense of twisting, movement and energy in the typography.
— Manual