I wish the type was a little stronger on the page, but the celebrity row for the Knicks and Lakers made up for that.
It's been a while since I posted the work of Jacob Weinsten, a talented cartoonist, illustrator and designer who has done a ton of sports pieces for Adidas, Nike, GQ and The New York Times. Jacob was one of the first people I posted about on HEYSPORT and after recently checking out his personal site, I noticed he added a lot more work to his portfolio. Below are some of my favorites.
In addition to commissioned gigs, Jacob is the illustrator and a co-author of FreeDarko’s two books, The Macrophenomal Pro Basketball Almanac and The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History. You can also purchase a lot of his pieces here.
Diego Guevara is a designer who grew up playing futbol in South Africa and then moved to Miami when he was sixteen. After David Beckham announced in February that he planned to bring a MLS team to Miami, Diego decided to some of his down time to create the branding for his soon to be hometown club.
Now, I come across a fair amount amount of team branding projects when I look for stuff to post about on this blog. And I have to be honest, a lot of it is pretty bad. The worst ones are usually when franchises hold contests to crowd source their next design. Did you see what the Dallas Mavericks chose? This on the other hand, is by far the best proposed design I have seen and I really hope someone important sees it so that they will take it into consideration.
You can read more about the process behind his design here.
ESPN has finally got around to updating their website and to promote the redesign, they launched a landing page to explain what's new about it. Each section of the page has some nice animated illustrations to explain the new features. The most apparent one is that users will be able to personalize their homepage more so that they can read scores and news of the teams they care about most.
Overall, the UI follows the flat design trend by stripping out a lot of the excessive textures and gradients that gave the old site a very metallic look. The color palette is also a lot lighter by killing a lot of the black and instead using multiple shades of light grey. Those saturated collage backgrounds appear to be out of the picture as well.
Personally, I never understood all the industrial machine theme that ESPN has been using since I could remember. All those animations made me feel like I was watching a Ford pick up truck commercial, not a sport broadcast channel. It might have came off masculine to appeal to their demographic viewers, but it never felt very "sporty" to me. Recently, I've also noticed that SportCenter has stripped down their news feed and ticker to be a much flatter design too. This is definitely a step in the right direction. However...
I'm excited to use the new ESPN.com but what I really care about is to see if they have updated their Fantasy Football UI. The current one is one of the hardest products I use on the internet and I'm pretty tech savvy. There's too many navigation options (multiple tabs and drop downs), type styles are all over the place and there's too many third party widgets. A simple task like adding/dropping a player shouldn't involve so many steps. The user experience could be so much better so I hope there's some big updates there.
The most popular sports drink, Gatorade, says goodbye to Jeter with this black and white spot set to Frank Sinatra's "My Way". The Nike Jordan Brand spot was pretty bad ass, but this one is a real tear jerker and makes us realize that it really is coming to an end. Hats of to TBWA\Chiat\Day in Los Angeles for this beauty.
The little logo at the end with the pinstripes was a nice touch too.
Jeter has always been one of the classiest athletes and playing in New York has also made him a huge icon to the city. This was another tasteful way to pay respect to someone who has brought so much to the team, city and baseball for the past two decades. I grew up during the Jordan era, but I think I was too young too appreciate his demi-god status. In my opinion, Jeter is the only other athlete to ever reach that status. It will be tough to see him walk away. And that's coming from a Red Sox fan.
The World Wrestling Federation (WWF) comes on the scene with glossy metallic logo
I'm pretty sure it was the first and only time the default Photoshop Chrome Gradient was ever used.
Later on, the WWF has some legal trouble with the other WWF and decides to change their name to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). I can still remember them making this announcement and the tagline they used during the reveal...
As a young teenager I loved wrestling and subconsciously enjoyed branding and advertising too. I thought this line was genius. Not only was the tone appropriate for it's crowd but was a fun thing to say even if you hated the fact they were losing the "F" part.
I wasn't crazy about the logo, but at it's time, this is one of the few brands that could get away with a scratchy, hand-drawn logo. It actually made complete sense for them.
Fast forward to today...
The WWE returns back to it's classic roots of a metallic logo. Unfortunately, this metallic design feels dated of something that would have come out 10 years ago. In my opinion, it looks like the 2001 Apple logo and The Warlord's scepter had a baby.
This past July, there were 19 players competing for 12 spots on it's World Cup team. Some of the big names back out, one suffered a serious injury and then others were just cut. ESPN put together a nice little web page to show which players were in and out. The best part is that they commisioned Made by Radio to do some fun animated illustrations of the players.
Jung Heo is a designer from Ohio who grew up watching, imitating and admiring the NBA in the 90's. Lately, he's been working on some NBA pieces which he says were inspired by the content he saw on HEYSPORT.
I'm just a fan of art and sports and this site is just a by product of those passions. This blog has become a fun way to share great work with others fans but it's awesome to hear that it's inspiring others to produce amazing work.
One of my favorite movies to this day is The Sandlot. A classic film about a new kid, Scotty Smalls, who moves to a new town and just wants to learn baseball and make friends that summer. The towns best baseball player, Benny "The Jet" Rodriquez, ends up takes him under his wing to teach him everything about the game. Even gives him a hat! It's all good until Small gets them into the biggest pickle of the summer...
A while back, I was thrilled to hear that Porchlight Coffee & Records in Seattle hosted a collection of artwork inspired by the movie. Two of my favorite pieces came from the owner Zach Bolotin. One is a drawing of the coveted baseball signed by Babe Ruth and the other is an illustration of all the hats that the kids wear in the movie. The hat one is available for sale here.
Why do high profile athletes have such horrible websites?
Tiger Woods' personal website looks dated, Wayne Gretzy's is just capturing email addresses and Michael Jordan's is under construction. (It even has one of those icons of a guy doing construction!) These guys are sport legends and worth BIG BUCKS, but they can't get a decent website? I think it's crazy. I know it's not something people would directly check every day but it's the first thing that comes up when you Google their name. I'm sure there's enough traffic to justify investing a decent amount into a quality site.
When LeBron made his second decision, I went directly to his website only to be unimpressed by the art direction. This is the biggest name in sports right now and his site looks like a school project. The gradient clip art buildings are hideous, the type is weak and the cut-out images him are sloppy.
This morning I was happy to see that a designer by the name of Vivek Venkatraman took a stab at redesigning LBJ's website himself. It's not perfect, but it's a billion times better. If you're going to nickname yourself a King, then you better have a nice castle to back it up.