God bless the Rams, who went ahead with their plans to unveil new uniforms to an anxious and cynical public on Monday. We’re a fragile lot waiting out the results of a terrifying pandemic, having spent days cooped up without something to make fun of together on the internet. In theory, a corporation testing out its new branding efforts at this time and place was akin to hurling a bucket of dead flies into the frog tank.
It might make someone in our position say that the new “LA” logo looks more like the truckside design of a food distribution and restaurant smallwares company. Or, like the signage on a flashy Florida-based urology clinic. Or, that the curved Ram horns appear to be half moons stolen off the “Coexist” bumper sticker on your aunt’s Ford Fiesta.
The truth, though, is that the new logos are fine—and maybe even a little bit cool. There are four of them in total. The typeface is sleek. The new Ram has some historical significance and seems to look good on a blue ball cap. But they do expose one of the biggest problems with uniform reveals of late, which is worth thinking about as we head into a gauntlet of new jersey tweaks and redesigns over the coming months (looking at you, Tampa Bay).
We tend to overcomplicate these things. On the Rams’ new design site, they talk about the curvatures of the horns and how they’re calibrated with the Fibonacci Sequence. There seems to be more architecture and aesthetic consideration involved here than the entirety of the MetLife Stadium design process. The Jets’ unveiling last year was like this, too. The white on the road uniforms had to resemble the LED headlights on a taxicab (or something like that), while the green was inspired by the grass alongside the Long Island Expressway. Then, everyone heads over to Reddit to look at fan specs, wishing that the team had instead purchased the design work of XxRevisIslandPiratexX, who made the helmet into some fire-breathing airplane.
The Buccaneers could have given us creamsicle uniforms a few years back when they did their redesign, but instead we got an Ambien nightmare disaster that was almost universally panned. Sometimes the most obvious solution is the correct one.
Uniform changes don’t need to be bold statements. They don’t need to fall in with the rest of corporate minutiae and flounder in an effort to pacify every single human being on the planet through rigorous focus group testing. They do not need to resemble the wafting leaves of a Culver City palm tree and fall in with the bespoke California lifestyle. For the most part, flipping every few years between the uniforms we remembered as children, and the uniforms which came after that and the uniforms which came after that would probably be enough. At the worst, or reaction leans toward nostalgia and away from what the hell is that? Isn’t that a version of what we had done for years on Madden, toggling between the 1950s helmet and 1970s pants and 1990s uniforms until something visually enjoyable materializes?
If a team is not one of the NFL’s legacy franchises with cemented, unchangeable logos, they will always fall into this stylistic purgatory. The trick is to realize you don’t have to.
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