Back in September of 2011, Brooklyn born rapper and part owner of the New Jersey Nets, Jay-Z, announced that the soon to be relocated team would be re-branded “The Brooklyn Nets”. In April of this year Jay-Z unveiled the team’s new colour-scheme, typeface, and logo apparently designed by the star himself with the aid of designer Timothy Morris.
“I wanted to make it really classic and strong; a throwback to Brooklyn and what we’re about. It’s real gritty and we’re not about flash — well, sometimes. Just the roots of Brooklyn as this very bold, strong, simple logo.”
“It was really a take off the old subway signs, if you look at the old subway signs they were in black and white. It was that strong, beautiful, iconic black and white. I wanted to pick something that would stand the test of time and be here forever.” Said Jay-Z.
A completely reasonable goal, with some very sound logic; however, the end result is an air-ball that would make Metta World Peace (Ron Artest) look like Buddha.
The mark could have only been implemented by someone with little to no design experience or training (Jay-Z). Haphazardly placed iconography within the piece only emphasizes that point, and the logo utilizes a distorted typeface that would make most designers’ heads explode. It’s not all bad though, the black and white colour scheme is a unique choice for a modern sports team, as is the simplicity of the mark… unfortunately the overall piece just falls completely flat.
A designer’s primary job with any piece should be to grab a viewer’s attention while accurately portraying the essence of a brand. This iconography may very well do the former, not so much the latter. While Jay-Z’s thinking behind the piece was sound, he failed to fully visualize his concept, leading to a half baked (unfinished) icon. With the aid, experience and technical ability of a designer such as Timothy Morris, he should have been able to come up with something that had a bit more production value. It is the responsibility of a designer to guide a client and essentially be their creative eyes, ears and hands. No matter how adamant the client is about their own idea, it is still a designer’s responsibility to make the best piece they possibly can.
Remember, as a client hiring a creative, don’t shy away from an assertive, articulate designer. Open-mindedness is a key value, but someone who knows the right answer based on asking you the right questions is someone that should be considered an asset to your brand-identity.
What do you think about the new Nets logo? Has Jigga captured the essence of Brooklyn or thrown them back to a time that should be forgotten? We’d like to hear what you have to say in the comments below.