This client took me on a roller coaster with so many steps and missteps that it’s surprising to me that I’m still so invigorated by the graphics. I’ve been staring at hockey logos for the past two months, and have finally made concessions and taken some risks, all with the confidence that in the end, the visual mark must be relevant.
The Nor’easters demand a lot out of a logo: it must evoke the speed and power of a semi-pro hockey team, it must inspire pride and enthusiasm from a following of east coast lovers of the game, it must apply to jerseys, hats, masks, shorts, marquees, HD TVs and even be painted under ice. The major risk I’ve taken with The Nor’easters is that the foundation color on which the knocked-out spiraling graphics overlap is a gradated swatch from two opposite colors on the color wheel. One, gradient colors are very difficult to reproduce in common sporting goods such as patches, prints on fabric and the like, and two, the choice of colors can produce a “muddiness” as the red-orange and cool teal merge together. My justifications for doing this are that while the typographic N and E, as well as the spiraling snowflake arrows are white, they produce more an icy and crystalline effect. The gradient even enhances this by giving the background an almost metallic sheen. Further, the choice of two colors in the positive becomes a challenge as the logo’s concept centers around the meteorology of such a storm. The arrows are an indication of arctic winds flowing from the northeast and the warm damp air rising from the south, causing just the very storm that the east coast bears almost yearly, but also stubbornly survives. Assigning colors in the positive to the arrows requires insinuating the quality of those winds. So the positive version of the logo can be successful as a concept, as well as the knocked out (white on gradient) version.
The logo has been crafted with a hexagonal foundation to give it a basis for the crystallization of water, and in this case, better known as snow. With its six sides came the exploration of developing tines, or prongs that snowflakes characteristically form, but taking those tines a step further, a swirling notion indicated through the arrows was a successful overlap once the most appropriate form was found. Our “spiraling snowflake” was then given typography that resembles and follows the hexagonal structure and tine-like motif of the arrows, and the whole graphic is given an opposing color scheme to evoke the conflicting warm and cold winds mentioned above.
As complicated as it may seem, a solution for such needs is often required of a designer to pack as much information into a logo as possible, without drowning it in complexity or unnecessary graphic quirks. I feel like The Nor’easters gave me a beating while I searched for that solution, as if I was unarmored on the ice right there with them. In the end however, I feel I’ve come through with a brand that is not only robust and rugged, but the design makes sense, and even better, it feels like a team you could get behind.
The Nor’easters have their logo and a few examples for the team in context, all viewable on their dedicated page here. Though I wish I could extend the brand to t-shirts, stadiums, novelty jerseys, websites, tv spots, and foam fingers, more brands out there await their monthly due, but as always I will return to each brand hoping to stretch them in context whenever I can, so please always check back.