Last night, the Suns unveiled their new uniforms, and reactions were…tepid. Some might even say awful. People simply did like these jerseys. Whether it’s the fact that the new look didn’t meet their expectations, or they just hate the design, the comments and impressions definitely did not support the new change in Phoenix.
Here’s what I don’t understand – your team has not made the playoffs in three years. They don’t currently have a “face of the franchise.” They are moving in an exciting direction, but all indications are that it’s going to be another rough year. So why, then, wouldn’t the design guys defer to the fans, and determine exactly what they’re looking for and what will make them excited, considering it’s the first jersey change we’ve had in 12 years?
You can’t base design totally off of fans, because fans are idiots. All of them. Myself included. But you can get “ideas” from them that can shape your campaign. For example, it was pretty common knowledge going into this that the fans were hoping for a callback to tradition, and something evoking the symbolism and design of old. In the days leading up to the release, it even appeared that the sunburst would appear on the jerseys again!
Well…they did appear, sort of. Just not in the way fans were expecting. As you can see in the images, the white lines and “negative space” of the jerseys do sort of “create” the sunburst that our team is known for, in which the number exists. Why go three-fourths of the way there, but balk at the end? The image really only means something to fans, who are well acquainted with the history of our symbol and know what the negative space is evoking…but then again, it’s those same fans that wanted the full on throwback. So in the end, who is this actually satisfying?
There’s some neat stuff going on behind the design. A coworker pointed out the “gradiant orange” in the letters that evokes a sunset (sunrise?), and there are exactly nine stripes in the design, representative of the nine Ring of Honor Suns. It would be great to see the number of lines increase as Shawn Marion and Steve Nash are inducted as well. But as a rule of design (that I just made up), you can have all the messaging, depth, and symbolism in the world, but if the design is just ugly, then there’s nothing you can do.
This article is titled “Why I Don’t Hate the Suns’ New Jerseys,” and yet all I’ve done is criticized to this point. I just wanted to shed light on the fact that I can sympathize with the hater’s dissatisfaction with the jerseys before claiming that I, personally, don’t think they’re all that bad. I think the design and font is very modern looking, crisp, and clean. I also love the heavily purple jerseys, and think the home whites are pretty neat looking as well. Let’s not talk abou the sleeved orange ones at this moment in time….
Plus, it’s a new design for a new era, and I think that’s important. While the success of this decade is worrisome, it’s important that in the post-Nash era, we’re returning to some of our roots that made HIS era so defined and fun. Fast-paced ball, with an emphasis on outgunning and running our opponents. Lightning quick players who compete with tenacity and a strong work ethic. Hopefully, that will contribute to a team that can steal more wins than they should, and create a culture that will serve as a foundation in the future as we seek the players that will make us a contender again.
So yes, the jerseys could be better. But for what they are, I’m pretty excited. They’re reflective of a new era for both the fans and the organization, and I’m excited to see what that future holds.