My Winnipeg Jets logo

As most of us Canadians (or hockey fans at large) know by now, our beloved Winnipeg Jets will be coming back to the NHL real soon. Being a hockey fan back in the ’80s and ’90s those Jets were part of our team, and by “our team” I mean being on this side of the border. We’re a patriotic bunch up here and tend to cheer for our Canadian teams. So it was a sad day to hear that Winnipeg’s team was being packed up and shipped down to Phoenix. Sad day indeed.

Well here we are. The Jets are back and us Canadians are pretty happy about it. I was cheering for you ‘Peggers the whole time, hoping luck would swing your way and your team would come back.

Now for what it’s worth, I loved their old logo for too many reasons to list. BOTH of them actually. Simple, obvious and whatever else. Nice colors, somehow very Winnipeg and it fit in nicely with the other Canadian teams at the time.

With the team returning to Winnipeg it was inevitable that they go through the process of a re-brand. I would have been ecstatic to see that old logo return as their official, but this is 2011. Fat chance with all the re-brands that sports teams go through these days in the first place. Last Friday, Buffalo correspondent Paul Pants gave the word that they’d be releasing the new identity “in an hour” so I was pretty excited to see what they came up with. I was also a bit frightened …

I’ll go on record here. Just personal taste so don’t chew my head off. I have a pretty strong dislike for modern sports logos. It started back in the 90s when teams started going through all kinds of changes in identity and the logos moved away from the simple and iconic to these over-beveled, character-based, swooshing, snarling hunks of shit. They became interchangeable pretty quickly, and it wasn’t only with one sport. Baseball, basketball, football, hockey … they all started to look the same. No respect for individual identities or team legacy. I completely understand that design and printing technologies are far better than they were before, allowing us to do much more with jerseys and stuff, but just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Logos transformed into illustrations.

I urge you to look through the logo histories on this site. So much good stuff lost to the years.

This is why I was frightened while waiting for the new Jets logo unveiling. “What if it’s some jet zooming forward, shooting fire, with a big angry mouth on the front?” Seriously, could have happened. I was pretty nervous. So when I’m in a situation like that I always ask myself “What would I do if given the opportunity?”. I fired up Illustrator and threw together a Jets logo that I’d like to see on a jersey. That’s it at the top, and here it is mocked onto a player.

I’m still tampering with the logo even as I write this post. I did it for fun. I did a Jets logo the way I’d like to see it done in an attempt to play off the previous identity, something you Winnipeg inhabitants might recognize and enjoy. Not much more to the story, really.

Just a little note in conclusion for what they did release as the new Jets identity. My first reaction was genuine relief. They didn’t go the direction of “crappy, hip, typical sports logo” and for that I send every thumbs-up I can to the team involved in creating it. Huge relief. It was obviously created with respect to the team and Canadian air force history.

It’s catching some beef online and I’m not sure it deserves it. Yes it looks a bit military, and I’m curious to see the logo from afar (like on a player’s jersey during a game) to see if the design holds up, but it DOESN’T look like a damn beveled raptor, or a silver shark or whatever that “thrasher” was supposed to be. It’s simplified, plays off the Royal Canadian Air Force roundel, and has the leaf worked in. Not so bad.

As for my little logo, might get some stickers of this guy printed up. This one’s for you, Winnipeg.

15 Comments

  1. Whoah! I really like it!
    Is there a chance youll reaveal the vector file please?

  2. As far as I understand it the military feel of the logo was meant to pay respect to the Air Force base in Winnipeg. I think its a cool tribute! Im not quite a fan of the Jets typeface but that winged logo totally makes up for it.

  3. This is a really great design James. In particular, I like that you stayed away from an angular look and went with the rounded effect. So many sports logos recently designed have so many sharp angles, it’s nice to see something different.

    I like seeing what other designers have been coming up with as well. I thought that this design posted on Dribbble was pretty clever as well:

    http://dribbble.com/shots/221463-Winnipeg-Jets-1

  4. james (Author)

    Kay, no I have no plans to release the vector file. Sorry about that!

    Patrick, you’re absolutely right. They spoke about consulting with the Canadian Air Force during the design, which is pretty cool. I only mention that because it looks ‘very’ military, y’know? Very serious. But you’re right, that winded version is cool and would look great on the shoulders.

  5. Paul Pants

    Great write-up James, love your design. As far as the official one goes, I’m not a raving fan, but it’s growing on me. Like you, I was relieved to see that it wasn’t your typical 90s-00s swooshy and trendy sports logo. The negative feedback online is typical knee-jerk reaction from the designers and non-designers alike. Those who don’t like it because of the military association are just being silly.

    I am curious to see, from a distance, how the jet and leaf look against each other. They may just morph into a blob, maybe some separation of the two could help in that regard.

  6. Totally! I’m also glad it’s not a jet shooting flames like you said. Your logo is a nice take on the theme as well!

  7. james (Author)

    Paul, I agree on all points, knee-jerk is a good way to put it. And the separation you mentioned is what I’m thinking too. If you squint it kind of resembles the full maple leaf in silhouette, but need to see it in action.

  8. J Marsh

    I think I prefer your logo, actually, especially on a technical level.

    I like the official one BECAUSE of the military feel, but I think they went too far into “Canada” and not far enough into “Jets” or “hockey”. Look at the real identity again and pretend it says “Canada Jets” instead of “Winnipeg Jets”… it feels like it fits better, no?

    I also want to see it “from afar”… the jet on the maple leaf in the circular version may or may not work, but I have to say, something about that ‘notch’ at the top of the circle really grabs me. I dig it.

    Anywho… good post and good alternative version!

  9. Brent

    Yours is way too soft. It’s a hockey team, not reading rainbow.

    Also, it’s a jet, not a rocket ship.
    Stars? What were you thinking?

  10. james (Author)

    Brent, thanks for the feedback. Email me your mailing address and I’ll ship you over some stickers.

  11. I think that a lot of people are coming around to the new logo now that they’ve slept on it. It’s grown on me in the past couple days.

    James, I’d love to buy some stickers once you’ve got ‘em made up. If I slap one on my car, it’ll stand out a bit and help me find where I’ve parked after the games. ;)

    Keep up the good work.

  12. Nate

    I have to say I preferred the Thrashers logo better, However, as a former season ticket holder from Atlanta, I may be a bit biased.

    Nice logo James! Nice write up too. Good luck Jets.

  13. Nice post! Please have a look here: http://winnipegjets.info

    Thx! GoJetsGo

  14. Cameron

    Checked out your link to previous Hockey Logos and i cannot believe that the Anaheim Ducks have changed their logo, one word, LAME!!

    On another note, i really like the ‘military style’ that the Jets have gone for, i think it looks badass!

  15. Nod

    Dude, Identity design is really not your strong side

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