Several years ago I embraced the sour grapes I had about losing the Grand Rapids Griffins’ jersey design contest and wrote about it. Since I’ve been ranting about it all day on Twitter, I figured it was time to do that again.
I’ve repeatedly said that I put more thought than the Griffins intend into my entries in their contests. This year was no different, as I was intrigued by the idea of what exactly makes a 1980s hockey jersey design. I won’t rehash that all here, I included it all in my post about my entry.
I researched, I designed, I wrote about all of that because I’m genuinely curious. Also I wanted to win, but I never expected to because there are way better designers than me out there.
So I did all of this research and I designed and I wrote and I published. Genuinely curious about that question, I found no one willing to engage in discussion. No one responded to me here. Discussion at Uni-Watch, the contest host, seemed to center around not knowing what the Griffins actually wanted, not what a fauxback should actually look like. The Griffins themselves provided no direction.
My design made it through a round of voting and was named as one of twelve finalists. I posted a review of the finalists and the biggest piece of feedback was that the best designs didn’t make it to the finals. While true, it doesn’t answer the question.
Then this morning the contest winner was announced and it’s something so far from what I consider 80s hockey jersey design that I’m completely at a loss.
The winner of this season’s jersey design contest is John Elbertson! John’s design will be worn on ‘80s Fauxback Night on Jan. 12, 2018. pic.twitter.com/SVWA8WXpUM
— GrandRapids Griffins (@griffinshockey) August 25, 2017
It’s a nicely-rendered jersey, for sure. But I can point to five reasons I don’t think it’s a proper 80s fauxback. It also hits my previously-noted nerve about logos that only describe what they’re for literally, as there is no griffin on that jersey.
And when the world’s foremost expert in sports identities says you got it wrong, it probably means something.
So we have what the Griffins were looking for from their 80s fauxback contest but it’s so far from what I would expect that I still feel the need for discussion. I want to know what the designer took his inspiration from. I want to know what about that design the Griffins were particularly struck by. But the Griffins aren’t giving details and the designer didn’t write a blog post about it like I did.
There’s this question out there I’m really curious about and I feel like the response is deafening silence. It’s driving me nuts.
2 thoughts on “Griffins Jersey Contest: Sour Grapes Again”
What’s up Clark? John E. here, just wanted to explain my jersey a little.
The problem I ran into immediately is that an ’80s hockey jersey can look like something worn in the ’60s, modern times, or even the 2100s, who knows? I figured the Griffins were looking for something unique, since it was a themed contest to begin with. So I looked to other sports for ’80s design elements. The Griffins jersey ended up being a White Sox/Phillies mashup of sorts, with a shoulder patch treatment that set me up to put the Red Wings logo on the left shoulder, so it faces toward the player’ front (the Wings logo on the right always bugged me).
I know that probably doesn’t change how you feel, and I’ll admit there were several entries that fit the criteria of an ’80s hockey jersey better than mine. I simply tried to formulate an idea and execute it as best as I could.
Hope all’s well, keep grinding and keep up the good work!
Thanks for posting the thinking behind your design. I agree with the difficulty figuring out what an 80s hockey jersey is, though I disagree that taking inspiration from another sport is the way to find it. Obviously the Griffins liked it enough so maybe I’m just oblivious to something.
Congrats on the win.